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Chance's Take on Books

I'm a novelist who loves to read and discuss all things word-bound.

Currently reading

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style
Virginia Tufte
The Chicago Manual of Style
John Grossman, Margaret D. Mahan
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
Steve Earle
Prophets of the Ghost Ants - Clark Thomas Carlton I was strangely compelled to read this novel. The cover, the title, the premise of humans evolving down to the size of insects and learning to use each to their advantage - appeared all very creative and amazing. And it was. I was thoroughly immersed in a world of ants, termites, wasps, locusts, and tiny humans. Very cool. The description of life, clothing, food, and social structure was rich, fascinating and well told. The major conflict was important, and close to my heart - moral reaction against the enslavement of people through a caste system with all the complexities of attempting to free minds and hearts that have been downtrodden and starved. The story addresses the lies and ploys of those in power to stay in power. It doesn't flinch at aggression, cruelty nor fear, neither human nor insect. Truly, the novel has fantastic potential for future adventures.

Now for the elements I felt took some luster off the gem, and these are only my personal tastes. I'm fine with an Alexander The Great -type hero, who at a tender age is able to conquer more experienced leaders and nations - mainly because people get set in their ways and don't listen to new ideas, or youth. My distaste was for the hero's juvenile approach to women, sex, and romantic relationships. Now I might sound like a feminist, but really, I'm speaking from a female point of view when I say I don't admire a mythic hero, on his way to becoming viewed as a prophet when he freely murders from anger, rapes victims (even if he does apologize), and belly laughs after impregnating a queen who is horrified to discover who he is - even if she deserves it. The hero is a mixed bag of honor and vindictiveness, with more than a touch of young male recklessness and rationalization. At times I was annoyed with him. At others, I cheered him on. Nothing wrong with all that, but rape scenes starring the hero was a bit of a downer, as were the shallow and "convenient" thoughts and actions of many of the female characters(not all, just some).

The writing was good, but small things, such as POV changes, sometimes mid-paragraph, would have gotten my wrists whacked. When I learned that this novel was published as a proof of concept for a film and/or graphic novel, everything made more sense. The intended audience was broader than I imagined. Also, I realized that I had visualized everything in a graphic novel sort of way. Interesting. Anyway, I do recommend this story and commend the author for the mighty amount of work put into the writing of it. I expect Anand will mature into a full fledged prophet during the remainder of the trilogy. It is a world in progress.