Friday, March 17, 2017

Broken Numbers, by Dean Lappi

Broken Numbers is the long awaited third book in Dean Frank Lappi’s Aleph Null series. I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to this book, and I was NOT disappointed!
But first, The Blurb:

Trith, Circle, Zranh, Raith, Death
With those enigmatic words from the Black Manuscript, Sid begins his journey to the Trith Nation where he hopes to find clues to help him regain his power of Numbers. He is joined by Crowdal, who agrees to take Sid and his friends back to his home, a place he does not want to go. But to get there they must travel through the dangerous and unexplored lands of the north where there are things that are better left undisturbed.
A half a continent away, Melinda must learn to control the time-shifting powers of the Zranh that flow through her and come to terms with her destiny before she can reunite with Sid, Crowdal and her other friends.
A young Fahrin Druin named Drax is chosen by an ancient master of Numbers and is given unimaginable powers to do one thing – search for and destroy the Aleph Null.
And Tris, the supremely powerful Black Robe of the Oblate, has had the Black Numbers inside him since he ripped them from Sid in the Srithian Wood, but he cannot control them. So he uses the unlimited resources of the Oblate to recruit armies from three of the most powerful kingdoms in the land to hunt and capture Sid so he can finish tearing his old friend’s mind apart for the secret to the Black Numbers.
Can Sid figure out the meaning behind the strange words inside the Black Manuscript and regain his power of Numbers before it is too late?
Join Sid and his friends on another non-stop adventure into the unknown.

My Review:
Violent and graphic, this series combines elements of horror, with a magic system based on mathematics and sexual energy. After a brief prologue bringing us up to speed on the Korpor (one of the most frightening creatures in fantasy) Lappi opens the story with our protagonist, Sid, considering the death of his mother and loss of his magic.
Sid, the Aleph Null, is a deep character, a man whose life has been seriously altered by events beyond his control. He has been traumatized by incidents that occurred in his early childhood, yet he remains kind and caring of others. He is desperate to get his numbers back, but knows it won’t be easy.
On the run from Tris and the Oblate, Sid and Crowdal, Agnes, Writhgarth, Tulman, and Nik have survived an epic battle and are on their way to Crowdal’s homeland, the Trith Nation. Crowdal has unfinished business in his country that he would prefer to avoid, but it’s a measure of his love for Sid that he agrees to lead him there. Sid’s former childhood friend and now leader of the Oblate, Tris, has managed to rip away the Black Numbers from Sid, a partial victory, but he won’t rest until Sid is dead.
The plot is hard-hitting, filled with twists and turns. Nothing is simple, and every step forward brings another step back. Despite the setbacks, Crowdal and the others remain strong in their support of the Sid, both as Aleph Null and as their companion.
I like Lappi’s magic system. It is based on mathematics which are referenced obliquely, the mystery of which makes the system highly believable for me. This makes it seem both mystical and realistic.
Lappi’s villains are truly evil. Tris is consumed with his own glory, a power-mad despot verging on insane. Volatile and deliberately cruel, his loyal followers know their lifespan is measured by their ability to satisfy his requirements, and he requires a great deal. He is obsessively focused on destroying Sid.
The Korpor is equally horrifying, but easier to understand because it is simply acting on its nature—it’s doing what it was created to do.
What I love about this series overall is the way Lappi portrays the camaraderie and friendships of Sid and his core group and sets them in places and situations that are almost familiar yet foreign, and unimaginably dangerous. The two previous books in this series are Black Numbers, and Blood Numbers, and both are gripping.  If you are a fan of dark fantasy and haven’t yet read this series, I highly recommend it. Broken Numbers is a fitting installment in the saga.

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