Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

ODES BY M.A.BUCKO – my review no.10

on 07/02/2015


Odes is one of the most unusual books I have ever read. An absolutely unique fantasy world with the author’s completely unexpected take on the fantasy genre! Don’t expect the expected! The story starts off in simple language, describing the fantastically envisioned concept of the kingdom of Odes. It is slightly reminiscent of The Little Prince even, as a young boy embarks on the journey to knowledge. You may think it will be one of those books which can be read at any age, because the main action plot seems simple enough to read as a child, yet it is filled with metaphors you will be able to interpret as you grow up and reread it. But never be fooled by beginnings – look further and deeper. As you follow the main character on his truth and knowledge quest, the language becomes intricate, and you find yourself reading conversations filled with philosophy, logic, psychology, sociology, which definitely require dedication and a critical mind. Benjamin learns about life and universe from meetings with sorcerers, genies, ghosts, animals, and these conversations seem like philosophical essays, all thickly woven into the plot and deliciously packed with quotes on life. If you are looking for a common garden-variety action-packed fantasy, this is not your kind of book. If you are an adult fantasy fan who likes to question human existence and the logic of being, you will get a kick out of it. I was fascinated to see the intensity of dedication with which the author develops the conversations and plot. A good teacher could probably use one of those talks to teach a philosophy lesson for hours. It is a challenge to read and very thought provoking; the author treats you the same way he treats his main character. He will provide you with advice and universal wisdom, but also let you know you will only be able to understand it once you yourself are ready. The illustrations of the settings and characters are beautiful, a combination of traditional fairytale pictures and a modern comic-book approach, yet they also serve another purpose; apart from helping you visualize, they are just different enough to make you wonder and look beyond them. Odes may not be to anyone’s taste, but you have to respect and admire the author’s unique approach, not yielding to popular opinion, and it is definitely worth stepping out of your reading niche and giving this challenge a try. The author’s style is consistent, and, to use everyday TV terms, the Big Bang fans will probably recognize its somewhat Sheldonesque twisted logical genius woven into fantasy (no comedy implied here). The language of philosophy, logic and physics, including the historical implications during time-travelling, will be a difficult challenge to younger readers, giving this story a kind of science-fantasy genre quality, if you allow me this SF pun. All the archetypes are present in the story – king, witch, mother, fairies, dragons, sorcerers, wisemen, ghosts, yet the author plays with them telling his story. Even the time-travelling is a mixture of history and legend. The main villain is a Witch who is beautiful, teaching us, yet again, to look beyond what the eyes see. All the knowledge Benjamin gathers proves just how much power it provides, and how much responsibility it imposes. I especially like the fact that the author always includes emotions in the knowledge too, not limiting things only to logic and science. The plot develops with many expected twists of war, love and the perpetuation of life, and if you disregard the philosophical elements, then yes, you could actually use the illustrations to retell it to a child. But the uniqueness of the story lies in its whole approach. The story begins and ends in a nicely rounded fairytale-like way, providing a content cover and back cover for Odes, concealing the fact that the storytelling within is quite a challenge. The author risks, but to use a quote by the main character Benjamin, meeting the Witch, ‘One should never fear risk. If your life is at risk, so be it.’

Anita Kovacevic


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