Futharkia is a city built upon the layout of an ancient rune shape, and a foundation of slavery. The Broxanians have been enslaved by the Olgoikhorkian Masters to exploit the Broxanian talent for rune-scribing. In exchange, the rune-scribes are compensated with the sweet, golden liquid, Ichor, that the giant worm-like Olgoikhorkians secrete from their glands. The Ichor also happens to be highly addictive and psychoactive. The system has worked for millennia.
However, the Great Fern Jungle that surrounds Futharkia is dying, being bleached white by some unseen force. Coupled with the fact that the simian-like Fern Lice have been hunted to near extinction to provide for Futharkia’s ever-increasing demand for food, Futharkia’s ecosystem is near collapse. It is amid this setting that Cyesko Limariar, an aging rune-scribe makes one last attempt at greatness to lift himself out of poverty, even if by fraudulent means.
I am going to start by saying some of the names in here were freakishly long (just look at the summary) and I had to glaze over them throughout the book. Eventually most of them got nicknames. Cyesko is supposed to be an unredeemable character, so he stayed true to form throughout the book. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed this as much if it wasn’t for Tialina. Her character really saved the book for me. Plus the Olgos (my nickname for Olgoikhorkians) were pretty unique and they were vividly portrayed to the point of disgust – but they were exactly like masters lording over slaves. It was really well done.
Interesting premise that went a little haywire from time to time. The one thing I really liked about this book was the idea that the conquerors get to write history and thus the history books. This was a central theme to the book. Other awesome themes too, like people being slaves to their addictions and the space travel through wormholes. There is storyline there, throughout the book, but it is just plain weird. Also the author doesn’t try to explain all the time what is going on or why…nor does he explain everything that happened (Cyesko’s dream).
I had a really rough start with this book. The copy I received had a section from another chapter accidently inserted into the first page of the first chapter. I was completely lost as to what was happening because of this mishap. It took quite a while for me to get a rhythm going after that happened. The writing was decent but more than once I wasn’t sure what was happening or what everything looked like. I have a robust imagination but even I had to go back sometimes and reread to see what I had missed. The Imps are eventually really clearly described and once you get it, it was awesome. That being said about half way through I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know the ending! It had mind blowing moments that made the book seem so real…just not all the time; so pretty brilliant world-building over all. Also, as a warning the ending is a bit anti-climactic.
I liked most of it, despite its weirdness, but the ending really wasn’t satisfactory (for many reasons). So in the end it was just okay. If you like weird fantasy novels where the main characters are aliens – this book is so for you!!
I received a copy from the author in exchange of an honest review.