Wracked, by Louis Puster III
I met Louis Puster III at AnachroCon this year. I was intrigued by the covers, and as soon as he started telling me about the story, I knew it was something I had to read. Plus, he seemed really nice, and you know I love supporting fellow authors, especially when they’re nice.
Here’s the text from the back of the book:
Wrack awakes in a shallow, mossy grave with no memory of how he got there or who he is. Shards of his former life return in brief flashes of color, as Wrack traverses a bleak world, where seemingly immortal creatures with godlike power—the Doomed—wage war on each other and the living alike. A power awakens within him, and with it, a dark hunger. Wrack and his unexpected companions—the beautiful warrior Brin and clever Avar—each seek something different: answers, vengeance, stories. Their disparate goals are more entwined than they ever imagined, and the three soon find their fates may be inextricably bound through prophecy.
When the author told me the book was written in first person, it was kind of a turn off. I don’t like first person. There’s nothing wrong with it. I even use it myself in my own writing sometimes. But as a reader, I have never really been a fan. (I have no idea why. Please don’t ask me. The universe might implode.) However, this is one of those books where it really is the best for the story, and I can’t imagine it having been written any other way.
When I read fantasy, I’ve always loved reading from the different characters’ points of view, even the antagonists, and know things the other characters didn’t know. I love watching all the little threads of the story intersect, silently screaming at the characters to figure it out. I couldn’t see how overdone this was, until I realized how refreshing its opposite is. Being inside Wrack’s head, we know what he knows, and only what he knows. At the beginning, that isn’t a whole hell of a lot. And that is what makes the story so great. Not only are we unraveling the mystery of Wrack himself, but we’re piecing together this mystery of the word as a whole. It also makes it much easier to understand as a reader. When the characters talk about something in the world and explain to Wrack, I don’t feel like I’ve been left out of the secret.
The tone of the book is very dark, and times, pretty gruesome. Things have been bad for a while now, and it shows. Unlike a lot of fantasy novels, there is no feeling of great hope permeating the story, as if the hero has arrived to fix the world, and everything is going to be just fine. Because everything is not going to be okay. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make life perfect. Knowing this gives the story this sense of dark realism that makes you cheer on our protagonists even more.
All in all, Wracked is a great story, especially for a first time author. There are some typos in the book, but it’s easy to look past them, (in fact, sometimes I hardly noticed them), because you’re too busy reading to see what happens next. I’m looking forward to starting Desecrated, the next book in the Saga of Ukumog. I will leave you with the following, personal, affirmations of the book.
Murks is my favorite. I am adopting uzk as a legitimate swear word. One day, Avar is going to have his own cooking show.
This is another test post. Don’t mind me.