Saturday, September 18, 2010

Crystal Rain Book Review

Title: Crystal Rain
Author: Tobias S. Buckell
Publisher: Tor
Pages: 358
ISBN: 9780765350909

Crystal Rain is the 2006 debut novel from Caribbean born author Tobias S. Buckell.

On a world not so unlike our own, strange winds begin to blow: the loathsome Azteca have stormed the Wicked High Mountains, and begun a march across Nanagada, sacrificing man, woman and child to their cruel, bloodthirsty gods as they go. Their intended target: Capitol City.

After having washed ashore 27 years earlier, John deBrun remembers nothing of his past, but as the winds of war begin to steadily blow, he's forced to remember just who he really is. deBrun -- a self made fisherman -- finds himself caught up in a fight that he doesn't really want to be a part of, until his town is invaded and sacked, and his wife and son have disappeared. Left with nothing, deBrun is forced to do the one thing he thought he'd never be forced to do again: fight. Saved by a man named Oaxyctl, the two travel as forerunners to Capitol City, where there they sound the warning against the invading Azteca.

But as the annual Carnival begins, a mystical figure arrives, questioning locals as to the where-abouts of John deBrun. The man known as Pepper has his own secret agenda, and as the story unravels, not only is the vail of Pepper's history lifted, but also deBrun's, as the two are forced to work together to save Capitol City. With only an ancient map to go by, and a name: Ma Wi Jung, deBrun leads a crew of men to the north, where they hope to find something that can save Capitol City from falling to the approaching Azteca attack.

Crystal Rain is something of a wet dream for both science fiction and fantasy lovers alike. The way Buckell deftly intertwines and blends the two genres together is breathtaking. Add in a heaping dose of the Caribbean, with a pinch of of seige warfare, and you've got the perfect main course.

Buckell does a fine job with keeping each chapter as short as possible, without sacrificing quaility. In most places it reads like a thriller should, and keeps info dumps to a minimum, instead placing small bits of information into strategic points of the story that do nothing but good for it. With well thought out characters and an ending that blew me away, I'm looking forward to spending more time in this unique universe that Buckell has done a superb job with introducing in Crystal Rain. That's why I'm giving it 8.5 out of 10 TARDIS's.

If you've got the spare pocket change and are looking for a good read that does a superb job of blending two major genres of the literature world together, then give Crystal Rain a chance. I promise you'll like it.


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