The next stop on my Indie Book Tour has lead me to the first book in The Lost Empire series by E.B. Dawson.
A string had been drilled into her heart, and now it was being pulled, little by little, out her mouth. She had to follow the tug unless she wanted to lose her guts.
The Traveler by E.B. Dawson, is a sci-fi fantasy novel set in what feels like a futuristic, technologically-advanced world. Whether or not that world is our future, or another, remains to be determined.
Our main character, Anissa Robson, is starting in her new position as an intern to a politician. In this world, everything is automated and the people don’t dream. Literally, they do not dream. Except, Anissa has started to dream more and more frequently of another place, a simpler life in a gloriously beautiful land. Away from her bureaucratic nightmare of a job, away from the freezing rain and drudgery of her city, away from all the people who don’t believe in the fantastical. Her dreams are deceivingly realistic, and more and more she wishes they were real.
To say more, would give away the plot. And I shan’t take that joy of discovery from you. This novel caught me by surprise. I’m not usually super into sci-fi, I like the easy-going nature of fantasy. However, my biggest catnip in the world is character development– and Dawson did an awe-inspiring job in this department.
At first I wasn’t really sure I would like Anissa, she felt wishy-washy and unsure…which doesn’t typically appeal to me in a main character. However, as time went on and she was fleshed out some more, I discovered a deeply principled, conflicted young woman who, like me, wouldn’t mind upping and leaving to a whole new land if it seemed like a better deal. I liked when she lost her temper with her boss, Carson, especially, because in those moments she felt real.
Speaking of Carson, let’s. Carson was an enigma from the start. We get one chapter from his perspective, and it’s enough to leave you wondering for the rest of the book, just what is he up to?? I wished repeatedly for more chapters from his point of view, however by the end of the book I was glad there weren’t more. I think it would have given away several key surprises, and that would have spoiled some of the fun. That being said, I would not be at all averse to reading the entire novel from his point of view now that I know the ending.
Carson was as well developed as Anissa, if not more so. It really spoke to the truth of the world: everyone is on their own side. Everyone has their own agenda, and reasoning. And with a truly ruthless person (not bad, just ruthless–key difference) you can never trust them to do what you want, unless it is in their best interest.
Halfway through the book, our cast of characters is opened up significantly, introducing our little rebel gang through a high-stakes rescue operation that had me on the edge of my seat. Each character had a distinctive voice and drive, and that made the novel all the more believable.
It was around this time that I found myself fully invested, and kissed both sleep and careful reading goodbye. For myself, it is the mark a truly great novel to have me rushing through the pages almost faster than I can actually read in order to find out what happens next. Dawson had me there, and wrapped around her plot tighter than a circus high-wire. I will need to reread this novel in order to fully grasp the amaze-balls that it is. But, I will do so quite happily.
Dawson touches on some hot-button issues regarding politics, corporations and race-relations in this book. At no time did these touches or comments make me uncomfortable or angry. I thought she handled them with care, and truth, and I am very curious to see where these elements are taken in future novels. A good novel should make you think, and question and consider…and this one did just that. I say this as someone who despises when writers use their work to preach at me, or vilify certain sectors of the population. More than once I have put down a novel in disgust and never revisited it.
The Traveler is a futuristic, political-thriller, with elements of science fiction and fantasy. It has a character-driven plot and incredible attention to detail and world-building. Dawson has a way with prose that will leave you with a beautifully clear image of the worlds she writes of. I enjoyed this novel most thoroughly, and will be back as soon as book 2 is available (it will be a trilogy).
There is so much more to say, so many wonderful things going on in this novel, but you’ll have to read it yourself to find them out. And I highly recommend doing so.
And also head over to E.B. Dawson’s Website to see what else she has written!