Tor novella, out now
Dangers come from every side during a trek through the jungle of the Wildeeps and earthbound demigod Demane may be the last defence…
If you’re one of those people who have disregarded SF and fantasy novellas, feeling that the brevity of the word count means that the world-building is likely to be given short shrift, then your opinion is likely to be markedly changed by Kai Ashante Wilson’s story, the first in Tor’s new lines of novellas, appearing weekly over the coming months. It’s a tale which is so dense and rich in its depictions of the various different societies and places that you end it feeling as if you’ve been immersed in its world.
Part of that comes from the diversity of the language – science fiction terms sit comfortably side by side with modern-day slang and fantasy dialects – as well as the deftly-drawn characters, particularly sorcerer Demane, and the enigmatic Captain. It’s a story that demands your close attention as you read it, not something you can pick up and put down; in fact chances are you’ll want to try to read it in as few sittings as possible – as the reality of Demane’s struggle between the parts of his nature becomes clear, you will be fully engaged.
Verdict: A beautifully dense piece of prose that conjures up a world of magic and science blended together. 8/10