Hecate’s Faun, by Marc Royston is a strange case for a fantasy novel: part gothic horror, part magical realism with just a dash of del Torro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, it features just the right amount of magically-aided optimism and bleak pessimism that makes for a good, ambiguous narrative.
Hecate’s Faun tells the story of the Hag, exiled from the fantastical world that’s lurking at the edge of our reality and the weirdness that surrounds her newly-mundane life. The story, being a gothic horror work at heart, has the kind of writing that goes with the territory: vivid, eloquent prose with just a smattering of dialogue, which makes or breaks the book on the first reading. In my personal opinion, I found Marc Royston’s language to be very well-crafted and his descriptions to be captivating. However, a reader who is just looking for a fantasy novel to chew through action scenes might not be that compelled by it. If you are willing to give it a whirl, I suggest that you do so for the atmosphere and tone of the novel, which I found to be absolutely captivating.
The cover does an excellent job of establishing the tone of the novel and to prepare the reader for what lies within. Personally, I would recommend the book mostly to writers who are on the lookout for new, interesting ways to enhance their narrative: the author’s way with words make for a great ‘how-to’ guide, especially when it comes to establishing pacing and atmosphere.