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Genesis (Pillars of Creation Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B01D5FJ0AW
- Language : English
- File size : 1488 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 406 pages
- Customer Reviews:
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But things go wrong, and a portal is opened, awakening an ancient alien power. Genesis is battled hard, but even as he faces death, he is unexpectedly liberated. A prophecy that his master once told him surfaces, and Genesis begins to wonder. Could it be true?”
Genesis is a sci-fi book with an interesting premise. We ultimately have a stable galaxy, policed by super-soldiers, but with an equilibrium that is about to be blown apart by some dark and ancient power. Sound familiar? But familiarity is not a problem, especially when the author gives that premise an interesting and well thought-out sheen. There is a solid plot and a rich world behind this book, but unfortunately, I found that I had to search for the plot a bit too hard. There is an awful lot of what I would call info-dump here, and perhaps even more introspection (maybe I should have expected this with the sub-title ‘the Battle Within’.) Overall, this cut didn’t work for me, but a slimmed down version certainly would.
This is the first sci-fi book I have read in a long time. But much of this is analogous to a well-trodden fantasy plot line – almost forgotten prophecies; an ancient power that has returned; a downtrodden warrior who will rise from the ashes of his struggles – so in many ways it is familiar territory.
And on all these levels, it is a well considered book. The author has really thought about their futurescape, and there's no escaping the almost fanatic attention to the details of the socio-religious dynasty. The result is a galactic society bent on authoritarian administration and a zero-tolerance stance on non-compliance. Hence their need for religious warriors.
It felt a bit tart as a political equilibrium, but I suspect that this is part of the longer plot – and it was very well considered.
Then we have the sci-fi aspects, which I am less familiar with. I would say that this feels a bit Star Wars in the tech levels. And in fact, the images that were conjured of the marines made me think of Warhammer 40,000. I've never indulged in Warhammer, but this book resonated with classic Warhammer poster images. And it's well done – marrying more mundane aspects of a futurescape with the less familiar technology.
But perhaps the coolest tech aspects are those attached to the Immortals. Their AI (which we POV at one point) and their nano-tech are fabulously conceived, and I don't think it is giving too much away to point out that their Sacred weapons are sheathed within their bodies! Epic.
So – good plot and great attention to detail. A fine start. But there are some aspects that left me colder. I think these can be thrown into two categories:
Info-dump was definitely a problem for me. The author has an exceptional grasp on the universe he's created, and he's desperate to tell us all about it. The problem is that without context, this detail feels a bit textbook – and we all know what we felt about school textbooks! The info has been wrapped somewhat cleverly into Sermons or flashbacks, but it is unmistakably info-dump. And lots of it. Especially in the first half of the book.
Some readers will really like this deep background, but it's just not for me. If anything, I prefer to go a bit too far the other way, with details coming to light only when absolutely relevant (or maybe even later than necessary!)
Somewhat related to this is the perspective point. This is multiple third person POV – which is good. And as mentioned earlier, we also POV the AI which is quite original. Plus we have good dynamic distance too, from objective action right down to italic font direct thought. What jarred was not this in itself, but purely the amount of time we spend on introspection. It's astonishing. If I spent that much time introspecting, then I probably wouldn't hold down a job! And I'm a daydreamer. I understand that some of this is relevant in the context of the religious aspects of the galactic order (and indeed the intended plot) but my personal view is that it was just too much.
And when we combine Info-dump and introspection, we end up with a lot more words than what is necessary to tell the story of what's happened. I got to about 2/3 of the way through the book, and reflected on just how little had happened. And it's not a small book. In fact, I would even go a little further and suggest that the climax of the book felt like it was the point where the action was just getting going – the classic first-part break in a novel. But then the book ended. Sad-face emoji.
Hold the phone! I have since been informed by the author that this is the first part of a single book (think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - the films at least), so the ending actually makes much more sense from that perspective. It's still heavy on the words in my mind, but certainly makes more sense armed with that info.
But let's put these thoughts aside, because I didn't stop reading. No indeed – I was intrigued to find out what happens (even if I felt a little cheated at the end), and am mildly tempted to see what happens in the sequel (or what actually is the rest of the book!) Clearly there is a long and well thought out journey to take in subsequent volumes (this is also the first book in a trilogy), and I don't think readers will be disappointed with the destination. The journey might be a bit boggy in places for my personal taste, but I suspect that it would ultimately be a worthwhile journey nonetheless.
David Tucker has crafted a very interesting "world" in which his characters are delivered to us. I tend to stay away from a lot of dystopian fiction without context (e.g. like post-apocalyptic) because so much thought has to be expended on understanding what the back drop looks like, rather than focusing on the plot. My main knock on Genesis is that it fell into this mold. The amount of back story Mister Tucker explains to the reader got overwhelming at times. Combined with the complexity introduced by the multiple facets of the main character, it caused me to put the book down earlier than I would have wanted on a couple occasions. Still, once you become comfortable with the universe at large, the story reads well, and I found it enjoyable to dig into.
