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Camille and The Bears of Beisa-Drafnel by [Salmon, Simone]
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Camille and The Bears of Beisa-Drafnel Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1311 KB
  • Print Length: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Solstice Shadows (August 28, 2015)
  • Publication Date: August 28, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B013TAU6AG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,663,882 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Notes on Diversity:
Features a large cast of people of color helmed by agentic, powerful women, yay! Portions of the book are set in Jamaica, so it’s not even entirely USA-centric, also yay!

No queer characters. No characters with identified disabilities.

Review:
Drafnel, the first novel in the Camille and the Bears of Beisa series by Simone Salmon, is a major genre-bender. Equal parts paranormal thriller, romance, sweeping sci-fi novel and folkloric fantasy all wrapped together, Salmon manages to weave them all into an absorbing whole. Drafnel is scheduled for release on August 28, 2015; you can learn more about the book here.

Drafnel is composed of several intersecting narratives strung across different universes and timelines, all connected by specific individuals who persist across time and space1. The anchor narrative is driven by Camille Matahari, a young woman in 21st century New York City fresh out of college with her whole life ahead of her. The book follows her as her otherworldly powers begin to unlock, and as she is hunted by a persistent and complicated evil across time and space. To survive, she draws on a community of people both familiar and unfamiliar to her, including her Indian-born Jamaican-raised grandmother, Catharine, her Afro-Latino boyfriend, Chase DeLeon, and the shifter Beisling Bear clan.

Drafnel is Dune-like in the grandiose sweep of its worldbuilding. The sci-fi universe Salmon creates, Narvina, with its eight ruling clans and ornate power structures was intriguing. It was also refreshing to read a great space opera like this where the people in charge are people of color, and where the universe is a matriarchy.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Bears are perhaps literature's most widely employed animals in myth and story telling. Members of the species who've enjoyed major literary attention include Goldilock's nonplussed three bears, the New York-themed Yogi, the pantless Winnie the Pooh (I always found Winnie a bit disturbing), Baloo from Jungle Book and many others. In Sci-Fi, the most recent major ursine sightings were the grim polar bears of The Golden Compass. The roles assigned to bears encompass many different emotional states, from childlike to fierce. But I have never seen a bear portrayed as "ridiculous." They are far too powerful and imposing.

Camille and the Bears of Beisa-Drafnel is composed of four pirmary narratives interwoven throughout the story.The core story takes place in the here and now and focuses on Camille Matahari. We first meet her as she's moving into her new Manhattan apartment with several friends. The writing in this section is very contemporary and accurately reflects the self confidence of young urban women who feel they're on the cusp of great things and fully in control of their personal destinies. (I've met this class of female in the person of my daughter and her friends. As a father, part of me admired their unrelenting sassiness and optimism while another gritted my teeth at their naivete. It's all part of your Fatherhood training.)

Soon, however, it becomes apparent that there's something more inhabiting their cozy apartment space (and I'm not referring to the pervasive cockroach community that is a permanent fixture of the New York tenement scene). Unseen forces are attempting to communicate with Camille and at this point the book's narrative shifts to our second heroine, Camille's "Gram," Catherine.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The world may be reaching a pivotal juncture. And our collective conscience may have just become very aware of it. For, what else can explain our newfound addiction to speculations on the transcendental, aimed purely at achieving victory over evil through the prowess of one individual. Heavy? It is the theme of most heroic sagas today. Camille & the Bears of Beisa is one of its latest, and enriched, addition.

As one of the book’s lines go, ‘revelation is never easy for the seeker’. Ms. Simone Salmon takes that to heart, as she starts her story without revealing much about the characters or settings we find ourselves amidst. It is safe to say that she expects patience from her readers, and trusts her approach to make things clearer as we go on. The story spans multiple timelines and locations – both familiar and unfamiliar. It is an ambitious, but inevitably complex tale to tell. This is perhaps why I’d suggest the author to give her readers more background, not to simplify the read but to inculcate greater attachment right from the outset. That trust, which she commands from us, is a necessary pre-requisite to enjoy the epic saga she brings to life.

Simone makes up for complexities with a quiet mix of good old-fashioned human condition and novelty in the context in which it is described. For instance, our incessant hunt for newer habitable planets continues even in the 13th millennium, but Ms. Salmon gives us one lit not by a nearby sun, but the collective shine of more distant stars. Then there is the more familiar mystery surrounding a woman who appears as an aide at one point and a mother bent on keeping her husband and son estranged, at another.
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