The Singer’s Crown by Elaine Isaak, (EOS, 2005, 480
the realm of fantasy novels, finding an engaging, original story line
can be frustrating. My weekly stroll through my local bookstore usually
leaves me with little hope for any new reading.
When handed Elaine Isaak’s new novel, The Singer’s Crown, I was
skeptical. As I glanced at the book’s back cover, I found something
unusual. There, in a brief description, was the blatant admission that
the main character is a eunuch prince (he’s castrated at age 7). I
admit, I was curious.
a genre that tends to focus on hyper-masculinity, I wondered how such a
character would fare. So I opened the book and read.
The first hundred pages or so were a little slow going, but as I
continued, I found myself wanting to read more, wondering what would
happen to my characters next. Although the story wasn’t enthralling
enough to keep me up at night, I was slowly drawn in by its timing.
Already straying from genre convention with the main character, Isaak
keeps the traditional fantasy elements but introduces them at odd times,
still fitting them perfectly into the plot without prophecy or
The other highlight of this book is the ending: the book completes the
story. Fantasy novels have started to become unspoken trilogies, always
leaving me waiting for another book in a year or two. Isaak has returned
the balance by leaving an opening for future adventures with the
characters without the unsatisfactory ending.
Granted, the book still has a few fantasy cliché moments, for example
the beautiful warrior woman who cannot decide if she wants to give up
the sword to marry, but when taken into consideration with the rest of
the book, those can be overlooked. All in all, this is a good effort,
offering hopes of more unique reading in the future.
The author of The Singer’s Crown, will sign her book at 2 p.m. Oct. 30
at the Barnes & Noble in Manchester.