Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review: Great Sky Woman

Great Sky Woman By Steven Barnes
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (March 24, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345459024
ISBN-13: 978-0345459022
Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches

Steven Barnes is one of my favorite science fiction authors. His mastery of story telling is phenomenal. Mr. Barnes has the noteworthy skill and the poise to write about a myriad of subject matters and plots, creating in them specific and believable worlds in which readers can throw themselves into. He has done this with his Aubrey Knight series, his Bilalistan Series, as well as with Blood Brothers, Iron Shadow and Charisma, just to name a few. And though I’m late to read, what he has done with Great Sky Woman (first published in 2006), raises the bar once again.

Great Sky Woman is set in the heart of the African continent, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, before recorded history. There, the Ibandi live as hunters and gatherers unaware of the manmade and natural disasters approaching their way.

Great Sky Woman follows the story of two Ibandi members, T’Cori (the nameless one), an abandoned girl who was raised by the chief dream dancer; and Frog Hopping, a boy raised by his uncle to be a hunter and warrior. T’Cori, gifted with superior abilities than the other dream dancers, searches desperately for acceptance from the one who raises her as well as her sister dream dancers. Conversely, Frog, who isn’t the strongest or fastest amongst his age, competes with his brothers to be a man amongst the Ibandi. Their search for their own identity and place amongst the Ibandi ultimately brings them together in life and death struggles that eventually decide the fate of all the Ibandi.

Mr. Barnes builds a world full of African folklore, legend and mysticism in such vivid realistic detail that the reader is sucked in wanting more. The characters are so strong and brilliant that they resonate in the readers mind long after completing the book. The power of this story opens the door for a growing new type of fiction that beckons for more.

I recommend Great Sky Woman as a must read. I can not wait to read the follow on story Shadow Valley.

Malcolm “RAGE” Petteway
Rage Books LLC

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