The Legend of Sarah
by Leslie Gadallah
Published by Shadowpaw Press
Review by Toby A. Welch
$24.95 ISBN 9781989398494
The Legend of Sarah was first published in 1988 under the title Lore Master. It has now been republished in this third edition by Shadowpaw Press Reprise based out of Regina. Myself and anyone else smart enough to grab a copy of The Legend of Sarah will be grateful that it was chosen for republication. A few minor references were changed to make them more up to date but the novel is otherwise unchanged. The Legend of Sarah is as relevant today as it was 35 years ago.
The title character is a 14-year-old who lives a rough life. Sarah survives on the streets of the fictional town of Monn, rigorously trying to avoid trouble. A storyteller she regularly encounters weaves formidable tales, unknowingly providing inspiration for Sarah to aim for a better life. But of course things are never simple. She gets caught up in the crossfire of numerous evil and negative forces that aim to muscle their way into her world, trying to pull Sarah to a darker side. Boiled down, she is trapped between two cultures.
Sarah is an interesting character. She is a tenacious young thing, working hard every day to better herself. You can’t help but root for her to make it. She is an underdog that you hope will come out on top.
I’m not sure what time period this book takes place in, or its location, or if it’s another world altogether. It is a cross between a fantasy and a science fiction read so perhaps it’s another place and time. Silver is used for currency, they use torches for lighting, and have tribe raids. One location in the book is built over an abandoned missile base. Yet they also have a cool food service where you order from a menu and a delivery service drops the food items outside your door. People travel from place to place via pods. There is talk of witches, wizards, gremlins, gnomes, and witchcraft. Mystic energies abound. The entire book is a fascinating mixture of contradictory nuances.
Gadallah was educated as a chemist and has written popular science articles and served as a technical editor. She has four science fiction novels on her resume as well as numerous short stories. With the quality of The Legend of Sarah, it wasn’t surprising to learn that she is accomplished in the writing arena.
This fictional work is 371 pages, plenty of space to give readers a fully fleshed story with well-developed characters. I highly recommend this book about the clash of cultures, one a technological ideology and the other the opposite. This is a superb example of classic yet timely Canadian science fiction.
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