The Readers of Time Need to Rewrite the Present Perfectly,
This review is from: Reader (Daughter of Time Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is the first Stebbins I have read; it is unlikely to be the last. The story is very much visionary, speculative and philosophical science fiction. The writing is all in first person narrative form being an episodic interior monologue. In other words, the mental voice, the mind, of Ambra Dawn talks directly to us through the book.
I really enjoy this sort of inventive philosophical science fiction. Condemn me, not Stebbins, if I paint too enthusiastically. The stories structure is pure dystopia, but dark though the story is it leaves a strong glimmer of hope for humanity and the victory of good over evil. To be victorious we will come to realize that we need Ambra Dawn to be heroic. We must also learn to trust and follow where ever she guides us.
Every being in the known galaxy appears to blindly accept a false premise, this being that there are many Orbs, portals, between places in Space and Time. All civilizations in this creation are as seduced by what they observe of the portals as we all once where by the assumption that the Earth must have edges. Ambra comes to see beyond what other beings can fathom. Ambra knows far less about the galaxy than do the cleverest of other races; and yet, she is the first ever to navigate a safe passage through to other remote areas of space. As Ambra starts to gain in learning and intuition she seems to sense that the Orb might be more than a construct of physics, and so raising the prospect that it might be a monolithic physical god like energy. What is more, could she possibly be a sort of messiah for that power?
There is a deep sense of profound tragedy, a feeling that the destruction of the Earth may well be inevitable, unless the history of the past can be changed, and the future controlled. Humans seem to be an insignificant lot, so weak when compared to the destructive Dram and so morally inferior to the Xix. Yet there is just a glimmer of a chance that the greatest human Reader of the past and present can also be its greatest writer of the future. Can a sick girl, with a cancerous like growth in her brain become the leader of a successful rebellion against the murderous Dram? So early physically blinded by her growth, she seems to be inevitably doomed.
Some people have a sixth sense, an ability to see, to feel, with a subtlety and depth that the rest of us can't equal. We are then inclined to mock, mainly in an attempt to belittle our fear, what we cannot comprehend. Ridicule tends to be especially high when the individual savant is so clearly very far from the norm. A vastly enlarged and distorted head on a teenage girl might not inspire trust, but the surviving humans had better do so, and if the author is to be believed then so must we. Actually, who is author and who is scribe?
I won't say any more about the plot as the last thing I wish to do is take away the fun of revealing it through your own read. I have tried to wet an appetite, for this story I so much enjoyed, without romping too deeply into its meat. From the moment Ambra is taken from her parents by men hidden behind dark-glasses her life becomes a terrible ordeal, a life that compels us to read the Reader, in desperate hope that despite the odds she will survive.
I wasn't entirely sure that all the mathematical formulas, one of which introduces each chapter, added much to the book. That though is a minor criticism. This is a well written and thought provoking story for those that enjoy looking beyond the presently rational. "Don't let us die," because you see "the final step is yours".