Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Dork Review: Filaria

So are you looking for a nice light read? Something fluffy you could read with your brain parked in neutral, your neurons gently resting while you watch happy bunnies and kitties frolic?

This book ain't that.

Let me be frank, and not Frank the guy who owns the gym I go to, but frank as in honest. I like this book, so keep that in mind when you read the rest of this review.

Filaria is dark. Dark as in coal covered in tar buried deep underground in the middle of the night. Underground works as well, for the setting is a complex buried in the crust of an unnamed planet. It could be Earth, it could be anywhere in the universe. Where it is doesn't matter. What matters is the people filling this world, their struggles, triumphs and defeats as they live in a world that seems to be coming apart at the seams.

The book is told from four different viewpoints, and switches between views regular as clockwork. It's interesting to watch how events in one persons view are perceived by another viewpoint character, and to see what characters from each section appear in others. Brent Hayward, the author, does a great job of weaving a story out of these very different takes on the world, and reveals information with style throughout the book. Each viewpoint character lives on the page and you really do get into their heads and begin to understand how they view their world. To me this novel is a great example of artistry to keep in mind when I write.

I must issue the following warning though: If you primarily read more direct literature, say Harry Potter or Honor Harrington, be aware that this book is much closer to what some English majors would consider "literary" instead of the "genre crap" that the rest of us real people read (please be aware this is not a dig against genre fiction, which I love and read and do write, or against English majors, of which I was one, but I have seen that attitude amongst some of them). I could easily see this book being part of a course on Modern literature I took in university, or perhaps it would fit better in Post-modern studies. I dunno. I never studied Post-modernism.

So to sum up, Filaria is a university level read. It's dark, complex, loaded with imagery and well crafted characters, and not to be undertaken lightly. Still, go out and read it and stretch your mind a bit. If you don't your brain may get stiff from disuse.

Oh, and before I forget, this book's should be available in stores so good hunting. If they don't have it, ask them to order you a copy or order directly from the publisher here. (Yes it's another Chizine book. I had to read it before I go to the convention in October in case I ran into the publisher and he asks if I have, so it got placed on the top of the pile. And now I've read everything from Chizine I currently have. Guess the means I have to buy some more in October.)

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