Avaland by Amy Croucher Rose


Amy Croucher Rose
LARK Services, 2018

4 Stars


There is a charm to Amy Croucher Rose’s first novel Avaland that will delight and surprise readers. And for a first time author, Croucher Rose writes not just smooth and well-composed prose but tells an entrancing story filled with pleasing plot elements and twists. Avaland is a novel for young readers and adults. It is a superb fantasy adventure and elegant fairy tale.

Readers begin finding Charlotte orphaned as a babe and magically arriving on the doorstep of a quirky elderly couple. It is a classic fairy tale trope which Croucher Rose blends into her tale in such a way to make it seem fresh and new. Charlotte grows up and finds herself pulled into a magical world of hobgoblins, gnomes, and other fantastic creatures where she must puzzle out not just the mysteries of these worlds but of her own existence. It is Avaland, mystical and compelling. 

Readers will learn alongside Charlotte just what this magical world holds as we accompany her through her education Harry Potter-like as she discovers and masters her own magical abilities. But don’t think Croucher Rose has merely written an imitation of J.K. Rowling, Avaland is entirely its own story. Yet, the novel does give fantasy readers echoes of their favorite kinds of worlds from Jim Henson’s Laybrinth and Dark Crystal to more contemporary stories like Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.

Charlotte explores this world as she is presented tasks to overcome to get her closer to the ultimate hidden goal. Battling Sirens and Dragons with allies who will endear and infuriate readers, Charlotte will fulfill her destiny saving the world. The fantasy fiction lover as well as those readers who overlap with RPG (role-playing game) gaming will find this novel a delight. Readers looking for something light but accomplished will be immensely satisfied. While the cover of the novel begs to be teased, the content is pleasing. Croucher Rose has given us a sparkling debut.

In a world obsessed with grimdark fantasy adventures, the kind of epic novels focused on gritty realism, Avaland shows you can experience heart-pounding adventure without graphic sexual, emotional, or bloody violence. Similiarly, Avaland refuses the cutesy kind of fantasy meant to please the parents of young readers. Croucher Rose creates in Charlotte as well as her other characters a world where menace exists just below the surface but in a tone that’s more Lewis Carroll than George R.R. Martin and serious in her wonder without being fastidious or facetious.


About the Author:


Born in Hampshire England, the world AVALAND stems from many childhood adventures Amy took as a tomboy after her mother told her she’d seen a fairy. Passionate about writing with a special interest in fantasy fiction and Sci-Fi, Amy is addicted to creating stories and admits she has always been creative since adolescence. Now studying toward a degree in Creative Writing at Winchester University, Amy continues on her quest to bring an audience to the world she has created, believing that one day others will love it as much as she does.


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