Thursday, May 14, 2009

"The Even" by T.A. Moore

Can you believe it? I am actually going to review a book… That isn’t the zombie anthology, which hasn’t been completely concluded. What boosts this level of red hot stinging shame is that actually “The Even” written by T.A Moore and published by Morrigan Books is what I like to call my soul book.

Have you ever read the greatest novel in the world? Without it being the interstellar bestseller, which changed literature and the concept of storytelling. But because the said novel resonates and synchronizes with you as a unique individual in pretty much the same fashion space pilots in Japan are in full sync with their giant Mecha transformer robots. I am not sure how much this post would be a serious attempt at reviewing or a total gush fest.

In the Even — a city built in the intersection between the real and the not —ruled by the iron whim of the demon Yekum where treachery brewed amidst the ever-changing streets. Ancients dwell in the city who have out-lived their purpose and grown jaded with their immortality. They want only to die and they will take the whole world with them if they have to: suicide by Apocalypse.

Only Faceless Lenith, goddess, cynic and gambler, stands in their way. The fate of the world rests on her shoulders and mankind did not conceive her to be wise.

“The Even” combines the qualities that I desperately seek in novels and in my own writing, which are poetic brevity, haunting beauty, a gothic underworld and a brew of known myths and legends, mutating into a creeping Tim-Burton-esque creation with a life of its own. Needless to say that reading this short novel of 162 pages is an otherworldly experience, which submerges you into a murky fluxing landscape of silent hysteria and grotesque beauty, drenched in wilted aesthetic. The author’s ability draw you into the captivating city of damnation that is the Even, filled with remnants of past, present and future with a mind of their own as well as demons and gods shunned away by fickle human beliefs, is enhanced tenfold through the ethereal and evocative illustrations provided by artist Stephanie Pui Mun Law. As a reader, I have experienced books that use illustrations to try and bring out their spirit so to say, but so far only “The Even” has been successful to lure me in completely both visually and through my imagination.

Unlike other fantasy titles “The Even” creeps, crawls and seeps through scenes, through plots to overthrow the reigning demonic tyrant, treachery, betrayal, double crossing, bribing and of course the apocalypse amongst others. The story is fairly simple and short about a former goddess of the Deathlands, who is coaxed into rescuing a soul from her former domain, but turns out to be a clever plan to end a city, which otherwise won’t ever die off on its own and eternity is enough to kill enthusiasm in exploiting every sin and debauchery imaginable. Lenith is constantly in motion, but what readers might perceive is more of the cold suspense before the monster in a horror movie makes his grant entry rather than the blistering adrenaline rush that is the usual cannon. This quality completes the whole otherworldly feel that you get by cracking the book and after the very first pages you are convinced that this novel is entirely unique.

Lenith is a solid antagonistic protagonist, who knows exactly what all her flaws are, but exploits them anyways, since eternity is too long spent in a hellish city being virtuous. She also knows that her involvement in this rescue mission is no good, but does it anyways, because what is there else to do in a city, where everything has been done before. Lenith is unattached to the citizens and knows the language of deals, bargaining, intimidation and loans, but in a city full of demons and dead gods you couldn’t afford anything else. Sympathetic also is he contrast that despite being goddess she is powerless sort of outside her domain or at least doesn’t show any abilities other than her sly scheming nature and knowledge about how things run in the Even. Aphar, the object of Lenith’s rescue, is the member of the elite and beautiful demon clan that runs the Even and is gifted by royal narcissism and pride in industrial quantities, but through the whole experience of being the tool for the apocalypse and finding that hell is outside his castle the guy becomes likeable and is pretty amusing as a spoiled brat.

Perhaps there are flaws, since all manmade creations are flawed by default, but as a gushing love and compliments fan I couldn’t see through all the awesomeness.

Additional Informartion: There is also another favorable review about the books and can be found at the "Sharp Words" and "Waterstones". [If you have a review up, scribble a comment and I will upload it.]


T.D. Newton said...

Hmm, it's not in my library's catalogue. It might be too new/obscure for them to carry. I will have to look for it elsewhere but, as always, thanks for the recommendation.

Harry Markov: daydream said...

Actually, Morrigan Books are a small press, so you won't fin their titles in the libraries or so I think the system works. Follow the website to see for your own eyes. :)

As usual your comments are appreciated. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you muchly for such a glowing review and very pleased you enjoyed the book!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! *bounces* and thank you for the review!

Harry Markov: daydream said...

The pleasure was all mine. :)

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