The best fantasy novels do not tell stories, they build worlds. Worlds that draw you in, make you believe that the empires and elves inhabiting the pages before you are real. Dragons dwell on top of the highest peaks, avoiding the peoples living in the valleys below. There is real drama, intrigue, racial and religious tension, defined magic. Behind everything, the classic battle between good and evil. There will be twists, and the most interesting heroes possess major flaws which inform their character, but all great fantasy stories share one thing. They force you to stop seeing words on a page and start seeing the worlds in your head.
For anyone who read my last review, “Solve for Fate,” I originally announced the next review will be about The Body Library, by Jeff Noon. That was before I randomly came across The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. A 700-page fantasy tome, this novel drew me in immediately and has not let me go since. I am setting aside The Body Library for now, but I will come back to it after tomorrow’s review!
This is a full spoiler review! Read at your own peril!
Math is the universal language. No matter what corner of the planet you hail from or which language you speak, pi will always be represented by 3.14. The speed of light is always written as 3.00 x 108 m/s, commonly shown as c. E = mc2 is taught in classrooms across the globe, in multiple disciplines. The history of mathematics is the history of the world, of invention. Math is all around us, hidden in our daily lives. Predictive algorithms are used in finance, marketing, healthcare, retail, and just about any other industry one could imagine. Equations are used in nearly every technology today, and more math goes into ensuring your smart phone functions than sent the first astronauts into orbit.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be posting my review of The Last Equation of Isaac Severy, by Nova Jacobs. This is a little unusual for me in that it’s neither science-fiction nor fantasy. There’s some elements of thriller, a touch of romance, a brief murder-mystery, and a lot of family drama. Most of all this, this is literary mathematical fiction.
I am lucky to have seen Nova read portions of the story at Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena last month at a launch event, and am happy to share her first novel with you all.
Check back in the morning for the complete review!