Sunday, February 23, 2014
A fitting title for the rebirth of my blogging days! I have been overwhelmed the past few months, and am very excited to have finally had the opportunity to get back into reading. Apologies to all who missed my posts, and I am sincerely hoping that this marks the beginning of more regular, possibly biweekly, postings.
Dean Wilson is at it again, this time continuing the take of Ifferon in The Road to Rebirth, second in the Children of Telm series. I am seriously astounded that Wilson is able to create a whole world, complete with a whole new religious and mythological system, and put so much life and vigor into every aspect of his series. It took me a while to get back into the story because of the depth put into it, but once I was in I was hooked all over again. Wilson's new addition to the Children of Telm series earns itself 4 out of 5 stars from me.
From the publisher:
After the catastrophe of the Call of Agon, Ifferon and his companions find themselves in the unenviable situation of witnessing, and partaking in, the death of another god- this time Corrias, the ruler of the Overworld.
With Corrias locked inside the corpse of the boy Theos, he suffers a fate worse than the bonds of the beast Agon. Yet hope is kindled when the company find a way to restore the boy, and possibly the god, back to life.
The road to rebirth has many pitfalls, and there are some who consider such meddling with the afterlife a great risk. The prize might be life anew- but the price might also be a second death.
As with any book, there are things I liked, and things I didn't like about The Road to Rebirth. One of the things I wasn't too fond of was how long it took me to get into the story. This isn't because of Wilson's writing or the plot itself, but rather the intense level of detail put into every part of the story. Many sci-fi and fantasy/adventure sagas have timelines, maps, lineages, or other aids to help readers remember important yet complex parts of the story, and I feel like something would have been useful to remember the different races, tribes, and gods Wilson created.
I also feel like the chapters featuring Melgales and Yavun were particularly difficult to keep track of, owing to their being in two separate places and handling different situations. I like how they were combined because of their connection with the Beldarian, although I'm not sure the ebook formatted the way Wilson had wanted because there were a few parts in these chapters that were unclear in the shifts from Yavun to Melgales and vice versa.
That being said, I have to applaud Wilson for creating a story as vivid and creative as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. He has developed a whole alternate world, complete with a complicated mythological/religious background, and that takes immense skill. I am a huge fan of mythology, particularly Greek and Roman tales, and Wilson's work only whets my appetite for more myths.
While I was overly fond of the amazing imagery and scene-setting in this book, I was also a bit overwhelmed by the number of poems and songs throughout the chapters. They were well placed and added to the culture of Wilson's world, but I think there were just a bit too many for me to truly enjoy as they took me away from the plot itself, and I had to reorient myself to what was occurring.
As I mentioned before, Wilson's style of writing hooks the reader, and creates an emotional bridge between reader and character. The characters in The Road to Rebirth are realistic in the moral and ethical choices they make in each chapter. Nobody is all good or all evil, and each person makes their choices and has to live with the repercussions, be they positive or negative. Elithea and Delin share drastically opposing opinions in what is right to do for Theos' soul, but because there is naught but gray area, either can be right or wrong. How can anyone tell who is truly good or evil in this story, without seeing how the conclusion plays out?
One of my favorite parts of any book I read is finding quotes that really speak to me, and Dean Wilson is outstanding at making his stories as inspirational as they are entertaining. I'll leave you with just a few of my favorites:
"If you draw breath, then this is living. The question is: do you do more than just draw breath?"
"The dark night feels very long now, even if there is the hope of dawn." "There is more than hope... It is not idealism to think that day will follow night. It is a matter of knowing, not hoping."
"Do you yearn for life, even when it is often cruel?" "Yes, because it is often cruel, not always, and when it is not cruel, it is kind beyond any measure, and those moments outweigh the darker ones that precede or follow. Even when night comes and smothers day, there are stars up there in the blackness."
"To try and fail is better than to fail to try. A flower always tries to bloom, even in the bleakest of winters. Often the flowers fail, but sometimes they succeed."
"Sometimes it is best to think less of where you came from, and more on where you are going."
Keep looking for new book reviews, I plan on going back into this headfirst!
- Justin :)