This book broke my mind from the very first page. It was one of those situations where you don’t want to look but you still look?!
Futharkia is a city built upon the layout of an ancient rune shape, and a foundation of slavery. The Broxanians have been enslaved by the Olgoikhorkian Masters to exploit the Broxanian talent for rune-scribing. In exchange, the rune-scribes are compensated with the sweet, golden liquid, Ichor, that the giant worm-like Olgoikhorkians secrete from their glands. The Ichor also happens to be highly addictive and psychoactive. The system has worked for millennia.
However, the Great Fern Jungle that surrounds Futharkia is dying, being bleached white by some unseen force. Coupled with the fact that the simian-like Fern Lice have been hunted to near extinction to provide for Futharkia’s ever-increasing demand for food, Futharkia’s ecosystem is near collapse. It is amid this setting that Cyesko Limariar, an aging rune-scribe makes one last attempt at greatness to lift himself out of poverty, even if by fraudulent means.
While the blurb told me there was going to be some hard to pronounce names, it didn’t mention the things I would visualise as Lars Teeney was feeding me descriptions on the pages of the book. It was all just bloody weird. And I love weird. World needs a whole lot more weird.
Characters: The rune scribes are bird-ish? They have feathers anyway. There are Imps and Fern Lice (who are being hunted and turned into canned food) and then there are the worms. The wobbly, double-chinned, ambitious worms from wormholes. So, the scribes and imps are totally addicted to Ichor which comes out of the worms’ teats but the Ichor only flows freely when the rune scribes provide worms runes full of power. Just… trippy!
Plot: Yeah, there’s a storyline there. The current situation, the revelation of “maybe nothing is quite as it should be in this world” and then the future… I wish I could tell you more, but I can’t form a coherent thought after finishing this book. I don’t know what just bloody happened.
Writing: No complaints by me. It was readable, even though I wanted to stop and hide the book away somewhere under the floorboards of an old shed, but something kept me reading. The weirdness…
I don’t think I fully understand the what could be seen as sheer brilliance of the absurd and fantastical world the author has created. Sure, I like the idea of wormholes, I do… and I can fully appreciate a novel which can blow my mind by breaking down the barriers of reality but I felt like a virgin at a Satanic ritual.
My rating? I’m going to give it a solid 3 stars. The novel had structure. I have no idea if there were any plotholes because darn it if I could understand what was happening half of the time but I just couldn’t “look away”…
*I received a copy of the book directly from the author for an honest review. The Shackled Scribes is will be released on the 20th of September*