Down under in Tencendor
Starman, by Australian author Sara Douglass, is the third book of the Axis trilogy and The Wayfarer Redemption series. This book is no quick read at 752 pages in the paperback version, but not just because it’s lengthy. The Wayfarer Redemption consists of six similarly long novels. I really should stop buying books in series of four or more, because they obviously require commitment and then I read different books in between, losing my sense of what happened in the previous book when I finally return to the next in the series.
That’s not to say, however, that this book wasn’t worth it. I stayed up to three in the morning finishing it because the last two hundred pages or so were ridiculously gripping. I simply loved it, although there were a few things I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at. For one, I was a little disappointed that my beloved Timozel (who had been one of my favorite minor characters) didn’t get the justice I would have liked him to, poor bastard.
Hah, what made me laugh, though, was the name the characters chose for a certain place (yes, I am being vague because I don’t want to spoil anything): Star Finger. Star Finger? Honestly, Sara Douglass, you wrote that scene with a straight face? It sounds like a food. Like chicken fingers or something. Ugh, it was even a little painful to read because, while ridiculously hilarious in itself, the characters treated it like it were a perfectly sane choice. Stars, Axis! Gods! What the hell were you thinking? Were you drunk when that flew out of your mouth—and were the others even more drunk to accept it as if it were the most perfect name?
As demonstrated, Sarah Douglass, while her fiction is excellent, has a strong tolerance for humiliation. One has to be to name her book Starman or even Sinner, the title of her next book in the series which sounds like some romance novel you’d find in a grocery store. And for a work that isn’t a romance and greatly exceeds the cliché, horribly sappy quality of books you usually find there, that’s a low. “Sinner” (by itself, mind you) is also a name reserved for horror hardbacks, something you’d find as a Stephen King or James Patterson book title in big blood-red letters or something. Maybe I just have some weird notions (I won’t deny it), but I made a vow to myself long ago that if I publish my first novel and find it on grocery store racks, I will seriously question my ability to write. Of course, I don’t plan on writing cheesy romance novels, either, with annoyingly big one-word titles.
Anyway, moving on. I’ve probably seen the words “Axis trilogy” a dozen times and yet when I got to the end of the novel and saw the word “Epilogue,” I was somewhat confused. I guess it didn’t register that the first three novels were a trilogy but there were, like, six books, because I expected Axis’s story to continue in some manner for three more books. I mean, I guess I thought after Gorgrael the Dark Man would be the big cheese for Axis to shred (yeah, lame pun intended)—that is, until I figured out who the Dark Man was, although the mystery of whether the Dark Man is good or evil is still somewhat fuzzy. Apparently the next three books deal with the next generation of SunSoars: Axis’s kids. After I finished the book I hoped that would be what Douglass would do, and alas, I checked the summary on the back of the fourth book and my suspicion was confirmed when I saw Caelum described as the main character.
On another note, after reading it and seeing how things ended, I think Faraday is, in a lot of ways, the strongest and the most heroic when compared to Axis and Azhure. She’s been through shit, and her life only got crappier after that; by the end of the trilogy, her reward was the sweetest of all. Go fucking Faraday!
At any rate, Sara Douglass writes some damn good fantasy, and I can’t wait to start reading the next in the series, Sinner, which has some of the coolest cover art ever that no online picture I’ve found can accurately express—with great color coordination of the title (in glossy crimson lettering—crimson lettering done right) and the art, I might add, that just makes me drool.
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Tags: australian fiction, fantasy, sara douglass, starman