3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Utterly refreshing, polished, and compelling,
This review is from: The Black God's War [A Stand-Alone Novel] (Prelude to the Splendor and Ruin Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)This review is for the full-length novel; I reviewed the novella last year, but since then, Moses Siregar has completed the novel and polished this refreshing new fantasy to a very satisfying degree.
I should note that I provided some editorial support on this book in the early stages of redrafting, but since then the author has rewritten extensively under the guidance of two more editors. The book I am now reviewing barely resembles the drafts I was asked to comment on, and I am, to say the least, impressed by the end product.
The Black God's War is set in Siregar's own world during a prolonged conflict between two very different nations. The Rezzians have a lot of Hellenistic traits, not least of all their pantheon of ten gods, whereas the Pawelons have a much more Indian feel, and their religion is closer to Buddhism, but with traces of Hinduism also discernible.
We follow the fortunes of the Rezzian royal family - principally Caio, the messianic son of King Vieri, and his sister, Lucia. batting for the other side we have the spiritually gifted Rao who grows to frightening stature with his feats of psychism.
The clash of cultures is brought to a head with fierce magical/spiritual battles between powerful but flawed personalities, but always present are the mysterious, often invisible, gods of the Rezzians.
Mystery is heaped upon mystery, and characters are forced to face up to the fact that their world views, their assumptions about the opposing culture, are not necessarily correct. The virtual atheism fails to account for the potency of the Rezzian gods.
For me, the most vital character was Lucia - something of an Amazonian woman whose dynamics concerning her father and brother are compelling. Her spiritual conflicts with the ominous Black God, Lord Danato, are haunting throughout and lead to some of the best scenes in the book in the latter stages.
Siregar is not afraid to build his story and weave in the very human relationships of his characters. He's also not afraid of action, and this is where he's made huge improvements on the original novella. The fights are highly visual, succinctly written, and draw the reader in through tight point of view.
Something else he's very good at is the use of language - just enough lyricism to suggest the Homeric influence, but never too much. There's an awareness of the modern idiom throughout, too, and the overall effect is extremely evocative.
The Black God's War is, to date, the finest example of quality independent fantasy I've seen. This is undoubtedly due to Siregar's willingness to write and rewrite until each chapter feels just right to him. He's clearly cut where he needed to and added much more depth and balance (the Pawelons get much more of a look in in this finished version). As a reader, I was left with absolute confidence that this writer knows his world and characters inside out. Nothing is left to chance: Moses knows what he's about.
He's also no slacker when it comes to presentation of his material either. This book has been professionally and extensively edited, proofed, and formatted. There is a remarkable map and a great cover.
This is what indie publishing is all about and I have no qualms about recommending this great novel.