Alexios, Before Dying- Chance Maree

First off, this is a very well written book, and a very good example of the sort of original work that self-publishing has saved from the traditional publishing houses waste-bins. Perhaps in more enlightened times, ones less focused on the bogey of profit before enterprise, Chance would have found a main stream publisher. Fortunately ePublishing allows inventive authors to ignore the traditional paths.
This is a thinker’s read, not a high-brow pretentious one, but definitely cerebral. Amongst my early thoughts was the idea that I was reading a selection of short stories. Particularly the first few chapters can be read as self-contained pieces. By the end of chapter four I realised there was a thread, one that I failed to really see until the very end. I became increasingly aware of a need to concentrate more fully.
I love the diversity of Chance’s characters, or partial characters might be a more accurate description. I think Chance has spent a lot of time people watching. The diversity of characters is only matched by the range of cultures, and philosophical ideas on which Chance draws. We see elements from many mystical, metaphysical and private insights in the building of Alexios.
There are problems. Chance runs the risk of losing some readers, by not having a rigid and clear plot line. We see the direction at the end, but the shallow reader that is me could have done with being better anchored. In other words, the story does ask a lot of the reader. Luckily her prose writing is so good that most are sure to be kept on-board.
I would have liked Chance to have majored on her brilliant story telling more than her philosophical conjuring. She doesn’t need to drop the intellectual content, far from it. Rather she needs to boost the story with even more gratuitous rewards for the reader along the speculative path.
Perhaps the real problem was manufactured by trying to write to concisely, by bowing too much to the modern clarion call to write short. Self-publishing allows a freedom which perhaps was compromised by early attempts to satisfy the short-sighted monster that is modern establishment publishing.
I will be looking out for Chance’s future works.Image


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