on March 20, 2013 :
I read this book after reading Melody and the Pier to Forever (Book 1) while waiting for the next book in Montaigne's series to come out. This is a side story about another character, Kaza, who has to flee the invading armies of Necrolius.
If you've ready Melody, then you know I'm talking about an event that forms part of the backstory for Melody and takes place on the oceanic world of Aquanus. My favourite part of Melody and the Pier to Forever was Book 5, which was the closest we got to seeing the actual invasion from a firsthand perspective.
One of my pet peeves with fantasy novels has always been books where the heroes are going up against unspeakable evil ... only you never actually see that evil. It is faceless, nebulous, and ultimately feels more like a set prop than an actual obstacle--much less something truly terrifying and vile. This is almost ubiquitous.
But I don't read fantasy for escapism (well, not purely for escapism). I enjoy the reflections of real life, and I like to be inspired by stories about people who overcome real adversity.
Like part 5 of Melody - and even more than part 5 - this book puts a face on the evil that has taken hold of Aquanus.
If you've read Melody and want to see WHY it is so important for our heroes to succeed in the next book--this gives you a firsthand look at the invasion and the devastation that evil has caused. It is a harsh, stark impression, sparing no details, however unsettling, and it won't appeal to those with weak dispositions. But if you like to see life in ALL of its facets--beautiful and devastating, you will appreciate the candid nature of this book. It also introduces you to some wonderful characters--Kaza, Aubrey, Tray, and their wonderful conscious ship, the Arilyceum. And to my understanding we'll see all of them again later in series.
If you HAVEN'T read Melody, I strongly suggest reading that first, but you could still read this and enjoy it. While you won't understand the background of the conflict, you won't have to--Kaza didn't either, which didn't make his journey of survival and vengeance any less compelling. You will probably be confused as to the nature of a Dreamcatcher, and may find some other details of the world puzzling. There is a helpful glossary. Those gaps will be filled in fully if you read Melody.
My favourite thing about this book is probably the fact that it fills something which to me, is a major gap in genre writing. A lot of academics and critics struggle to take genre writing seriously, and part of the reason for that is that a lot of genre writing fails to make a serious comment on the human condition. This book makes a very serious statement, and does so by showing, not telling. The events in these pages hearken to many familiar and terrible atrocities in the 20th century. Events which should never, ever be forgotten or brushed aside.
If you want to read fantasy which celebrates the power of the human spirit to overcome great adversity, then you'll enjoy Kaza, and Melody.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)