Keepers of the Dawn
Smith introduces us to a world enclosed by the Teeth, barriers said to have been erected by an ancient deity to cut the world off from Paradise for its sins, filled with a population whose thoughts can be transmitted and read telepathically through the “ether.” I absolutely loved this mindspeak concept, in that it opens up so many unique storytelling/plot possibilities, and Smith takes full advantage of employing those possibilities, showing how such can be used for good, bad, or plain deception. Bartu, the unlikely protagonist, is a mental deaf-mute, unable to gain access to the ether. Plagued by this seeming handicap, he comes to discover that his condition, as well as the ancient relic passed down for generations in his family, may be the key to bringing down the Teeth and defeating Rue-A-Kai, and ancient evil regarded as the Destroyer.
There’s a lot to enjoy in this first volume of the series: action, intrigue, betrayal, and adventure, to say the least. Also, with the concept of mishappens(a portion of the population with physical anomalies), Smith delves into topics of prejudice and persecution.
I did feel there were some pacing issues about three-quarters through the story. Things come to something of a halt, and there are a series of conversations essentially recapping the major events in the book up to that point. Granted, some new information is revealed, but the reader is still presented with a fairly lengthy recap that could probably have been whittled down or presented with a smoother flow.
This one criticism is basically moot, however, considering all the amazing aspects of this book. The twist ending is unexpected, original, and hints at endless possibilities for future volumes. And, given this amazing first entry, I can’t wait to see what Smith does with them.
To learn more about Keepers of the Dawn and Herb J, Smith II,