Phantasmion, by Sara Coleridge Rothdas book review RSS
3.0 Stars

As Phantasmion awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. "Yesssss"

Quite possibly the first fantasy novel, very definitely another silly book. The book has one beautiful protagonist (Phantasmion), one beautiful princess (Iarine), ~30 different nobles from various feuding families and lineages, 7 fickle nature spirits and witches, and a vast overabundance of plot. The nature spirits and witches are *constantly* messing with the mortal characters, moving them from place to place, proposing plans and journeys, and then intervening to undo any progress that the characters have made. So the noble characters end up shuttling from one palace or glade to the next, over and over again, in various configurations of seeking or fleeing or disguise. It gets old after ~100 pages, though there are a variety of hilarious or well described moments that keep the rest of the book from being a complete morass. E.g. Potentilla, the spirit of Insects, transforms Phantasmion into a giant sized water bug. While swimming and flying around, he sees the queen Maudra about to sacrifice her child by throwing it to the water-spirit Seshelma. So Phantasmion swoops down, kicks off Seshelma's face, intercepts the air-borne child, and then flies off with the kid to take home and raise as his own. E.g. Potentilla gives Phantasmion the powers of the cricket, allowing him to leap large distances (seeing a pattern?). Furthermore, she weaves a giant web across a castle gate, in order to distract a party of hostile nobles so that Phantasmion can then steal Iarine out from amidst their group. This works, except Iarine doesn't want to go with him, since she's been tricked by a witch into thinking she needs to go on a quest to get some magic water to heal her father, and so she just runs off into the woods. Phantasmion takes this gracefully, but then he notices a childhood bird that he really liked has gotten stuck in the spider webbing, so he goes to free the bird, but then *he* gets stuck in the webbing too, and so he gets captured. And so Potentilla comes to him in his cell, and gives Phantasmion the the sharp & ridged arms of a something bug so that he can cut his bonds and escape, and so on and so on for another 300 pages. One suprising part of the story is that while the plotting is childish, the writing is occasionally quite good, with some skillfully described scenes of natural beauty or gothic nature vibes. In this it's kind of the opposite of Sister, Maiden, Monster, which had enjoyable plotting but often terrible writing.

Oh right another funny note, the perfect and impenetrable disguise for these royals is dressing up as a servant. As soon as a character has put on servant garb, they are completely invisible to all the other noble characters, even if they've known each other for decades. This tactic is used a at least 10 times through out the book.