If dystopian sci-fi is your bag, and/or you like richly detailed back story descriptions, then you won't be disappointed with Genesis. For me, the couple things I mention put this at a 3.5 star rating. Since I can't rate it 3.5, and another reviewer had the same, but dropped it to 3, I'm raising mine to 4.
The version I read is the more recent one, which now includes the next book - it is 70 chapters long & surely close to 240,000 words. This gives the book a more satisfying ending though it's a longer read.
There is much to like in this epic tale - the world building is detailed and extensive both in time and space. Genesis, Melina, Rotas even dry, dusty Osiris are great characters. There many, many cool concepts that intrigue - Genesis' 'injected' religious personality and his internal AI Melina, the infusing on nanos within both Wielders and Librarians to give them almost limitless healing, awesome fighting abilities and knowledge. The Apocalypse Armour and sacred weapons. Fight scenes are extensive and brilliantly described. While some plot twists were blindingly obvious by the time of the reveal (the nature of the alien Telnagara Genesis first encounters on the Skink ship) and at times almost too intricate, the story maintains momentum with twists and turns, and Tucker pulls most of the threads together by the end. Many sections of the book were gripping, unputdownable, but alas many others weren't.
Probably three things stopped me from fully enjoying this book.
The first was the pages and pages of either long-winded, information-dense speeches that rambled on and on, often pages long, and the equally pages-long sections of introspection. This, for me, was the biggest weakness of the book.
I also struggled for much of the book to see how the different groups were following religious concepts (except perhaps in the way that a political figure like Mao or Kim Il Jung are 'worshipped' in a personality cult or some sort of 'holy war' concept divorced from other teachings).
But more than this - we learned much more about what SED and Skinks were against (each other or any other alternative view) than what they were for (perhaps SED valued simple friendship and civilians more?). All sides -'good' or 'bad' - were into annihilating their enemies with no quarter given, virtually no room for negotiations or diplomacy. This story is soaked in blood as well as dismembered bodies (told in loving detail) - not least from our heroes like Genesis, Rotas - and Zeal.
Overall, I would have enjoyed Genesis: Pillars of Creation much more with tighter writing, less obsession with massacre, and a better of picture of the good the heroes were fighting for.
I won’t delve into the storyline too much because that has already been done. Genesis- The Battle Within has a clever, entertaining plot with deep, multi-level themes. As a classic sci-fi story with cool battles and technological weaponry, the personal struggles of Genesis (who happens to be immortal) felt relatable and grounded in human perspective rather than cold and mechanical, and the mystery of the portal and darker forces at play provide the “uh, oh” factor.
The internal conflict (and external conflict) of Genesis is mapped out quite well, a little too well. The only reason I point that out is as a reader; I’m not a fan of overly descriptive writing. My editor’s words echo through my head “get on with it.” But that is just my personal preference. Genesis’s extensive internal dialogue messes with the flow sometimes. Too much explanation (info dumps) or ramblings in other directions kill the pace. The flashbacks threw me a bit too. A single book need not be several hundred pages to birth a good story. I’m not singing the praises of a novella format, but that is the genius of writing multiple books in a series.
I think as a fellow writer, I can appreciate the level of creativity and commitment that any author puts into a story, especially when it is their debut novel. The entire process is one of conveying the thoughts, feelings and ideas of our characters, and for some writers, it is a form of personal exploration. The hope is to provide a pleasurable reading experience for the reader, and readers are as variable as writers. Some prefer a lot of explanation and details, and others can take a few words as a cue and let their imagination run wild. I prefer the latter. But my reviews are based on creativity and making the story believable and engaging, NOT on my personal style of writing and how I would have written it.
So, to sum it up… enjoyable and well thought out debut.
The writing is pretty bad though. It's riddled with spelling mistakes, even ones that would've been picked up by Word. It's got pretty severe grammar issues, and it's obvious that the author has a fairly limited understanding of punctuation. There are other issues too, for example there are a few places where a character will be called by the wrong name. Basically this book is not easy to read. The prose does get better as it goes along, but that's not a recommendation. It suggests a lazy author who just wrote it start to finish in one go and didn't bother to do any editing.
The protagonist, Genesis, is a schizophrenic kung-fu religious zealot psychic magic cyborg ninja warrior. I know what you're thinking: is that it? Well no. And listen, Genesis is different from all the other schizophrenic kung-fu religious zealot psychic magic cyborg ninja warriors. Genesis is special! Now, if you read much indie sci-fi/fantasy, then you'll know that there's a group of books that we'll call the "Wanted To Make A Manga But Can't Draw Club". Now I'm not saying that the book belongs in that club, but I will say that Genesis has a katana. And it's literally named Katana.
The setting is a dark, grim space-future where spaceships are very poorly lit (gotta have shadows for those ninjas to sneak around in) and everyone is just waiting for any excuse to drop their future-guns and hit each-other with future-swords.
The overall plot is pretty ok I guess. But let's be honest, everything in this book seems to just be an excuse to get to a place where we can have awesome battles. And I've got to admit, that's the place where this book excels. The fights are exciting, well paced, and actually pretty well written. So credit where credit is due, the fights in this book are actually pretty good.
Overall, skip this book. The one or two moments of excellence are not worth the long slog of clunky, jarring language.