Melleron’s Magic ill. Steve Hutton (Oxford University Press, 2000) While Melleron’s monster friends are quite memorable, Melleron himself has precious little personality or agency. The fantasy setting lacks depth and development. The villainous magician and his hench-monsters evince evil without motivation. A lacklustre offering from a writer capable of much more.
Tag: Douglas Hill
The Lightless Dome
The Lightless Dome by Douglas Hill (Pan, 1993) Book one in a high fantasy duology that was to have been a trilogy. Hill constructs a plot much like those of his MG books, only with sex and a heavier writing style. The result is serviceable but relatively awkward and uninspiring.
Penelope’s Pendant by Douglas Hill; ill. Annabel Spenceley (Macmillan, 1990) A tale of malfunctioning magic and unexpected consequences, given real narrative impetus by the escalating threat of violence. Hill comes obliquely at the underlying moral (consider possible outcomes) while doling out some much-needed, cathartic comeuppance to Penelope’s tormentors. A short, exciting read.
Planet of the Warlord
Planet of the Warlord by Douglas Hill (Victor Gollancz, 1981) A rousing conclusion to the Last Legionary quartet. Having re-established Keill Randor’s preternatural combat abilities, Hill plunges his protagonist into genuine defeat and despair, thence to rise again (aided by his alien friend Glr) and face one last set of impossible odds.
Day of the Starwind
Day of the Starwind by Douglas Hill (Victor Gollancz, 1980) Book three of the Last Legionary quartet sees Keill Randor edge closer to the shadowy Warlord who masterminded his planet’s destruction. Hill has a knack for upping the stakes, pitting his protagonist against ever more serious threats. Clear, fast-moving middle-grade action SF.
Demon Stalkers: Prey
Demon Stalkers: Prey by Douglas Hill (MacMillan, 2008) A fast-moving mix of supernatural horror and YA adventure. Hill includes some dark real-world elements—homelessness, abandonment, torture, sadism—but does so for purposes of realism, not shock value. His protagonist is not without flaws, yet maintains a sense of morality throughout.
Deathwing Over Veynaa
Deathwing Over Veynaa by Douglas Hill (Victor Gollancz, 1980) Middle-grade science fiction. Book two of Hill’s Last Legionary quartet/quintet succeeds admirably as both a standalone novel and a progression of the series. Hill’s characterisation may be unambiguous but he knows how to keep a story moving. An exciting single-sitting action adventure.
Exiles of ColSec
Exiles of ColSec by Douglas Hill (Victor Gollancz, 1984) At bit clumsy at the outset and rushed in its conclusion, but otherwise an exciting piece of middle-grade SF. Hill moves from a plausible near-future dystopia into a story of castaway survival on a new planet. Distinctive characters, decent representation, accomplished world-building.
Young Legionary by Douglas Hill (Victor Gollancz, 1982) Serving as a prequel to Hill’s Last Legionary quartet, this fix-up novel follows a young Keill Randor (aged 12, 14, 16 & 18) through four challenges on his way to becoming a Legionary of Moros. Easy SF action escapism for middle-grade readers.
Cade: Galaxy’s Edge
Cade: Galaxy’s Edge by Douglas Hill (Bantam, 1996) A slightly awkward blend of MG and YA space opera. There’s action aplenty but sections of the prose are remarkably clunky for an author of Hill’s calibre. This first book establishes Cade (an Artful Dodger type) and the universe he operates in.