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The Ancient Future by Traci Harding

Review by SS

First book of a trilogy, followed by another trilogy (think Stephen Donaldson's TC series). Traci Harding is an Aussie writer, and I don't think her books are available in the US or the UK.

The World
Modern day England and Dark Ages England. However, it is a very sqeaky-clean Dark Ages England...nothing like the world of ASoIaF or even WoT. It's all very nice and neat.

The Plot
Tory Alexander, a woman from Australia, travels to England where she ends up in the past. She is revered for her tae kwon do skills, and soon everyone loves her, including the Prince and his cousin. Tory decides she is very happy in Dark Ages England, except for a few minor details like the evil witch Mahaud. With the help of Talisien, Tory is going to change the future for the better.

The Characters
Tory Alexander, 27 year old 2nd Dan black belt in tae kwon do. Maegwyn, the Prince. Brockwell, his cousin. Katren, Tory's maid. Talisien. Mahaud. This group of people reincarnate in various ages, but are always together. Therefore, there is a parallel character in every age Tory visits (and it's openly acknowledged).

Ok, what is it with Aussie authors and really flat writing?? *l* The similarities between the writing of Harding and of Ian Irving are amazing. In a bad way *l* The Ancient Future feels very amateur-ish. There are details (or lack of them) which just grate on your nerves. The dialogue is full of awkward (and uneccesary) thee's and thou's. The plotline is vague and the details are unrealistic. The events are improbable. The characters are unbelieveable. Tory Alexander is a classic Mary-Sue. I spent the first hundred pages or so cringing and exclaiming "OMG!! This is so bad!! I can't believe this is so bad!!" *lol* But then, it does start to grow on you. It's saving point is that it moves very quickly, and the plot really advances page by page. Unlike WoT, where you get loads of minute detail, The Ancient Future is nearly all action. And then you get caught up in the storyline, simplistic as it is, and you forget (most of the time) the irritating prose.

I give it 2.5 amulets, because I was hooked after awhile, but the writing really is simplistic and irritating at points.

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