Thursday, September 12, 2019

Book Review: 'Master of the World' by Edward Willett

Master of the World by Edward Willett

A splendid new cinematic novel!

Canadian author Edward Willett is not only an award winning science fiction and fantasy and non-fiction author, he also is a journalist and freelance writer, having served as communications officer for the Saskatchewan Science Centre. In addition, Edward is a professional actor and singer, performing n plays, musicals and operas! He hosts a podcast – The Worldshapers: Conversations with science fiction and fantasy authors about the creative process. He lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.

MASTER OF THE WORLD is Book 2 in Edward’s fine series WORLDSHAPERS which began with WORLDSHAPER that introduced the empowered Shaper, Shawna Keys. If this is the reader’s first entry into Edward’s fascinating world, the impact of this new episode is so well written that it is not imperative to have read the opening novel of the series to gain full satisfaction from the further adventures of Shawna.

Edward’s exceptional writing style is evident from the opening lines – ‘Buffeted by swirling winds, I clung to the rope ladder lifting me from the mysterious— and rapidly disintegrating— island in the ocean below toward the giant flying ship in the sky above and re¬flected on what a lousy week I was having. Sunday night, I’d woken from a nightmare in which a stranger wearing a cowboy hat and a long black duster had been standing at the foot of my bed, only to look out my window and see a stranger in a cowboy hat and a long black duster looking up at my bedroom window. Monday night, he’d been there again. Tuesday, I’d officially opened my new shop, Worldshaper Pot¬tery, on trendy Blackthorne Avenue in Eagle River, Montana (hip¬ster haven of the West)— although the store’s opening had been overshadowed (literally) by the scaffolding covering the entrance (supporting two young men hanging the shop’s sign) and the black storm clouds hanging over the Rockies to the west: clouds which, infuriatingly and bewilderingly, nobody but me seemed to find threatening.’ Shawna Keys, front and center, and the action begins. 

The plot is delightfully complex as the summary reveals: ‘Shawna Keys has fled the world she only recently discovered she Shaped, narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Adversary who seized control of it...and losing her only guide, Karl Yatsar, in the process. Now she finds herself alone in some other Shaper's world, where, in her first two hours, she's rescued from a disintegrating island by an improbable flying machine she recognizes from Jules Verne's Robur the Conqueror, then seized from it by raiders flying tiny personal helicopters, and finally taken to a submarine that bears a strong resemblance to Captain Nemo's Nautilus. Oh, and accused of being both a spy and a witch. Shawna expects--hopes!--Karl Yatsar will eventually follow her into this new steampunky realm, but exactly where and when he'll show up, she hasn't a clue. In the meantime, she has to navigate a world where two factions fanatically devoted to their respective leaders are locked in perpetual combat, figure out who the Shaper of the world is, find him or her, and obtain the secret knowledge of this world's Shaping. Then she has to somehow reconnect with Karl Yatsar, and escape to the next Shaped world in the Labyrinth...through a Portal she has no idea how to open.’

All of the myriad aspects of Edward Willett’s talent are obvious in this terrific blend of fantasy, references to great literature and history, and imagination proffered with a keen comedic sensitivity. He here further establishes his stance as one of our more important authors. Highly Recommended. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.