At long last I’m finally getting around to writing some reviews of books I’ve read over the recent months.
Now, in the interests of full disclosure, due to the fact that I, urm, don’t read so good (I jest, it’s my writing that lets me down), this particular book entered my consciousness via my ear-holes, courtesy of Dyrk Ashton’s audio version of Paternus.
I enjoy a good book when on long drives, and can very quickly determine if I’ll make it all the way to the end. In the case of Paternus, it does start a little slowly, but it builds, and it builds, and it builds. So stick with it!
I normally don’t read contemporary or urban fantasy, and have a pathological aversion to anything that sparkles, or even hints at being a Twilight type affair. Fortunately, Paternus kicks that notion into the long grass, and forges ahead as a thoroughly entertaining mytho-fantastical romp.
From the depth and complexity of the cast, it’s clear that Ashton spent a considerable amount of time researching Paternus (probably the understatement of the age). He has cleverly woven together myths and legends from across the globe into one single tapestry, and so vividly realised. After a bit of a slow start, things really start to come together for this story, and before long, legendary creatures, heroes and gods all make their way into the piece, causing mayhem for our protagonists. In particular, the hospital scene is excellently realised! Throughout the course of the story, there are some excellent reveals of familiar heroes (and villains) of ages past, and I found myself at several times giddy with happiness at their appearance!
There are bits and pieces about this book that would normally put me off, for example, the first person omniscient point of view took a little getting used to. But in audio, it made things easier to transition for my peanut brain courtesy of the excellent performance by Nik Magill. One other aspect that slightly bothered me was that Zeke didn’t quite fill out as much as I’d have liked, instead becoming something of a six-foot Wikipedia page of every mythical being that came to life before the eyes of our protagonist. But these are small concerns, and they are consumed and forgotten by the expanse of the story.
On the whole, I found Paternus to be a triumphant act of imagination, research and adventure, in which Ashton kicks off what promises to be a very innovative series.
For the sheer breadth of imagination, Paternus merits its place as a SPFBO 2016 Finalist. I tip my hat to Ashton on an excellent advertisement of all that is good in the world of Independent Fiction.