Sunday, 16 November 2014

Indie Pick: To Journey in the Year of the Tiger by H. Leighton Dickson

TO JOURNEY IN THE YEAR OF THE TIGER is the first in a Ground-Breaking Original Series by H. Leighton Dickson. This is a powerful, post-apocalyptic story of lions and tigers, wolves and dragons, embracing and blending the cultures of Dynastic China, Ancient India and Feudal Japan. Half feline, half human, this genetically altered world has evolved in the wake of the fall of human civilization. Fans of Tolkien, Game of Thrones, Redwall or Japanese anime will be entertained in these intelligent and beautifully written pages in a blend of science, fantasy and zoological speculation.

Kirin Wynegarde-Grey is a young lion with a big job – Captain of the Guard in a Kingdom that spans from the mountains of western China to the deserts of the Middle East. When an ancient threat awakens in the West and threatens to overthrow the Empire, he must lead a team that includes his enigmatic brother, a lethal swordswoman and three radically different and mysterious specialists through a world where humans are legend and animals walk like men.

This is the journey of six individuals as they travel beyond the edges of the known Empire, into lands uncharted and wild. It is a journey of magic and mystery, science and swords, romance and intrigue. It is a journey of different perspectives and unexpected kharma and love found in surprising places. It is a journey that takes place five thousand years or so in the future, naturally in the Year of the Tiger.

I finished reading To Journey in the Year of the Tiger a couple of weeks ago and found it hard to sit down and write a review. It should be easy, considering how very much I adore this book but then again, that could be what makes it such a challenge to find the right words. Now that I'm half way through the second book, To Walk in the Way of Lions, I have a good idea what to say.

I've never read anything like this. The idea of big cats living in the hierarchy and values of Imperial China caught my attention and the mystery and characters held me to the story. Each powerful character avoids stereotype. From the amazed and energetic Scholar, the dark and seductive Alchemist to the honour-first Captain each was well rounded, developed and managed to surprise me while staying in character.

The descriptions of everything from scenes to garments draws on my knowledge of Imperial China and builds on my own imagery without making me struggle to make things fit in my own mind. I could use words like vivid and stunning because they would be true but the fact that the complex settings are so digestible makes this book so very rich.

I found both books one and two in this series free and made sure I paid for book three before I found it free as well. Didn't feel right to enjoy this book so much without supporting the author with a few dollars. To Journey in the Year of the Tiger is like finding a bag of treasure and knowing you've stumbled upon something fantastic. It is definitely worth purchasing.

To Journey in the Year of the Tiger is seductive and crass, powerful and humble, wicked and pure, humorous and stoic and rich and simple. The power of this book is in the contrasts it presents.

Experience it.

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