Transubstantiate Paperback – 1 Apr 2010
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By far one of the most uncompromising and determined writers around, Richard is gifted at prose as he is sincerely gracious. It's sickening, if the truth be told. With a very envious publishing career where he was the winner of the ChiZine Publications 2009 "Enter the World of Filaria" contest, and his short story "Maker of Flight" was chosen by Filaria author Brent Hayward and Bram Stoker Award-Winning editor Brett Alexander Savory, not to mention having a story published in Cemetery Dance, I can't help but feel inspired.
It'd be wise to see Transubstantiate as more the hors d'oeuvre before the main banquet, an appetizer of such allure it will make your mouth and stomach ache. It is the first of many, and the one that marks the beginning of a publishing career that will outlive most of us.
To whet your appetite, here is the official synopsis:
A neo-noir transgressive thriller about a man who has taken himself off the grid and punishes those that the law has overlooked or failed to prosecute. Altered and breaking apart, he follows orders while questioning the reality and motivation of those people that are in his life. A dark past filled with tragedy looms over him while he tries to embrace the ghost of Holly, his only female connection, under orders from Vlad, while taking care of his bedraggled cat, Luscious. At what point does he just end it all? Or does he stay in his role as judge, jury and executioner for the rest of his life?
There's no escaping Thomas's fond nod to ' ...more Okay, so there may be some bias from me in considering this novel. Having seen the early draft and being privileged to see this develop, I was thrilled to see it get published, but I remember reviewing it, looking forward to reading each chapter, and dreading whatever fate was in store for the seven characters. I was eager to get my hands on the final glossy product so that I could enjoy the whole story all over again. And enjoy it I did.
There's no escaping Thomas's fond nod to "Lost" or "The Prisoner", not least because you have to have your wits about you to keep on top of the plot, but the story has all the grit and darkness of the neo-noir genre he so obviously loves, and it marries that style neatly with the science-fiction element that always appeals to me.
The story is complex and not explained fully by the end of the novel (in keeping with Lost!), but the important aspects have a satisfactory resolution and I think that full disclosure would spoil the mystique he generates through the gradual unveiling of the characters.
I can imagine various readers have their own favourites out of the seven emerging personalities, though I believe the dominant number one would most likely be the enigmatic "Exodus" or "X" for most. For me, it was the mysterious character known only as "Assigned" - the ominous watcher with distinct echoes of HAL 9000 but somehow incorporating somewhat organic roots. How can you not be intrigued or wary of him... it!?
Overall, Transubstantiate offers a well-constructed and satisfying story that's worthy of being Otherworld's debut novel. Well done, Richard!
I don't even know where to start. Confusing storyline, confusing timeline, only one likeable character (and even then I'm not so sure). Maybe if you sat down and read it at one sitting it might be do-able, but this is the first book in a very long time that I wasn't reading at every and any spare moment. I actually played Solitaire on my phone in preference!
I know this sounds horrible, but quite often I base my reading choices on what other people think of a work, so I can't feel bad about this review. This book might not be a waste of your money, but it'll be a waste of your time. Pass over, and try something else.
(Sorry Mr. Thomas)