Tim Clare does excellent creative writing advice. He says loads of useful and interesting and wise things in his podcasts, and created a great free writing challenge bootcamp that I really enjoyed, all of which have helped me think more clearly about fiction and writing. He also comes across as a genuinely lovely guy, and having spent so very many hours listening to him and benefiting from his insight, I have come to think of him as a friend (no I don’t have many friends, how did you guess.) So naturally I was curious to see what his actual writing is like, and picked up his debut novel.
Reader, I was underwhelmed. But I was kind of glad. I found it oddly reassuring that even though he really knows his stuff, he doesn’t write brilliantly himself. I like that he’s a work in progress, learning as he goes along, and not a guru who knows it all. The book wasn’t my cup of tea – my low tolerance for fantasy and even lower tolerance for verbosity are to blame. Fantasy buffs may well enjoy it though. It’s rich, exuberantly written, wildly imaginative and full of peculiar Stuff, with a Lyra-esque protagonist, so for those that like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they’ll like.