The Automation: Volume 1 of the Circo del Herrero Series is a surreal Greco-Roman clockwork fantasy written through the seemingly-omniscient personalities “B.L.A.” and “G.B. Gabbler” about the life and occurrences of the unfortunate Odys after his encounter with a gory suicide that links him to the victim’s Automaton, a divine and complex being of unknowable machination that work in tandem with a human soul.
The book is very intricate in the ways it is written, shifting narrative gears between multiple levels of storytelling and perspective at times. Like any story based on Greco-Roman sensibilities, both the abstract and tangible divine and magical are a constant involvement and interference, and the personalities of everyone and every thing around them contributes to how the story is told on all sides of the ‘fourth wall’. Notes are left by the editor and the author – two separate entities, not working together with much harmony at that – that are scattered in the text in different ways, mostly footnotes, and the intermingling of these bits of information make for a somewhat disjointed read, possibly deliberately. The plot makes a point of taking left turns when your only expectation is to the right, subverting cliché and making a world so uniquely flavored it almost runs against your mind’s ability to process at times. Whether this makes it a success or not depends on the reader’s tastes alone, and with focus on some more adult subject matters it would do best with a more mature reader.