Guest reviewed by Susan Helene Gottfried, a writer interested in music-related self-published books. She’s the author of Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes — Year 1: “A band’s demo tape is intended to introduce listeners to their music. Likewise, this collection of short pieces allows readers into the fictional world of Trevor Wolff and his band, ShapeShifter.” Check out her books and other output at WestofMars.com.
What’s not to love about a book whose concept is that a man from the past, cryogenically frozen to thwart cancer, is thawed out and becomes the hero of the ages, a rock star who saves the day? As a lover of all things music-related, this was something I had to get my hands on. A. R. Yngve obliged, in the form of a .pdf of his novel, Darc Ages.
Unfortunately, the .pdf does not contain the illustrations that accompany certain versions of this book. I suggest going to Mr. Yngve’s website and reading the book there to see the art. It is well worth a gander, as it humanizes the characters, an important element in a book set in a world where technology has taken on new meanings in the lives of the people. It’s easy to forget that Bor Damon, the leader whose underlings find and thaw the man they call Darc, is human. He seems forbidding, angry, almost non-human. Add in the rocket-fueled armor the knights/soldiers wear and soon the humans become as mechanized as the robots who serve as butlers and lackeys.
The world built by author Yngve is a strong world. I’d love to spend more time in it, getting to know it. I’m not certain that this is accomplished in Darc Ages the way I’d like it to be: too much time is spent on the details of mechanics, especially the jousts and wars. These scenes seem to go on forever, hurting the advertised overall theme: that of the Rock and Roll King.
This is the book’s greatest weakness: the plot meanders. It’s at times hard to remember what the story is supposed to be about. While it all makes sense in the end, getting there can be slow and seemingly meaningless.
Herein lies a conundrum: if this were a web serial I was reading, I’d be into it. The long journey Darc takes to reach his role of savior of the future people is a fun one, but it does not have the urgency of a strong plot, an element that is much needed in a novel. I wouldn’t mind the lack of character development in a web serial; the focus would be on what happens to Darc now. He certainly goes through quite a bit during Darc Ages, but is it too much?
That is for you to decide. Just don’t go into it expecting a book rife with rock and roll. This King may sing like Elvis, but he’s given scarily little time on the page to do so. That is my disappointment in Darc Ages: I’d expected more music and less war.
For those who aren’t bothered by that, a sequel to Darc Ages is also out. I haven’t read it, but am hopeful that it contains more of this rich world Yngve is building. It certainly deserves it.