As far as fantasy goes it is safe to say that the genre revolves around the same old clichés. It is difficult to go beyond the worn out standards of dwarves, elves and dragons. That is why Seven to Eternity is so refreshing. The fact that it is so beautiful doesn’t hurt either.
The main story does not seem complicated; another fantastical world ruled by an evil tyrant, the remnants of opposition during their fading last stand and our main hero thrown in between all of this despite his own will. But the devil lies in the details. The kingdom of Zhal is vast and diverse with all kinds of creatures and monsters and a deep lore. The God of Whispers known as the Mud King among those who oppose him is a fun villain; powerful, proud and cunning, not without a sense of humor. He extends his power over the land through people that accepted his wish granting offers and a campaign of lies and whispers to create clefts between friends and strip others from their credibility. His powers are not clearly explained but it does not hurt the story; power of his whispers reminds me of the ring of power from the Lord of the Rings and its subtle way of manipulation.
The main character, Adam Osidis is torn between the duty of protecting his beloved family and his family’s honor. Adam’s father Zeb, declined Mud King’s offer which led to cursing and casting out him and his relatives. Now God of Whispers has come to hound Zeb’s son and pacify Osidis family. Adam’s struggle to do well by his father and by his family is captivating to watch as the past of the Osidis’ and the kingdom of Zhal is revealed. Father’s mantra;
The rotting of all principles begins with placing a single foot on the road to compromise .
shows what he believed in, but not necessarily if he was right or wrong (somehow it makes me think of Tevye’s monologue with God in Fiddler on the Roof).
Remender practices the kind of storytelling that many people are not specially fond of however I like it a lot. He throws us right in the middle of the story with already existing relationships, grievances and a world with a fair share of its own tragedies. The reader is not led by hand and explained what is going on, on the contrary things are revealed slowly through dialogues and interactions and single pages from Adam’s journal which at first make very little sense as the vocabulary and names of the characters are unknown. However they are worth going back to them later when the bigger picture starts forming.
Speaking of the pictures. They are absolutely beautiful! The pure imagination that went into design of places and creatures is breathtaking. Even without any substantial story this book would be a pure joy to look at. Jerome Opeña sir, kudos to you! May your life be safe from whispers. Coloring here is also worth mentioning as it is makes the art look vibrant and alive. Matt Hollingsworth did a hell of a job!
It is a great start and I am glad I was here to witness it.
P.S. I am not sure what is up with the title. It sounds like a train schedule.
Five out of five whispers.