Thoughtful Fantasy With Breadth and Punch
As I was reading “The IX” I was reminded of “A Canticle for Leibowitz.” It was more of a shadow correlation because it was about fifteen years ago that I read “Canticle,” but the enduring trait of that novel is its breadth. You get a sense of the passage of time and the enormity of the universe and this sensation also applies to “The IX.”
First of all, the concept of “The IX” is fantastic. The idea of gathering up warriors from different ages and throwing them into a fight for their life is the kind of starting point most sci-fi/fantasy fans will jump at. The only drawback of an idea like this is realizing it in a way that doesn’t appear campy or contrived. If the author rushes to get to the punch, the effect is cheapened. However, Andrew Weston is too skilled an author to fall into this trap. The mechanics of this book are rock solid, and Weston stays true to the established rules.
The first quarter of the book details the backgrounds of the various protagonists who will populate the novel. The reader gets to spend significant amount of time with all of them in their native setting. These moments are not rushed, and the presence of significant back story sets up the suspicion that there is an interconnectedness of fate which causes the actions of their past to impact the future. However, this theme isn’t applied in a “Cloud Atlas” kind of way, it’s just a lurking presence that adds spice to the whole experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It has enough action to keep you entertained and turning the pages on a first reading, and enough subtext to make you want to revisit it again and again. Andrew Weston is a skilled storyteller and his work shows the polish of an experienced craftsman (with minimal search I found many examples of his writing published with “Amazing Stories”).
Check out “The IX,” you won’t be disappointed. Get your copy here!