Seasons of Fire: The Child of Light and Dark – Joel Stottlemire

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This book was free at the time of purchase. The author requested a review in general, I offered to do one for him. This review is 100% my opinion.

 

Blurb

A blistering first full novel by the Master of Flash fiction. The old Emperor is dying. Can his tale be true? Who is this madman who claims to be King?  Passion and madness rule in the Season of Fire.

 

My Thoughts

This is the story of how Rhavin went from slave boy to Aarica, Emperor of Challadam. It is told as an old man on his death-bed, remembering times before. In this story, you follow Rhavin as he sneaks around as a slave boy, and befriends an Ambassador’s daughter, Lucina. She is forced to move and this triggers the first of many bouts with the “dark soul”. (seems as though it’s a type of bi-polar disorder maybe?) Then he becomes part of a coalition of former slaves that have to run from the government. They run to Ohlee’s Run where they become farmers. Then the leader Parim decides to become a government of his own. Rhavin is very important to Parim and the other Galrim because of his reading skills and memory. And he has many adventures as a Galrim and as an ambassador of Challadam. Those adventures end when Parim dies and Rhavin needs to take his place for the sake of Challadam. This man finds happiness, but not. Throughout this book, he will occasionally take times of darkness where he wanders off and dreams of a serpent and before you know it, months pass. At other times, he’s too high and happy. He finds a “cure” by accident during one of his adventures and it serves him well throughout the remainder of his life. He also suffers great loss in this life. Again, these are the memories of an old man. But the account given in the story, is supposed to counter to what his historians know. So is he just mad and imagining things? Who knows. No one else who would remember is alive any longer. And the end of the book there are several chapters based on the history of Aarica and the calendar and an Urvu legend.

Mr. Stottlemire’s writing style is in the first person. And though there are a few grammatical errors and a few formatting errors (the biggest of which is the lack of paragraph breaks, which was brought to his attention.) didn’t really break the flow of the story too much overall. Honestly, the only thing that caused me problems was the lack of paragraphs. But once I found out it was a formatting issue and wasn’t intentional it really helped me not try to find the cadence in the written words. (think Shakespeare’s plays) I’m not too certain how I feel about the book overall. I didn’t develop any emotional attachments to anyone, including Rhavin, but it didn’t read like a history text-book either. To be truthful, it read like someone telling their memories, which is exactly what the author was shooting for. I will say that what happened to Galak and Galnea bugged me. But I think that’s the hopeless romantic in me that wants everything to end with a perfect ending with a perfect little bow on it. Overall, I would suggest this to a few of my friends. I don’t think everyone would appreciate the story because it’s character driven but not emotionally driven. But I am glad to have read this book.

 

About the Author

Like many great storytellers, Stottlemire made his break in the short fiction market. After a run of more than twenty short science fiction and horror sales and a several years writing articles, Stottlemire turned his attention to longer works, producing the novella “Summer of the Masters” and the novel “Season’s of Fire” within a year of each other.

Stottlemire is most noted for the surprising range of his voice. While clearly a master of general fiction, he shows no difficulty switching to character driven novels (Seasons) or highly symbolic allegorical work (Summer.) He is equally versed in poetry which he publishes occasionally in limited release.

A true polymath, Stottlemire has also found success as an artist, creating ethereal, half guessed landscapes that he describes as locations found “at the edge of the dream.” He is also owner of The Dryden Experiment, an independent publishing house whose catalog includes both fiction and graphic novels.

A long time resident of Kansas, Stottlemire lives at the Eastern edge of the Flint Hills, a space he describes as, “As unbounded as the horizon as close as the wind across your ear.”

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