The Defiant Spark, by Annie Percik: #BookReview.

346 Pages
Dark Fantasy Horror/Low Fantasy

This work of intelligent imagination takes us on a journey with well-rounded characters into a world of mixed fantasy and science fiction. We’re not told when the story takes place, but that’s not an essential detail: we know we’re in the future, on a probable Earth, and that’s enough of a setting to make the story both accessible and plausible.

A form of magic in the role of ‘mana’ mixes an imagined energy source with some future scientific and technical advances that allow it to be manipulated by the elite in many fantastic ways. There is an underlying theme of inequality here, a suggestion of injustice and some analogy with the failures of capitalism.

But the story is essentially an adventure laced with romance. There is threat, menace, and some terror in the atmosphere. As is generally the case in civilisations, the haves lack any real understanding of the lives of the have-nots and treat them with a certain disdain, never understanding that it is the fault of the elites that keeps the others subjugated. And there is the resentment of those who circumstance forces to live unfulfilled lives at the service of the well-off.

So, this is a moral tale that allows the players to represent social problems while the story draws the reader into the created world, entertaining, while illustrating and commenting on human frailty.

I enjoyed the read, empathised with many of the characters, enjoyed the way the initially part-formed androids grew once they were given a clue to their status. It’s a clever book, but one that is easy to read. The denouement is as satisfying as it is inevitable. Well worth reading.

[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]