This is a brand-new, self-published novel by Richard Gleaves. I've encountered several first-time, self-published novels over the past few months, and I have to say that this is the first one that was any good. Except it isn't just good. It's really good.
It's not perfect--there are a few odd turns of phrase here and there that I think a professional editor would have cleaned up--but it doesn't matter. The style creates an otherworldly atmosphere that is perfectly suited to the subject. As you continue to read you are pulled into this world and find that it is richly detailed and ancient with modern touches that firmly ground the more fantastical aspects. The characters are all highly individual and engrossing, each treated with care as to their motivations, goals, and personality. The book even manages to be genuinely suspenseful and creepy at times.
One of the best aspects of this book, I think, is that it is multi-generational. Too many novels that focus on a young adult protagonist (sixteen in this case) treat older people as if they were a different species and only the shallow, transient interests of the young protagonist are important. In this case, while Jason Crane does exhibit youthful preoccupations, this is shown more as a stage of development, a striving toward adulthood to take on adult concerns without being a faux adult. It also lacks the Lord of the Flies-style situation where the young people are abandoned by their elders to degenerate into savagery. I much prefer this treatment to The Hunger Games and even Harry Potter.
I highly recommend reading Rise Headless and Ride. If I had one criticism to make, it's that I wish this was a stand-alone book instead of the forerunner of a series, because now I have to wait in order to read more. Oh well.
Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.
- ► 2014 (26)
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