Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Book Review - Hollow World

Book - Hollow World
Writer - Michael J. Sullivan 
Published By - Tachyon Publications

First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you netgalley and Tachyon Publications for this opportunity.
A surprise is always the best when it comes from an unknown direction, and this was such. I have read one book by this author previously and loved it but I have come to expect great fantasy novels from him, so when I heard about this one I was a bit skeptical specially for the simple reason of myself being very picky in case of science fiction. Although I read only good stuff about this book on the internet I never expected it to be this good. This is one of the best examples of what you get from a story which is written with love and care at its base, with the truly unique imaginative prowess and also some thought provoking ideology thrown in the mix. Although it is hard to say new things about this book that hasn't already been said but I will give just some of my views expressing why this book deserves all the love it gets.

First thing that is apparent from this novel is the amount of care given to execution of the world-building and each of the characters and even the arrangement of the overall plot. After only a few pages into the book you understand that this is a lovechild of the author, every sequence is so naturally flowing and every character so incredibly life-like it is quite astounding. The simple story of a terminally ill depressed individual time traveling to try to find a cure and finding an unexpected future gets very real and personal for the reader, which in case of any science fiction novel is in itself an achievement. I myself never imagined the author to get this far into such controversial topics as religion, homosexuality, individuality, communication gaps among people etc in such a mature way specially with his overall theme of duality; as he never takes a particular side in the age long debates yet introduces varied viewpoints through his very expressive characters.

And into the characters, it seems to me that all the characters are done with equal amount of love and care, and everyone has their own level of uniqueness to make it work. Everyone talks about Pax, and Pax is really a character that you can not help but love, but to me Ellis Rogers although with many short comings is much more real and much more human. His sense of guilt, depression, feelings of not fitting in and his attempt at redemption is as much the driving force of the story as the conflicts that comes our protagonists' way. Without giving any spoiler I would also like to mention about the antagonist that although he seems a bit maniacal in his views, once again the author does an excellent job at trying to show us why he behaves in the ways he does.

Its hard to find errors with such a nice experience but I did feel the attempt at keeping a few loose ends at the end a bit unnecessary, the readers who loved this book (which is almost everyone that read it as far as I can tell) will definitely want a sequel anyway.

Another nice thing was the authors note recounting his struggles at publishing the book and his pointers for new authors. Hopefully we would see more awesome novels like this one through the same kind of campaigns in the future.

Although the year is just starting for me this novel is definitely one of the best of this year so far and I am more than certain it will be in countless best of lists all over the internet. Very highly recommended for all the readers who loves thought provoking stories, beautifully imagined worlds and most of all who loves strong and life like characters (not limited to science fiction fans only in anyway). One of the best reads of 2014 for me so far.

4.5 out of 5 stars.  

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