Friday, 2 September 2016

The Promise of the Child by Tom Toner

Book Title: The Promise of the Child
Author: Tom Toner
Genres: Science Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK

Goodreads Summary: Lycaste is a lovesick recluse living in a forgotten Mediterranean cove who is renowned throughout the distorted people of the Old World for his beauty. Sotiris Gianakos is a 12,000-year-old Cypriote grieving the loss of his sister, a principled man who will change Lycaste's life forever. Their stories, and others, become darkly entwined when Aaron the Longlife—the Usurper, a man who is not quite a man—makes a claim to the Amaranthine throne that threatens to throw the delicate political balance of the known galaxy into ruin.

What did I think? Tom Toner may be the new Steven Erikson of Science Fiction, because he drops the reader straight into an unfamiliar world without any explanation. I'm a fast reader and sometimes tempted to skim more than I should, which works with books set on our world where not every third word is strange and unfamiliar. After reading a third of this novel, almost putting it away for good because I had no idea what was going on, I decided to start from the beginning and take my time.

Whew, what a ride. I've hardly ever been this immersed in another world. Tom Toner presents a world so rich and so fleshed out, I was blown away. It's a creative mix between Science Fiction and Fantasy presenting an innovative future filled with diverse, unique cultures and breathtaking ideas.

Now, let me mention a few negative things, there aren't many, but I think they're important. The first thing that bothered me is that this is the first book in a trilogy and it does not stand on its own. It's more a chess board and now all the pieces are set, ready to attack.
The second thing is the complexity of the book. While I personally do not mind not knowing what's going on for a good portion of a book, I think Toner expects a lot of attention from the reader, introducing many characters and a dozen different species and places. I was actually taking notes in the beginning. It's not a fast read either, the prose is beautiful but dense.
The third thing is a small one: one character in particular I had trouble to emphasize with. Lycaste is the typical 'nice guy' who does not understand that a woman can say no and not change her mind. His mind is very childlike though, so maybe he's supposed to just not be mature enough yet. I'm curious to see where Tom Toner is going with him.

Everything else is fantastic. Toner has definitely created something ambitious and memorable. I can't wait to read the other two books and find out more about this universe.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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