Book Review: ‘Wyrd Gods: Timelessness Book 1’ by Susana Imaginário

Genre: Myth and legend

Description: the author says this book “combines mythology with science fiction and slipstream fantasy in a strange and introspective way”.

This is the first book in a tetralogy. Susana Imaginário wrote all four as a single 300,000+ word novel, then took pity on readers and cut the result up into more manageable chunks (and added quite a few more chunks in the process). She has cherry-picked two major, ancient pantheons and set them against each other: the Aesir (Norse) and the Olympians (Greek) are now in competition for worlds and worshippers after The Merge.

The Aesir and the Olympians seem to know surprisingly little about other religions. Kali is mentioned, but the rest of the Hindu gods don’t get a look-in. A stray Egyptian goddess turns up, who nobody apparently recognises. Buddhism and the Abrahamic religions do not feature.

There are suggestions that the two featured pantheons need to co-operate to avoid being subsumed by Chronos, the Greco-Roman, primal god of Time. This they find difficult. Gaea, the ancient mother goddess of all life, has got herself into a bit of a pickle with Chronos. She has been playing politics and things have gotten out of hand: the Underworld has gone missing.

The central character is Psyche, a human elevated to become the goddess of the soul. However, she has transgressed against the gods, been cursed, and imprisoned (as a wyrd god) inside the mind of a dryad called Ileanna. (Keeping up with all this does take considerable concentration.)

Author: Susana Imaginário describes herself as “a misfit from Portugal”. She says of her tetralogy, “what started as an exercise to improve my English ended in the realisation of a twenty-year-old dream.”

She moved to England to pursue a career as an aerialist and now runs a Tabletop Gaming retreat in Ireland with her husband. Her hobbies include reading, playing board games, hanging upside down, poking around ancient ruins, talking to trees and being tired. She loves a good story, and claims not to talk much.

Appraisal: This is a complex book. This first volume is just the tip of its iceberg. The action gallops along in short chapters. These are from a variety of different viewpoints: the Wyrd/Psyche/Ileana; Gaea; Chronos; Ideth (another dryad who Chiron the centaur calls ‘unbridled one’ for reasons still unclear to me); Chiron himself; another confined Wyrd God who is actually Odin; Loki, freshly broken out of Hades’ (now missing) realm; Hel (Loki’s daughter); a ‘Dharkan’ (a sexy, icy assassin); Seshat, the Egyptian goddess of writing; Iosh, a k a Judoc, a local lothario cum priest; and Arianh, a human queen. There may be a couple of others I’ve forgotten. It is a LOT of narrators. As the jump into a new narrator at the beginning of the chapter isn’t signposted for the reader, it means a couple of paragraphs of floundering before one establishes whose head we are in now. The author could have been kinder to her readers in this regard.

If you enjoy the sort of complex use of characters, pantheons and world building you encounter in works by eg Tolkien and George RR Martin then, although this first book is pretty baggy, you will like it a lot – providing you can keep who is doing what to whom straight in your head. The beings to whom we are introduced in this first volume are very entertaining. The tone is witty and light. (And the Dharkan is very sexy indeed.)

No huge amount of progress towards whatever the over-arching goal of the four books is has been achieved by the end of this first one. Imaginário asks, in her author’s note, for patience from her readers and promises everything will make sense in the end.

If you like to be warned about this sort of thing, there are some (mainly light-hearted) F-bombs.

*** Review originally prepared for Big Al and Pals review website, received a complimentary soft copy for an honest review ***


Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed. BTW - it says the link to Facebook is broken. I dispute that. Click it and see, why not?

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