Well, after my long detour into other genres, we're back in the realm of fantasy. Indie author Terry Persun has created a fantasy that is fresh and exhilarating. Doublesight is both an adventure novel and a novel of one girl's coming of age.
After the Doublesight Wars, dangerous and mean-spirited shape shifters were killed off, causing other doublesight to hide their gifts, congregate into their own villages or clans, and avoid most humans. Zimp and Zora are the twin granddaughters of the crow clan's sage. The reticent Zimp is relieved that she has not been chosen to take her grandmother's position, but after Zora is murdered after an attack on the clan, Zimp is forced into her obligations. Rumors, stemming from Castle Weilk, suggest that dangerous throwbacks have been born--gryphons, harpys, dragons--and, once again the humans decide to hunt them down. Fear leads to mistrust, and mistrust to murder, all seemingly. The doublesight council assembles to assess the situation and sends five doublesight to investigate the rumors, placing Zimp in charge of four men. Struggling with her own intuitive abilities, and trying to hold a stable position as leader, Zimp finds herself in the center of a changing world and must decide on her real place within it.
Persun thrusts you into the middle of action from page one. Zimp's clan is under attack, and no one knows why.
Wholly human or wholly crow depending on what form she is in, Zimp is a great character, both endearing and aggravating. At first, she is weak and allows a less qualified, but more aggressive clan member, Arren, to make decisions for her.
Brok, a shifter who is also a Thylacine, (which I had never heard of before this) is also an interesting and vivid character. He is angry, and Zimp is wary of him. His brother is unable to shift back to human, and his tragedy is poignant for every doublesight, whatever species.
Lankor is a doublesight dragon, and is also a great character. He is angry and confused, unable to control his temper as all the doublesight teenagers entering adulthood seem to be.
Though they are being persecuted, the doublesight have many divisions and rifts among themselves, and must somehow find a way to work together to find out why they are being hunted. This leads to the discovery of a great evil that threatens their very existence.
This book is as much about personalities and the need to remember their own commonality as it is about the great evil that threatens their kind. Each individual is sharply drawn, and has presence, struggling for their own place in their society while their world faces calamity. Zimp and Lankor struggle to do what they know is right, in the face of treachery and occasional bad judgement.
I really enjoyed this book, despite the fact that the ending is a set-up for book two. There is some resolution, it's just not complete, and there is ample room for more story. I always have mixed feelings about that sort of ending for the first book in a series, but despite that one minor flaw, this is an awesome book, and I think it is one of the better fantasy books I've read lately. There is nothing stale, or been-done-before in this tale. I will definitely be reading The Memory Tower.