The first impression of “Superi: Reborn” is that it is incredibly well-written, by a very skilled author (or two, in this case). Even before the book has opened, the attention to detail is made clear, as is the passion the authors have for the world they have created, by the detailed map and character index provided – elements which are often hallmarks of the fantasy genre.
There is an immediate air of oppression in this book, and it is clear straight away that the world of Superi is one of danger and intrigue. Immediately the reader is gripped by its disturbing events: a baby being cross-bred by an insane megalomaniac scientist. Thurmon and Williams have created a spectacular planet, with a backstory as old as time, and an ensemble of interesting characters, all vivid, yet multi-layered and multi-dimensional, which is something I love to see – there is no place for stereotype in grown-up fiction, which, in spite of its genre, this very much is (this said, the moody teenager antics at times do wear a little thin, but then isn’t that also true in real life?).
This is a good old-fashioned, Olde-Worlde fantasy, combined with elements of the teenage superhero genre – think part “Lord of the Rings”, part “X-Men”, then throw in a touch of “Cloud Atlas” for the sci-fi aspect. Like most old-style fantasy, it glories in its ultra-violence, and is at times brutal – and, of course, this all adds to the fun, which this book very much is. The story is archetypal: an action-packed tale of a band of brothers, led by a battle-hardened warrior to rescue his daughter – a quest which leads them right into the path of a powerful, maniacal arch-villain and mortal enemy. The ingredients are all there for an exciting portion of high-level treachery, swashbuckling scoundrels, super-powered mutants and fantastical sea monsters; in its backstory, a subtext of angeli and gods. Set on a planet inhabited by four diverse species of monopod, all sharing a common tongue, though some feral, the scene is set for great entertainment - and I have to say, Thurmon and Williams deliver. The authors appear to know their genre well, and look to have a real knack for delivering creative literature, in language familiar to fantasy fans – some of the turns of phrase turn up the corners of your mouth, as you nod slowly in approval while reading them. The action sequences are satisfyingly rousing, without overpowering the heartfelt story of family and secrets – in this, and every other respect, the book’s timing is flawless, its flow crafted for perfection.
This said, it does slow down a touch through the middle, most of which takes place on board a ship; but, in general, this section of the story is probably the backbone of the whole book – here is where the standard fantasy story becomes a soul-searching adventure for the characters who represent the leads; the ship’s voyage, therefore, becomes a metaphor for the journey of self-discovery of these coming-of-age youths, each of whom is struggling with the burden of his “difference” from society. The emotional atmosphere which rounds up this part of the book is actually at times very poignant and moving. By the end, you feel as if you know each and every character intimately (probably even better than they know themselves).
Very little is held back in the writing – not the violence nor the brutality of the oppression; the reader endures every moment of the characters’ suffering, and this is definite testimony to the authors’ passion for them. Clint and Christina have clearly invested a lot of time and effort in ensuring the book’s quality, and have done so well. If I’m being savagely honest, I’m not such a fan of the fantasy genre, and I did find myself torn between giving “Superi: Reborn” a four- or five-star rating; but the fact is these are incredibly meticulous and hard-working authors, who have hit on a winning formula, and credit must be given for this where it is due.
The cliffhanger ending is as unexpected as it is frustrating, but it certainly serves its purpose – its timing and execution leaves you urging to know what happens next, and, in fairness, this point in the story does feel like a good place to end this chapter in the boys’ life. This abruptness of the ending is softened somewhat by its being immediately followed by a preview of the next instalment in the “Superi” series, though I do wonder if they could have chosen a more enthralling excerpt to draw its appeal. Still, I enjoyed “Reborn” a great deal, and I very much look forward to reading the next instalment.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: clint-thurmon christina-williams fantasy drama otherworld fiction