The twentieth book I’m reviewing on this blog is The Wounded World, the first of the Sagittan Chronicles science fiction series by Ariele Sieling. To be clear, the work is soft sci-fi rather than hard sci-fi, which means its story relies on entirely fictitious science. Its purpose is to entertain, not to anticipate or warn about the future or consequences of science.
The book’s characters inhabit a highly advanced society which has two important technologies that set it apart from Earth. The first is the Doors (try to set the night on fire!), portals which allow people to cross any distance from a single city block to all the way across the universe. The other technology is planetary construction. These people actually build planets, and Earth was one of their projects. Fans of Douglas Adams’s books will find this idea quite familiar. These two technologies are crucial to the story’s plot. Our hero, a soldier and all-around tough guy named Quin Black, spends the story traveling through dozens of Doors in search of his father, Grise Black, who has nefarious plans involving unauthorized planetary construction. Quin is accompanied by his close friend John, who is a genius mathematician. The mathematics of planet construction and teleportation are never explained, but John spends a lot of time working with numbers that only make sense to him. The book has a fair amount of comedy, much of which centers on this off-kilter friendship between Quin (the muscle) and John (the brain).
The story is for the most part a manhunt, and it’s written quite well. The prose was good, the sentences were both descriptive and concise and I don’t remember seeing typos or formatting errors anywhere. It had an adventure aspect to it as well, which for the most part was done well. As a sci-fi novel, I was pleased with The Wounded World.
That being said, there were some aspects that I thought could have been developed much more. The book was good, but it could have been better. Grise Black, the antagonist, was underdeveloped. I didn’t understand very well how his motives connected with his goals or why his troubled relationship with Quin was the way it was. Besides that, the fact that this story’s setting is a society that actually created and monitors the planet Earth had so much untapped potential. For the first dozen pages of the book, I thought the setting was actually a futuristic Earth. When the setting is revealed, it’s in an offhand joke that John makes rather than in any kind of shocking grand reveal. These people, from a human standpoint, could be considered gods. Yet they have the same social ranks, the occupations, and even the same animals that are found on Earth. Having them more discernably alien, and having them bear some kind of burden over the conduct of Earth, could have been interesting to see. I’m imagining something like Theodore Sturgeon’s short story ‘The Microcosmic God’, or more contemporarily the Rick and Morty episode ‘The Ricks Must Be Crazy’. The Wounded World is the first of a series, so perhaps these themes are explored more in the other books.
The novel was clear of any sexual content or any strong graphic violence, so I’d say it’s appropriate for teens and young adults, though adultier adults may enjoy it as well. I’d recommend it for sci-fi fans and fans of adventure stories. Personally I enjoyed it, though I think it had some untapped potential.
Cameron W. Kobes is an author from Toppenish, WA. His primary genre is fantasy, though he has also written works in surrealism and magic realism fields. In January 2016 Cameron self-published his first full-length book, Tales of Cynings Volume I, which contains four interconnected fantasy novellas inspired by fairy tales. He is currently writing Tales of Cynings Volume II. On his blog kobescwrites93.wordpress.com Cameron reviews other self-published authors, primarily in fantasy and science fiction. He currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
If you are a fan of fantasy, you can look into his book, Tales of Cynings Volume I, in print format or Kindle.