Verdict: THE GRIFFIN is an entertaining and playful read, vigorously fantastical enough to keep the reader engaged despite its substantial length.
Avery Cole doesn’t think he’s any great hero. The University of Chicago student is about to propose to his girlfriend Jill, and all he wants is a quiet, happy life with her. But forces are at work that have other plans, and when he finds himself accidentally skewered by the great Excalibur itself, he’s drawn into the sword’s world and told that he is now its guardian, the Griffin. Excalibur is a key between alternate worlds, and it is the Griffin’s responsibility, under the aegis of the mysterious Tribunal, to protect it from enemies, including the Corporation, a multidimensional company looking for new worlds to conquer. But the Tribunal is not exactly an uncomplicated force for good either, and Avery is showing signs of being a Griffin like no other, with unexpected abilities and choices. His first problem is to make it to the sword-world’s focal point, assisted by a host of unlikely allies, to claim his full power, against the full force of Corporation opposition. His second is to decide how, and in whose service, to wield that power.
This is a complicated book, full of historical figures and mythical beings, from Akhenaten to fallen angels, CEO warlords to Olympian Gods to Knights of the Round Table. It’s lively and fun, with a mischievous sense of humor and a vivid imagination, and the world-building, for all the complications of the story, actually makes reasonably believable sense within the context given. Avery shows substantial growth throughout the book, and it’s nice to see him go from an awkward Everyman to the hero he always had the potential to be.
There are multiple storylines, and the book jumps back and forth between them, which helps to maintain suspense but also leaves the reader feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to keep track of everything that’s going on. The dialogue is cute and clever, but relies a bit too much on exclamation points for emphasis, leaving an impression of artificial over-excitement. The ending resolves matters in a way that is satisfying, but leaves enough loose ends to build reader anticipation for a sequel. In any case, it is difficult not to enjoy a book that throws in kangaroo space men, battle bears, and ninja ostriches, just for fun, and understands why heaven is not heaven without deep-dish pizza.
THE GRIFFIN is an entertaining and playful read, vigorously fantastical enough to keep the reader engaged despite its substantial length.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader