Another blog tour book offering and one which I am very pleased I took.
Linden Forster’s debut, ‘Divine Invention’, came out in 2017 and appears to be (as Fantasy books often are) part of a series, ‘The Hero’s Arc’.
In it, we meet the put-upon Aereon, dogsbody to the royal couple of the Kingdom of Krank, and barely keeping himself alive from their respective stupidity and machinations. But he is not the only unlikely hero in this tale. Too often, writers of comedy make their characters two-dimensional, and this irritates me (there is more hilarity in exploiting personal foibles and prejudices, after all). However, Forster’s characterisation is pretty strong, despite the novel’s comedy leanings, and the book is well paced, helped by solid character arcs to show the emotional / spiritual journeys, as well as the physical ones.
I do have a couple of points to make here, however.
‘Divine Invention’ seems to be attempting to be two things at once and unfortunately fully achieves neither. If you are looking for a comedy Fantasy story (I admit that I started off thinking of Forster’s writing as Pratchett-esque – what a brilliant prologue), then you will be disappointed at the lack of laughs all the way through. If you are wanting some serious / earnest literary Fantasy, you will also be disappointed, as the novel is too lighthearted to be considered such. Satire is always best delivered in comedy form, though, and Forster does this very well; the Krank allegory for Earth, with its diminishing resources and sometimes backwards views, works simply, yet effectively.
My second point is that, in my usual way (and I’m sorry to bang on about this!), I do get distracted by typos and grammatical / punctuation errors. Reading this on my e-reader, the novel was listed as ‘print1’ (not as an advance copy, though it may have been a ‘proof’) and Forster’s use of punctuation is as outlandish as the Kingdom of Krank. I am sure these things will have been picked up pre-publishing but it is worth pointing out.
Having said all that, ‘Divine Invention’ is enjoyable, at times beautifully (even poetically) written, and basically a good, fun, hero’s quest romp.
I very much look forward to seeing where it goes in the second book.
“If you’re here to rescue me, could you be quick about it, I don’t know when the git who hit me will be back. If you’re the git, I am prepared to cooperate.”
Most stories begin with either an unforeseen turn of events or a problem.
Krank has a problem. For centuries, the people of the island have lived on the animals and plants to be found there. It was bliss and so the population grew. It was not until very recently anyone noticed that the quantity of plants and animals had not. The delicate balance of the ecosystem has tipped and food is dwindling.
The King assigned the island’s two resident self-proclaimed geniuses, the Creators, to find a solution. The fruits of their labour ripen into the invention of the world’s first aquatic transportation device and promises to provide passage from the island to search further afield for food and resources.
So, there it is. Problem solved. End of story. Barring any unforeseen turn of events…
I do not get paid for blog tours and received this book in exchange for an honest review.