2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Become part of the quest,
This review is from: Travels in Elysium (Paperback)
It wasn't until page 51 (of 539) that this book came to life for me. It is here that Nico, our central character, is first exposed to the secrets of Santorini: the ancient artefacts that hinted, so strongly, at a `heaven on earth' civilisation. The description on these pages, in such strong contrast to most of the story until then, was uplifting, hopeful. It may be me, but the scene-setting of the first few chapters left me, well, depressed: far too much doom and gloom, arrogance, fear and . . . well, unsavoury characters. But then, that does give the book plenty of scope for positive progression!
A good book needs to be flowing and readable in terms of characters, actions and descriptions that takes you into that action. Travels in Elysium certainly achieves all those criteria. And it is a tricky scene to set: Azuski has the difficult task of describing not just the history and geography and social-life of Santorini, but all the associated mythology and archaeological vocabulary. This he does cleverly, without losing any flow. As a reader one becomes part of the dig . . . and of the quest for . . . well, what exactly?
The prism of the soul, perhaps? Our author rises nobly to the challenge of describing The Oracle and the meaning of ancient philosophy, interweaving it neatly into unfolding narratives of some very believable characters: from the central domineering Huxley through his chosen Symposiasts to the loyal engineer, Nestor. Nobody, or no thing, is quite what it seems.
Azuski certainly writes in a style that will make you not want to put the book down. However, I found I needed to stop reading and reflect every few chapters, purely because there was so much happening and so many ideas and developments to assimilate. Not just in terms of the storyline but the deeper questions . . . about life, death and their meaning. That to me is a sign of an excellent book: one that not just keeps you engaged through pace and intrigue but also keeps the mind in a deep wondering . . . "what if . . .".