Setting the Mood...
Peter Buraku rushed up the double flight of sandy colored steps, just a minute shy of being late to his job at Chuo Soap, when he caught the ugly green scent of a corpse on the wind. He kept going. He hadn’t been late to a job in eight years. Not since his arrest.
If he lost his job, he’d be begging in Taito-ku in two weeks and starving in a month.
The smell caught him off guard. It doubled up his stomach in an ugly way. He felt and there— gomen, gomen nasai!— he pushed through like an oshiya on the subway. The scent, sticky on the wind, caught in his nostrils more firmly. Nothing smelled quite like that. A deer left to rot in the woods for a good while might smell nearly that way, but not quite. And he heard the sounds, the wet sounds of muscle and bone moving, like someone tearing pot roast apart with two big forks. Vomit caught in his throat and he looked up the stairs toward the sound. It was his father. Eyes like dry stones set deep back in the sockets, nose missing, lips missing, teeth showing through in rictus. Across the forehead, a long green gash showed through to the brains. The body stood near the side of the swinging glass doors Peter had meant to go through. Stood looking down at him, mouthing something liplessly. Pointed a grisly, rot-blackened rot-blackened finger at him.
Peter crashed into a woman and convulsively vomited on the steps. Eggs, milk, and the wet sloppiness of banana slices soaked in stomach acid churned out. Half seemed to come out through his nose. He stumbled over the slick step, caught the cold iron rail, and threw up some more onto the grass. He heaved until he was empty and spat on top of it.
The old man still stood by the doors, waiting. Time had done a number on him, but nothing could erase the quietly sad, patient expression in his eyes. The faces of the men and women hurrying into the soap factory showed no sign of surprise or terror. No one else could see the corpse of his father. It was a vision for Peter alone...
If anything, his father deserved a look in the eyes. Peter knew he’d want that look. He remembered how lonely his father could be. How it seemed like, aside from his son, he hadn’t had a friend anywhere.
Peter passed without giving his father the look. "I can’t do anything for you. You need to leave me alone now. You don’t know how much I need this job." His father reached for him, and Peter stepped away and walked through the glass doors.
|But as the grave had slowly filled,|
an idea already grew in the back of his mind.
He heard the sound of black wings
fluttering across the yard.
The sound of something pounding at the glass.
By Charles LaFave
Peter Baraku, a man with a destiny, although he never knew about it. Peter from an early age was fascinated with life--with making it. And, as a wizard, he was able to do so. Until he tried it on a human... As a result, Peter, as a wizard, had two hearts which were bound together by authorities which prevented his being able to use his magic...
It had been eight years and he was working in a soap factory, trying to make enough to keep his mother and him alive...Fortunately, one of the golems he had made long ago had remained and she took care of his mother, thankfully, because he'd never have been able to pay somebody to take care of her.
I suppose this doesn't sound too weird yet...but it's going to get there quickly! If you love dark fantasy, I guarantee that this book is one of the most original you will read and that it will be "almost" totally satisfying. I say that only because the ending was not one I would have preferred, but it left me wondering if there was going to be a sequel...we'll see. This book totally stands on its own so you will be mesmerized by the original creativity and the ingenuity it obviously took to write this epic story! This is this author's debut and I was amazed at the quality and the diversity of the material, yet within a cogent underlying continuum that keeps readers moving forward into the climatic action at the end.
This is a time when humans and wizards have adjusted to living together and with wizard help, humans certainly have the opportunity to live much longer since the wizards create healing spells that are stocked and maintained for use on humans... Wow!
But we all know peace doesn't live long and, when some things started happening around the world, like the lost sounds of insects--in fact they just weren't around to bother us anymore--or, more importantly, to help us! So where were they and why had they left?
Unfortunately, later they would find out where...and why...
And then Peter got an offer he couldn't refuse. The father of an old girlfriend of his, who he stilled love, came and offered to get his wizard skills returned...and once done, he'd pay much to have Peter find his daughter and get her home...
And now the real horror of the book begins...Peter and Ishmael, a mega-rich corporate owner, set off. And I'll save you by not sharing what happened to Peter next, other than to say that he was a one-eyed wizard when it was done...
On to Julie...who was now a member of the Praesidium, the group that had taken Peter's wizard skills away!
It's good they can't see me. The Praesidium uniform inspired as much fear as it did awe. She could see it in their faces when they looked at her. Uizado, they’d say under their breath as she passed. They’d be wrong, of course. Julie Alvarez wasn’t a wizard. Just a well-trained human.
Neither the uniform nor the car technically belonged to her. Her employer issued those. The only things that belonged to her were her underwear and the rapier.
The latter was a gift from her grandfather when she graduated the fencing academy at eighteen. She had it with her when she took the silver medal at Oslo and later at her grandfather's funeral. Her fingers traced the worn handle absentmindedly, making their way to the brass cage that made up the guard and down to the leather of the pommel.
You’re pensive this morning, little one. You want to talk?
"No, Espiga. Not today. I’m just thinking, that’s all." It had been quite a shock, on her eighteenth birthday, when she’d held Espiga, her rapier, and first heard the deep, rasping voice in her mind. Julie had exchanged a knowing look with her grandfather, who then told her the story of the haunted blade. The voice had become so normal she felt lost without it. Julie carried Espiga everywhere.
So our main male character is now a Wizard. Our female main character, a highly trained human with a magical telepathic sword...Then we also have a brother-sister who we meet concurrently--the sister a hardened warrior and the brother, a wizard whose life is surrounded in music, evening using his guitar (and strings) to defend himself. These four are later brought together to fight...Greeth...and her minions (who have been visiting here today...).
Some scenes are, just, gross! Others will make you gag, but, by that time you will be so engrossed in the story and the desire to find Greeth, that you'll be hooked on the book just as I was! My honest opinion...somebody in the business of fantasy movies should be sent this book...it's made for animation applications for so many of the scenes that you can actually visualize them in your mind. I would love to see that movie, setting a new standard, I believe, for dark fantasy. Wow! Don't miss this one! It's unbelievably unpredictable, and totally memorable, even the ending which I was sad about...
Growing up, Charles LaFave spent more time with books than with people. One might argue that this is a terrible way to raise a child. Of course it is. Definitely socialize your child if you have one. On the other hand, it undeniably fostered an incredible love for books that continues to this day. Before his writing career took off, he worked as a body removal specialist for a funeral home, a network engineer, a construction worker, blogger, and a paperboy. Not necessarily in that order.