Prometheus Stumbles (Dreamworld Book 1) by Ed Gosney (Amazon, Goodreads)
Time to crack the knuckles and dig into the pantry for this week’s Starving Review! For this week’s literary treat, we have a recipe mixed with fantasy, spiritualism, a slightly dystopian future, and blue plastic turtles. Mmm, more cooking from the fusion genre kitchen! Of course, we still need to peel away some layers of this pie to see if the filling is as good as it looks from the outside.
Before we start cutting, let us recite the Starving Review creed:
- I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre
- I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible.
Genre fusion is quite the craze these days and for good reason! It lets the chef rise above the limitations of any one genre to strive for that unique recipe, that tantalizing new treat to captivate their readers. In that regard, Stumbles doesn’t stumble. Mr. Gosney does an excellent job weaving in threads from the ever-popular dystopian future with an interesting dose of pure science fiction, otherworldly spirituality, and a healthy dollop of drama.
In its core components, Stumbles over-all is crafted well, though it isn’t quite perfect. Overall, the plot is well laid out and overall keep a solid pace. The characterization for most of the characters is also equally solid, though a few of them seem a bit bare-bones at times. Not enough to ruin the dish, but there are some that I would desire to get a better taste of. Maybe in further volumes!
Speaking of further volumes, that’s perhaps the biggest flaw I can find in an otherwise finely baked piece of cake like this. Though the twist at the end to continue the series isn’t completely fabricated, with some very early foreshadowing as to it, the book’s end tastes, to me, as if the cook switched ingredients at the end. Instead of finishing the story there, it felt like a sudden switch was added to set-up the next volume of the series. I simply felt as if there should have just been an extra chapter or two to better close the plot threads and simply end the tale there. Still, once again, this perceived flaw in my tastebuds doesn’t spoil the dish and I could be proven wrong in the next book!
Oh, while we’re talking about biggest, let me take also a moment to talk about the biggest virtue Stumbles has, incredible dramatic build. Though the story starts quickly and gets moving without skipping a beat, Mr. Gosney does a fantastic job at laying out the truths behind the story bit by bit, slowly raising the stakes and ratcheting up the dramatic tension in each scene. I think perhaps that this incredible build may contribute to my feelings above about the flaws. The tension is built so skillfully and so high that it seems like it would be a hard act to follow.
So, end of the day, Prometheus Stumbles is a well-baked pie of fusion goodness, combining dystopian futures with psionic sci-fi and a big dose of spirituality to form a dynamite whole! It has its stumbles and quirks, but overall it’s a great treat! Certainly take time to try it out!
FINAL VERDICT: **** (Well-baked dystopian sci-fi spiritual pie with just a few little foibles!)