The series is beginning to drag
4 February 2012

I guess the Spellsinger series are beginning to drag on by this time. As I mentioned previously, one of the main reasons that I continued reading them was because I wanted to see if Talea would return, but I guess by the time I reached this book it became clear that she wasn't. However, as also mentioned, the problem with Jon-Tom is that he is still trapped in this world with no way to return, though one would wonder why he would want to return since he is a powerful magician here, while back on Earth he is little more than a janitor.
Jon-Tom is once again summoned by Clothahump, the wizard turtle, who sends him to a swamp to the south to investigate the appearance of another wizard (a wizard who, as it turns out, has come from our world). Jon-Tom and the dirty otter Mudge decide to go on a journey to confront him, and if need be, defeat him.
Many have suggested that Foster's continuity begins to degrade in this book. It is as if he had forgotten what he had written in his previous books and was not sitting down to create a Spellsinger franchise. However, the franchise lasted six books, and dropped away for a while. He has since written another two, so they are eight in total (not that I have read, or plan to read, the last two).
Sometimes a franchise works well, other times it doesn't. I did enjoy the Spellsinger series, though did not necessarily get too caught up in the continuity as a kid. It was only when I studied filmmaking that I came to understand the importance of continuity (and I guess having Talea stick around would have been one of those important aspects, but then we must remember that Jon-Tom is an American college student who has become a hero in this world, and the mentality seems to be having a short time of passion before moving on to the next person).
The continuity problems involve which animals can talk and which cannot. The main one people criticise are the horses, who in the first books are identified as being unable to speak, but in this book turns out that they can. This is not something that can easily be explained away (unlike some continuity problems in other films). There is also mention of a change in the roles of some of the animals.
It has been a long time since I read this book, and there are no really decent synopsis' of this book on the internet, and as such there is little more than I can write about it. I should discuss the concept of the quest in the fantasy novel also being a reflection of one's quest to adulthood, or one's quest of self-discovery, but I will leave that for another time.