Monday, November 29, 2010

REVIEW: "The Eye of the Storm" by William L. K.

"Danger lurks in the shadows for the royal siblings Dmitri and  Becki.  
The loyalty of family is tested as the eye of the storm approaches."

Dmitri and Becki live on the planet of Stritonoly where all children not born into nobility learn only art and religion. The main exports of Stritonoly are sculptures made of the mesmerizing purple purock that is unique to this planet. The acidel, small and numerous, work as slaves on Stritonoly, tirelessly cutting away the purock for the artisans to sculpt. Life has continued in just this way for ages, but it's about to change. The eye of the storm is coming, and will leave a different world in its wake.

I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this novel to review and it's difficult to talk more about the storyline without giving something away. Suffice it to say, there is heavy symbolism and some interesting metaphors that are further explained in the epilogue of the story. Taken as a whole, this book was engaging, with a quirky style. The beginning of the story immediately drew me in, but confused me. It wasn't until I read to the end and then reread the beginning that it all made sense. The beginning is a foreshadowing of things to come, and the first chapter is another foreshadowing; it isn't until the second chapter of the book that we start learning what has led the characters on their journeys. The overall result is somewhat of a circle with a small tail; we end up right where we started towards the end of the book, and then we move on to the ending.

This book wasn't like much of the science fiction I have experienced in the past; it took a different approach. Parts of this story read more like an ethnography of the Stritonoly people, taking care to explain various aspects of their society and what it meant for the people who live there. Parts of the story read a bit like a philosophy of religion, with profound ideas and a discussion of faith. The writing style was generally simple, with poetic phrasing interspersed with the simple sentences, adding to the quirkiness of the story. The plot elements were a mish-mash of various elements, all centering around one of the main characters. It's the type of book that may require a second or third look to catch all the little references you may have missed the first time around.

The characters in this story have clear personalities, but they are somewhat unrealistic; at times some appear to gain wisdom and unexpectedly gush erudite philosophy. As a result, this was not a book I was able to fully immerse myself into, yet I read it with interest, much as I would watch a documentary. The world created was engrossing and the plot was stimulating. There is a lot to infer in this relatively short book rife with symbolism and metaphor.

I would have liked to see the connections in the story made tighter, a more seamless weave between the main elements of the story. I think perhaps less may then need to be explained in the epilogue and readers could glean some of that information from the story itself. I think the same could be said for some of the philosophical and ethnographical aspects of the story; tempering those aspects may let more of the reader's imagination through. Once I started catching on to a major subplot, I was compelled to read the story through to the end, but a more clearly structured plot would have increased my enjoyment even more. In general, engaging and interesting, with a lot of potential.

3 /5 stars

The official release date for this story is Dec 11th, check out William L. K.'s blog for more information!

The author has also informed me that he has made several changes to the book since my review copy was sent out, and will likely be making more before the final release date, so be sure to check out his final copy due out on Dec 11th!

No comments: