I received At The Sharp End of Lightning (Oceanlight #1) by N.R. Bates as a review copy from Laura Fabiani iRead Book Tours and would like to thank them for the same. It is a fantasy involving four parallel worlds, Oceanlight (the Sea Sprite world), Forestlight (the Forest Sprite world), Daimanland (the Daiman world), and the Humana world, which are intertwined. There is a Thinness where the worlds meet and one can pass through.
The Blurb (as provided in the Media Kit):
AT THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING. The interwoven fantastical tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. In Oceanlight, Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, searches for her lover over immense seas only to find catastrophe and realization that her world is in turmoil.
Meanwhile in the safe suburban normality of North Wales, Einion Morgan Alban, a restless youth afflicted by a disease of the blood, is nearly murdered by a man in a white suit. Yalara and Einion must discover the causes of their near-deaths and their as yet unrevealed connections as they both face upheaval to their lives and their worlds.
Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, whose surname is the name of her sea tribe, or tribamare, the Narika, specifically belonging to the Sea Sprites, as her mother died without naming her, is searching for her family aboard her pestrel, Varaku. Along with her is her friend, Rasania, who is aboard her pestrel, Sanaka. Their petrels land upon Seryasu, floating mats of seaweed. They have been given this assignment by the leader, cha-Narik because they are the best riders, their pestrels can fly the farthest and they are the most experienced team. Yalara attracts lightning and is struck by one and sees many things.
Then the story moves to Forestlight where, Helia, an exiled Forest Sprite is sent to daiman world to locate thinness by her twin Xylenia. Here she is chased by a Mechanicum and her sister Centaurea sacrifices herself to save Helia.
Einion Morgan Alban lives in North Wales in the Humana world with his mother and stepfather and suffers from hemophilia. One day, when he is sleeping in the park, he dreams that he has been given a gift of crystals and a metal disk and told that when the time is right, he will know what to do with it. And then, suddenly, a man in a white suit almost kills him, but he is saved by an old man and his dog. He suffers haemorrhages and is recovering in the hospital when he comes to know that his saviours have been killed.
Yalara finds a Seanest, a Sprite village that is only half when she and Rasania get blinded by fog. Helia becomes Einion’s guardian and protects him from Fimafeng, the third world daiman; a treacherous Kaembian who is a mix of sprite and daiman and can assume a human form. In the garden, Einion feels thinness and calls it an Interface.
Do the worlds meet? What happens then? Read on……………….
The plot is unique. Initially, the stories are separate from each other and later they come together and the characters move to other worlds. The author has described the worlds beautifully, I could actually picturise them. The author has developed the characters painstakingly. A lot of research seems to have gone into the book.
The names of the characters are very different and I am sure, so would the pronunciation be because of the italics involved.
There is a map and a code at the beginning of the story, called The Interfaces, which is initially not understandable but later becomes important. There are glossaries- human and Sprite at the end of the book. This book has an afterword also.
The author has dealt with climate change in the story. He has detailed a lot of Welsh history.
What I felt could have been done is maybe shrinking the story up a bit and tying up the loose ends. Though this is the first book in the series, with four more to come, the loose ends left me with a feeling of lacking.
My suggestion is that when you read the book, disconnect yourself from the real world.
NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors.
He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK.
His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.
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