Darryl Anka. Shards of a Shattered Mirror, Book 1: Cryptic. VBW Publishing, 2017. See here to buy the book.
This book is a combination of science fiction and fantasy. It is science fiction in that it is set in the future and has space ships, aliens, and sentient computers. It is fantasy in that…well, what exactly is fantasy? The story had some elements that I have encountered in fantasy books, such as a character who is trying to develop paranormal gifts, intriguing creatures, and a spiritual dimension. The book is set in the far future, and the earth has reverted to a more natural set of conditions, as certain groups are close to nature. That sounds like the Shire of Tolkein’s works. Yet, there is all this technology in the background.
I am accustomed to reading Christian fantasy. I have requested review copies in that genre, and, as a result of that, authors have asked me to read and review their Christian fantasy works. This book did not have an evangelical Christian perspective, so, as far as I can recall, there were no God or Jesus equivalents in the book. Yet, the book had elements that I have encountered elsewhere. Grey aliens play a role in this book, and there is the theme that certain aliens or creatures form a basis for some of earth’s stories and legends, such as the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland and Santa Claus. That appeals to the side of me that enjoys watching Ancient Aliens or Star Trek. There is a power hungry antagonist trying to take over the universe. There are tree spirits, or sentient trees, or something like that, which reminded me of the sentient tree in the Disney movie, Pocahontas. The space-time fabric looms large in this book, as the main character is developing the ability to alter space and time, and some fear that this could destroy the fabric of the universe. Remember when Doc Brown in Back to the Future II expressed similar concerns?
There is an intriguing character, Belladonna Bloodroot, who was placed in some no-man’s realm so that she would not cause a rift between the realms of life and death. Of course, she wants to get out of that realm. I do not recall encountering this theme elsewhere in exactly this form, but it sounds somewhat familiar.
It turns out that the author is a channeler. I did not know that when I read this book. It is not explicitly mentioned on the “About the Author” page, though it does refer to Bashar Communications, and Bashar is an entity whom the author apparently channels. Channeling gives me the heebie-jeebies, perhaps because I was raised to believe that it was demon possession. There was nothing in the book that gave me the heebie-jeebies, but perhaps I would notice things that did not stand out to me were I to reread the book.
As far as the story goes, it was all right. I would give the book a four. It had elements that I found to be intriguing. The book is competently written: the prose is simple, but the author is still able to pack a punch and make the characters sympathetic. There is a helpful guide to the characters in the back, which not only shares who the characters are but describes what they are like. The author obviously cares for his characters. While I found the book to be satisfying, I am not exactly dying to read the sequel or to know what happens next.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My review is honest.