Book Review: A Paleolithic Fable
Author: S Shane Thomas
Genre: Science Fiction
I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC).
I was expecting an action-packed adventure with some fun characters. That’s what I got with a whole lot more. Once introduced to all seven main characters and the setting, I could not stop reading this book.
A Paleolithic Fable has a believable interaction of ancient peoples, a rich cast of engaging characters, and draws equally on ancient myths and science to weave an adventurous satisfying tale.
The Whole story:
I was already a little familiar with some of the characters from a chapter or two I’d read in our crit-group. I was interested to see what S Shane Thomas was doing with the rest of the story. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised to find the beginning of the book reminding me of one of my favourite movies, 10,000 BC.
Each main characters points of view and motivations are explored. Action scenes are fast-paced and engaging, while the plot, familiar in certain respects, has a few twists up its sleeve. Female characters are strong and well-drawn, as are young characters.
The villains are truly villainous, while their minions are surprising in their humanity.
What I loved:
S Shane Thomas has taken an epic and reduced it to its essence, without losing any of the story, for this time-poor reader.
I loved the philosophical and spiritual questions debated and explored by the characters. What makes a human different from other animals and creatures? Can different species be the same at heart spiritually, and what would draw them together?
I also loved that the characters which needed it the most found redemption, and that the most unlikely heroes still win through.
But what I loved the most was how familiar mythical beings and their origins were briefly touched upon, and that it was done in a fun manner, which I didn’t mind at all.
What I thought could be better:
At first, without all the main characters being named, it was a little difficult to keep track of all the characters I should care about. Fortunately, this problem is quickly resolved, and what should have been a weakness is turned into a strength when the characters adjust to their names.
I actually wanted it be longer! While all my questions were answered and all the threads wound up tied up in the end, I would happily have spent another few thousand words with my, by then, favourite characters. I immediately started reading LARC Transmissions, a collection of flash and short fiction set in the same universe, to get a sense of what the paleolithic characters had started.
So what did I learn from this whole experience?
I learned that there’s a whole lot more to paleontology than I remembered. I also learned that elephants dig holes in deserts, and other interesting facts which I felt I should have known.
I learned that I like epics which stick to the story and don’t digress over vast chapters into needless details.
And I learned that a fellow indie writer can take a huge chance and win through with skill and by being bold. Well done, S Shane Thomas!
I Recommend to: lovers of the movie 10 000 BC and the TV series Stargate, readers looking for a solid adventure, animal and ancient history lovers.
Read my interview with S Shane Thomas here.
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