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The Reader of Acheron (The Slaves of Erafor) (Volume 1) Paperback – December 13, 2013
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About the Author
Walter Rhein was born in Wisconsin. After earning a degree in English Literature, he moved to Lima, Peru where he lived for close to a decade. While in Lima, he worked as a writer, translator, editor and English teacher. He still maintains a web page about Peru at StreetsOfLima.com. In 2009 he returned to Wisconsin with his wife because he missed the snow and sub freezing temperatures. These days he can often be found lurking on the Heroic Fantasy group on Facebook, or at HeroicFantasyWriters.com. To contact Walter for interviews or speaking engagements, write: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Top customer reviews
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By the time I reached page fifty, I was hooked! Kikkan, bootlicker and slave, had meager beginnings but emerged as my favorite character. His journey and internal struggle are very compelling and made me want to read through the other perspectives in the book to get back to his storyline like I did with Jon and Tyrion in A Song of Ice and Fire. His human condition is captured really well by Rhein and it brings Kikkan to life as a three dimensional character.
I want to be fair and pinpoint a flaw in The Reader of Acheron but that is a tough thing to do. The writing is solid, the pacing is great, and overall it’s easy to read. There are similarities in his storyline to other works (Kikkan reminds me of Spartacus to an extent) but with the author's additions, the story is actually quite unique.
It’s been a fun adventure watching Walter Rhein grow as a writer and get better with each piece. Even I was surprised how fast the storyline was able to reel me in. Looking forward to this series and his future releases.
I found it an “easy” read in that it kept my attention throughout the entire novel. I usually read 5 or more books simultaneously , switching back and forth when plot lags, etc. But I was quite content to read Reader of Acheron from beginning to end without the need for other diversions – a testament , at least for me, to his ability as a story teller.
Rhein’s post-apocalyptic world is convincing and has sufficient diverse characters to entertain even zombie fans. In fact, I prefer Rhein’s zombies as they seem far more believable than what passes for today’s undead. Further, the author has created protagonists that we actually care about.
I was pleasantly surprised with the ending, not expecting what occurred, realizing Rhein had provided subtle foreshadowing so that the denouement was not out of the ordinary.
Perhaps the one “complaint” I have is that Kikkan, the slave, seemed too linguistically erudite than a slave could be expected, given the condition and existence of a slave. But this is truly minor in this otherwise excellent novel . Further, I finished the novel wishing the subsequent volume was already available.
There is so much Dystopian fiction out there these days that one can hardly swing a disembodied zombie arm without hitting another book about our broken future. But, so many of them feel like regurgitations of the tried and true, the same-old-same-old. Because of that, I rarely break open a dystopian story.
But, that is the beauty of this book—I didn’t know it was a dystopian fantasy when I opened it up and I was well into the story before it struck me. That says something, I think. It is easy to create the next Escape from New York or Bladerunner or Planet of the Apes, based on over-done models and a million stories of the same ilk. But, authors of these sorts of stories can never really compete with the originals.
This book is very different. It isn’t the typical in-your-face, evil empire, dark, corporate take-over, or even over-used nuclear fall-out stuff. It was more subtle, more deeply ingrained in the culture of the people involved, an almost invisible but ever present feeling that accompanied the cool characters as they dealt with the conflicts that arose from that very same setting.
It was organic, naturally occurring.
I completely lost the sense that we were on some dark future earth. Instead, I was there, living in the world that these characters lived in, facing the dangers and challenges that they faced. They didn’t know it was a dystopian future; it wasn’t part of their experience, so why should it be part of mine. It was pretty awesome. The dystopia was part of the fabric of the world, not simply a setting, an obvious tool to elicit cheap reader-associations.
Focusing on the setting and the author’s masterful world building is only half the story though. The characters are real and deep and filled with their own internal conflicts. Rage and sorrow comes to a reader as slavery is set against the emotional co-dependency of people that evolve in such a world, and the empathy that one cannot help but feel towards them.
We are set in a world of people that cannot read, and reading is a crime punishable by the unthinkable. It is the in-born quest for knowledge and freedom that create the conflict in this story. The characters feel it. The characters live it and strive against it unconsciously, but with all the need and desperation of a drowning man.
And I loved it. I loved them.
I think that you will enjoy this book immensely. I did, and I am not even a fan of the genre. Come—take a read. I know you won’t regret it.
Most recent customer reviews
From the first chapter that draws you into the story, to second chapter with an OMG I didn’t see that coming, and all the way through to the...Read more
To READ or to not to READ? That is the question????Read more