The title of The Prince and the Singularity: A Circular Tale is very apt. The story has many circles, which for the most part I found fascinating.
It’s...moreThe title of The Prince and the Singularity: A Circular Tale is very apt. The story has many circles, which for the most part I found fascinating.
It’s another great example of the experimenting you can do with self-publishing, and I really enjoyed how the author Pedro Barrento was upfront in the beginning of the book about what the story is:
“It’s prose, but it reads like poetry.
It has elements of the fantastical including a prince and a damsel in distress, but it doesn’t belong to the fantasy genre.
It’s a fairy tale, but it is not meant for children.
It has no sex, no violence and no foul language, but it is definitely not boring.
It is circular, but not round.[…]”
There are certainly lyrical elements in this book, such as in the beginning of Chapter 1, which actually gets repeated a few times throughout the story (“In the beginning, there was nothing…”).
At first, I thought this was going to be a retelling of the New Testament, with a twist. There are gods, but we are introduced to one man, known as the Prince, who has taken it upon himself to save humanity. We follow him through his journey, where we see him fail with several disciples, including Mary Magdalene.
But then it gets more interesting.
We find out that the world is just a part of a game. And the game consists of multiple layers of players, and each level is unaware of the players in the level above them. Everything happens over and over again in a cycle, and it is up to the players in the lower level to break their cycles and move up in the game.
I was a little thrown off when the Prince walked away from Mary Magdalene and suddenly ended up in the future where people are driving cars.
But I did like that everything was connected somehow, and that it was easy to see the same actions play out over and over again. History repeats itself, over and over and over, until finally someone learns from it and is able to start a new cycle. The last chapter is called “Final Musings” and it offers a lot of different ideas about the meaning of life and where we stand in the universe.
I found the whole concept fascinating, and I think Barrento did an excellent job combining so many complicated ideas into one circular story.
The way this book was written is also interesting. In the credits, Barrento thanks “everybody on the authonomy.com and youwriteon.com sites who made suggestions on how I could improve the book.” I’ve heard about a lot of indie authors who use beta readers and have been experimenting with agile publishing—basically incorporating feedback as they write—and it seems that in the self-publishing sphere at least, collaborating more with readers online is becoming more the norm.
I think The Prince and the Singularity is a success story, both in terms of teamwork and being a really entertaining, captivating read.(less)
I loved Two. Having read all of Ron Glick’s fantasy novels in his multiple series, I can safely say that his writing and complex story telling abiliti...moreI loved Two. Having read all of Ron Glick’s fantasy novels in his multiple series, I can safely say that his writing and complex story telling abilities keep getting better and stronger. And they already started off strong.
Two is (obviously) the second book in Glick’s The Godslayer Cycle series. While I did enjoy the first book, One, much of the book was spent setting up the story for the whole series. But in Two, the backstories are laid out, the main premise is clear, and Glick had plenty of space to delve deeper into subplots and motivations of other, more minor characters.
Reading Two, I was reminded a little of the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. It probably helps that both are fantasy series, but they are also both incredibly layered stories, and it’s clear Glick has really thought out and planned his Godslayer world of Na’Ril. And to make it easier on his readers, Glick has included a map of Na’Ril, as well as a list of all the characters and locations, and how they are all connected. He even includes a short synopsis of One, in case readers have forgotten some of the important details.
I remember when I read One that I really wanted to see more of the immortal known as The Witness. In Two, The Witness plays a much bigger role, and I was delighted to find out more about his powers, as well as how the immortals (not gods) interact with one another.
There are also a few new characters, and though each has a unique background and motivation, they are all drawn to the same powerful swords created by the old gods. And that makes things interesting, knowing that eventually they will all converge.
Glick does a great job of showing the good and bad sides of his characters. Certain characters, such as Avery, the pretend god, seemed so misguided and verging on evil in the last book, but in Two he grows and becomes much more sympathetic.
As the story continues, it becomes less clear who the “hero” will be. Sure, Nathaniel still plays an important role, but other forces are convinced he is not the avatar meant to take control of all the swords. Beings with more power are helping out other people in their quest to find the swords.
It’s also interesting to learn the limitations of the various gods, even when they claim to be all powerful. And, I think Two had a stronger ending than One. Both ended on cliffhangers, but the last chapter of Two felt a lot more natural.
I’m looking forward to Glick’s next installment of the Godslayer Cycle. He has created an intriguing world and his characters are so vivid and compelling. I know he’s currently hard at work on his other series, so it will probably be a while. To be honest though, I’m such a fan of his work I don’t care which book comes next. But I do want to read more!(less)