Before the Gods (Chronicles of Fate and Choice) by K S Turner
|Before the Gods (Chronicles of Fate and Choice) by K S Turner|
|Reviewer: Amit Vyas|
|Summary: An audacious debut which blends adventure with ancient myth and a touch of philosophy in beguiling fashion.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 496||Date: July 2009|
|Publisher: Ruby Blaze Publishing|
Before The Gods is presented as an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle and shrouded in mystery. The front is adorned by a beguiling image created by the author. A glance at the back cover serves only to tantalise rather than reveal what might be in store.
This is where it all began. Everything. Love, hate, good, evil, us and them. This is before they were gods.
Nevertheless just holding the copy in my hands, I suspected that I might either be in possession of something special, or something terrible. Few novels of genre fiction are as audacious in scope and rare is the debut that offers no real hints as to the narrative on the cover.
It is normally in the interests of the reviewer to explain something of the story in order to pass comment. Not so here. To give away an outline would be to unravel the thread of mystery. It is this unravelling that makes Before The Gods such a pleasure to read.
What I can safely reveal is something of the milieu. The novel concerns human beings at a time when our species was in its infancy, and an advanced intergalactic race known as the kutu.
On earth, a young girl called Tachra, born with a spark of curiosity, wants more from life than to have children and grow old. She wants answers.
The kutu, a male race of beings who are part matter and part energy, soar on wings of pure energy, are a fabulous creation. They are noble and enlightened, yet never irritatingly anodyne or flawless. As a mere mortal I could still relate to them. If I could, I would quite happily take a vacation on the kutu home planet to learn more of their ways.
The kutu don't hog all the glory however, Tachra is a strong female lead and it is a pleasure to travel with her on her journey. The chapters alternate between Tachra and the kutu and both parts are equally well conceptualised, so that at the end of every chapter about the kutu I was keen to catch up with Tachra's story and vice versa.
The plot is inextricably linked with the themes of fate and choice, themes which are interwoven like kutu and humans themselves. These themes play out in numerous strands of the story and reinforce it with meaning. Impressive work for a first timer. So often, themes are tacked on clumsily in an attempt to add gravitas.
The human sections read like a long parable, or a symbolic Native American folk tale. The kutu sections more closely resemble space opera, but far less densely written than is usually the case. Glimpses of kutu technology and culture serve to elicit wonder, but are not part of the focus. Lucid yet spare prose enables the reader to visually capture a scene in their minds eye. Everything unfolds unhurriedly but with purpose. The plot flows evenly rather than lurching or twisting to create excitement.
One slight criticism is a slight lag about two thirds of the way through, just before the finale. A little more judicious editing would have not gone amiss. The denouement rapidly reignites the excitement and the slight hump is smoothed over.
This is a novel that does not wish to conform to genre trappings, but seeks to explore themes in a way that could not be reached without use of the imaginative and the speculative. A work that incorporates elements of both fantasy and science fiction to create something that is unique. More please.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Before the Gods (Chronicles of Fate and Choice) by K S Turner is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.
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K S Turner was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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