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"Mauria" by Steve North rocked me big time
on December 16, 2010
Wow, what a surprise. "Mauria" by Steve North rocked me big time. The story grabbed me from the beginning, and then I white-knuckled it straight through the rest of it in one night! I must admit, it took me a few chapters to completely follow the lingo, but then I felt like I was a part of the world. Also, I kind of suspected where the plot was going, but how it got there was really surprising.
The story - without doing a spoiler - takes place before we existed, and makes a pretty cool case that we descended from the two races in the book - the Maurians and the Vuervee (that's plural for "Vuerve" in the book's lingo). The Vuervee are kind of like the creatures in "Avatar" except they're a little more animal-hippie like, they even have colored hair on different parts of their bodies. The Maurians are big fat misfits who need tubes to breathe - (the book isn't totally clear on how they evolved into this dilemma, except it's obvious they used a primitive science to genetically screw themselves.
The Maurians are grand manipulators, and are really into the whole business thing - and here is where it has so many relevancies to today's corporate issues. They've tried to stamp out messy things like emotions and sex. One of the big shocks of the book is that the Maurians hunt and eat the Vuervee (that's not a spoiler, since you find that out on page one).
The Bordt character is a classic scum who rises, and most of the other characters were well-developed in both civilizations.
The Vuervee are the organic side of the equation - and are pretty amazing to try and picture. I would have liked the book to illustrate what they looked like, maybe on the cover or something. How animal-like are they? Or are they human form with touches of animal hair? The author wasn't as descriptive about this as he could have been. (That's why I give it a 4 out of 5). This story would make a great movie, then the director would have to make these choices. Also, a map would have helped, so the reader could really visualize this world a bit better. It is a complicated story and these aids would have helped.
That's also a strength of North's Mauria though, a really complex set of characters and plot-lines which really do come together in a mind-blowing way. I'm not usually this surprised at the end of a book.
Anyway, it's a great read - and a quite an achievement, especially since the book's bio says it is North's first novel.