Phantasia: Book One: Into the Rain
Red really doesn’t have many goals in life. One to be specific – graduate Crest Combat Academy at the top of his class to join the elite WEAPON team at MegaCorp. It seems like a great life to him, complete with honor and a place in the efforts to fight the Xenosite invasion, or so he’s been promised. Near the end of his final year at the Crest Academy, a highly protected carrier is attacked, its crew eaten. At the time, Red does little more in response than make a note to stay out of that part of the desert. Maybe he should have given it more thought. On the second night of his field test, an already dangerous venture, he runs afoul of a mysterious man with a blade and the Evil Eye. From there, his simple dreams of being a WEAPON and fighting Xenosites rapidly derail as one thing leads to another, the lines between friend and enemy blur and he finds himself fighting his own destiny as a doomsday prophet.
I enjoyed this book on multiple levels, first as a reader, then as a fellow author. Let’s start with my opinions as a reader. First of all, the genre of the story intrigued me, as it mingles science fiction and fantasy, containing everything from elves to interplanetary travel–items I would not normally find together in one book. I’ll admit, I was a little leery of the Lovecraftian-style prose, as H.P Lovecraft was never one of my favorite authors, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the prose evocative and engaging, without the creepiness I was expecting. Many of the passages swept me into the world of the story, such as the passage describing one of the creatures of the world.
In answer to the clichéd “How big is it?” question, Riyadad describes the Leviathan and how when it “takes breath, the whole of Eaut gasps from the sudden shortage of air.” In addition, I appreciate how Riyadad weaves psychology and philosophy into the story. Yet, none of the prose carries any apparent theme, and the flow never stops to deliver a message, the sentiment is simply there, for the reader to digest and think about. Many an evening conversation was sparked over the themes of this book. Finally, the characters were truly impressive, and I liked the interesting inter-character and character-world interactions. The world itself was fascinating enough, but seeing how it shaped the characters was truly intriguing for me.
As an aspiring author, I enjoyed the reading as a fellow writer. Not only could I let myself get swept up in the glory of the prose, reveling in the great size of the Leviathan alongside Red or observing Prince Arkan’s lecture on the importance of arithmetic in combat, but I could stand back, and watch the prose with a more discerning eye, and admiring its power, much like one watches Niagra Falls. I was inspired in my own works as well, trying to model myself after the power of the prose, the character dynamics, and the descriptions. Also, under the view of my author hat, I appreciated the thoughtful and entertaining afterword at the end of the story. Riyadad included many interesting facts about his experience in writing and his own personal thoughts about it. He also provided some advice for budding authors, and I sure appreciated that. All in all, I thought it was a wonderful inspiration and a delightful read. My compliments to the author.
|Author||M. U. Riyadad|
|Page Count||474 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|