Most fantasy writers start a book and create a world in which to place it. A very few spend years creating a fantasy world and finally write a book about it. Gregory Tasoulas is one of the latter.
Picture a universe where once every few thousand years the whole basis of the world undergoes a basic shift. Scientific, magical, and metaphysical rules change. None of the inventions and creations of society function anymore. Humans are thrown into an apocalypse from which they must rise again by learning everything about the new world that has formed around them. They are ignorant of their past and doomed to repeat the cycle.
Until one man gets suspicious that vestiges of the last cycle still exist. And then he finds one that is still operant, and all hell breaks loose.
As with other created worlds, this one is imbued deeply with the details and underpinnings of geography, mythology, and science. A full glossary of terms gives evidence of the years of imagination that gave rise to this novel. It is an impressive creation, part wizardry and part steam-punk, and the author slips his setting descriptions in so subtly that you don’t really notice it happening.
Another aspect of this work that deserves mention is that it is truly a journal: a first-person narrative of events that have already taken place. There is almost no dialogue, and at the beginning I found the emotional distance from the action problematic. However, once I got used to the style (and I suspect after the author got used to writing in it) I became fully engrossed in the story and finished it in one sitting.
My connection to the tale was helped by the character of Incabad Reyl himself, an academic and unlikely hero who is forced to confront the destruction of his beliefs several times on the way to his final enlightenment. The other characters, all seen through his eyes, are sketched in less fully, but all fulfill their purposes admirably.
Champion world-building, reasonable handling of a difficult writing style, great plot and main character. (It could use just one more good proofreading.)
(4 / 5)