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This is my completely honest review; though I seek not to offend, I swear every word is the fruit of my brain and my feelings- no other.
This is a
fantasy novel which jumps between the perspectives of two men: Commander Dante
and his Captain of the Guard, womaniser Kerran. A new threat to their crime
free city comes in the form of the mysterious being Rasheim, and that isn't the
only problem. It's been five years since the last contact with the world beyond
the desert. For Dante, it couldn't get worse... could it?
this book, the fact that the name of out main character was named Dante definitely
caught my attention. It's a powerful name given its (assumed) namesake and I
was interested to see why this name exactly. But as I got to reading, I found I
didn't care about that as much and altogether forget that line of inquiry.
I found that
Dante was definitely an interesting character, simply because he was so
straightforwardly normal, but I slightly disliked the constant allusion to his
logical thinking. But it didn't bother me so much as he actually thought
logically after that. It was almost as though Jennifer was jumping down to
whisper in my ear and reminding me he was logical. Sometimes it was useful
reminder, other times annoying. I got the feeling that Dante was a very much a
peacetime leader. (This could just be the fact we've been doing German history
in school though, so I'm being over interpretative.) This is kind of reinforced
later when Kerran steps up to take the mantle and leads more.
introduced as a very typical kind of misogynistic womaniser, but the moment he
started to actually take a place on the stage of the book, he wasn't. I'm
pleased by this, since I would otherwise have been perpetually annoyed by him.
But despite some sexism in his belief of Gender roles (which he does overcome)
he's fairly likeable.
first few chapters, I felt the book was fairly predictable. It followed your
basic perfect city with a forgotten past and new threat they don't understand.
But then the Messenger entered the picture. Simply put, I loved her character.
I loved the mystery surrounding her and though you can guess at the truth to
her (and I wasn't too far off the mark) she's still a very interesting person
to see develop...or rather, come to understand. You go from mystified, to one
understanding, to another, to a re-interpretation of a synthesis of the latter
two. Maybe others would find it disjointed or even inconsistent, but it all
makes sense in the context of the book, and towards the end you probably get
the single nugget of pure truth behind her. Even when you learn who she is, you
still see her as the mysterious messenger, which I think is hard thing to do;
to so firmly establish who she is in a short time and no matter what else she
does, that first impression is over powering.
until around Chapter 5 that I was really hooked with the book though, since it
was then that the magic actually started to come in. Anyone who has read enough
of my fantasy reviews knows that this is always my favourite feature of a book
and though it isn’t highly explored, I thought it was great. It’s not a topic I
can dwell on though without giving up important details.
are probably the last most important feature of the book I can talk about
safely. They are used as a kind of dramatic device earlier on to learn what we
need to know, but they become much more important as the book progresses. They
also underline the prominent differences between Kerran, the fighter, and Dante,
the more logical and level headed. They also add this interesting dynamic of
(at least early on) trying to guess when the events are real or dreamlike. They
also mean that the more fantastical things leave a faint voice saying to you “This
could just be a dream.” But then they take on a different level of importance
later on when they go from being dreams to something much more dangerous, much
more volatile, and much more significant.
this is really a riveting book (which might not have shown in this review). It seems to start slow but when events start to
unfold it becomes a truly excellent fantasy book and when I finished I actually
looked online to check I wasn’t missing pages. It came as such a surprise, and
I wanted more in that instant. I’m interested to see where the book would go
from here, but I’ll be there to find out…I hope!
Why did you decide to write it?
very interested in ancient history, and I spend a lot of time reading about
ancient times and lost civilizations, and how climates in regions have altered
over time. I have also always been a huge fan of fantasy and Sci-Fi. I started
mixing elements of the two things together, and I was immediately struck with
the idea of the lost civilization still being alive, just forgotten. The
imagery that came to mind was so powerful, I just had to write it down. As I
went further into it and discovered all the characters, it became a real world
for me. And I think Dante and Kerran have a valid voice that resonates with a
lot of people today.
Can I ask what that idea was that was so powerful? Is
it a scene in the book- and if so which one? (If that isn’t giving too much
It was the idea where I originally planned to start
the book, but after I got into the story a bit I decided to change how it all
started and began again from scratch – although the idea is still a powerful
moment in the book. I can’t say too much about it because it is going to be a
pivotal moment in the sequel.
The Messenger, in my opinion, is a fairly unusual
character. But then she seems to stand against misogyny and act as Kerran’s
exact opposite idea of a woman. And she is just so mysterious!!! What was the
inspiration behind her?
She was one of the first characters that I knew inside and out. I needed
to have a strong woman, for obvious reasons. But I did not want her to have any
of the typical sterotypes of strong women; I didn’t want it to be easy to
categorize her. I toyed with telling parts of the book from her point of view,
but found having her silent was far more interesting. I took my favorite
characteristics from my favorite women, wrapped them together, and came up with
Kerran and Dante are opposites, yes? Did you set out
to do this, or did they develop in this way? You say that the character came to
you, so did they come in a pair or differently? And while we're on them, why
did you choose the name Dante?
In many ways, Dante and
Kerran are opposites. That was not planned, it just happened that way. Dante’s
character came first, and he was pretty well established as to how he acted and
thought. Kerran evolved to fit the need of that secondary character; still strong,
but very different from Dante. I chose the name Dante because it is a strong
name; it means “lasting, enduring,” and it just fit perfectly to the character
in my mind’s eye.
Why dreams? You could have had mysterious letters or a
journal, I just wonder why did you decide on dreams?
Why not dreams? Dreams are a gateway for our unconscious mind, which is
really the powerhouse of our brain. So many things go on in dreams, and
anything is possible in a dream. There is no such thing as the word
“impossible” when you are dreaming. The idea was presented before in the movie
“The Forbidden Planet’ but this is a different twist. It is a dream-world,
where anything is possible, so long as you have the power to do it. As with all
forms of magic, there are still rules, but there is unlimited potential (for
both good and evil) in the dream world.
Finally, when do you think the sequel will be out? It
says in the sample the end of 2012? Can we be so lucky?!
Right now I am planning for November 2012. If I stay on track, then the
sequel will be out around Thanksgiving.