Hey there lovelies!
So this was a really strange read for me, and by the end of it I wasn’t really sure whether I liked it or not. Let me start off by saying, I have read a lot of fantasy novels. Like, a lot a lot. And for the first few decades of my fantasy reading experience many of the novels were more alike than they were different. European setting, magic sword of some variety, white dude hero. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them, I still do, but even something you love can get a little stale if it’s the only option. By my early twenties I was a little fed up with the genre, a little tired of reading the same rehashed concepts over and over again, the same stories told from the same perspective with the same voice. And I know I’m not the only one. There’s been a big push lately in the fantasy communities for diversity, and not just for social justice reasons (although those reasons in and of themselves should be enough). I think people are finally coming to the realization that the larger and more diverse the talent pool we pull from, the better the books that we end up with.
Now this is all just a roundabout way of saying that I’ve got nothing but time for books with a fresh perspective or concept (and also an excuse for me to get a bit preachy about the homogeny of fantasy publishing). This novella, or novelette as I’ve heard it described in a couple of places, has both. The culture that it takes place in, and the voice of the characters, is refreshingly different (for me. I know there are probably plenty of great fantasies out there that take place in Africa, or an African based fantasy world, I just haven’t gotten around to a lot of them yet). And it was built on such a weird, cool blend of sci-fi and fantasy. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it.
But having said that, I’m not sure if I actually liked it. Even though it’s relatively short, it took me a while to get through it. There was something about the style of the prose that kept me from ever really sinking into the book, from feeling completely immersed in the story, and I can’t really put my finger on what it was. Maybe the language was a little opaque for me, or a little abstract. Whatever it was, I found this book a little difficult to get through.
So, I think I recommend this book? Did I love it? No. But I liked it, I think. If you’re like me and you’re looking for a fantasy of a slightly different variety, I’d definitely check it out. The language didn’t always work for me, and I didn’t get that awesome lose yourself completely in a book thing from it, but I’m still happy I read it. I still think it’s good. And I’ll definitely be checking out what this guy does in the future.
Well! That’s all for today folks.
Very Biased Reviewer