3 out of 4 stars
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Thuroks by E. B. Eskca is a science fiction novel with a fantasy flavor. On the planet Rhanrese, pure energy is used as nourishment. When a starving king has Queen Rhakmelei of Annahriheim kidnapped, her husband, King Egrhothurok, has little options to rescue her before she gets completely drained of her energy. The main problem is that the kidnappers someway passed through the veil, a forcefield that separates the kingdoms, which was supposed to be impenetrable. The priests say a god assisted the kidnappers, which suggests that another god might help King Egrhothurok, allowing his men to rescue Queen Rhakmelei. However, the gods rarely meddle with humans, so how to find one who would listen to King Egrhothurok's plea? A young priest offers what seems a far-fetched idea, but with no alternatives, King Egrhothurok must go on a quest to save his wife.
This novel is set on another planet that hosts an ancient civilization. Its inhabitants have advanced technologies that include computers and starships, so there's no doubt that it belongs to the science fiction genre. However, the author developed the story using elements typical of the fantasy genre as the planet is divided into kingdoms with a feudal society, there are gods that turn out to be more powerful than the most powerful technologies, and an important part of the plot is a quest.
In some ways, this novel reminded me of stories from the pulp magazine era between the 1930s and the 1950s. At that time, science fiction authors often used fantasy elements, so sometimes you could read stories that had a strong heroic fantasy flavor set on another planet. Today, that kind of story has more success in cinema such as the Star Wars movies, but there are still fans of this kind of literature.
The ideas that form this novel are not particularly original, but E. B. Eskca used them in a way that keeps readers engaged. That's because the mix of elements is used to create twists and turns that are not easily predictable. That's what I appreciated the most in the novel.
One thing I didn't like is the novel's structure, made of only 6 very long chapters. Even line breaks are rare, and that's a bit annoying when you want to stop reading because finding the right place when the narrative switches to a different point of view or skips ahead in time can be difficult.
Another round of proofreading would be useful because I found several errors, especially of punctuation. They didn't detract from my enjoyment, but their number forced me to take a star from my rating. Overall, it's a great novel, told using an evocative language, that keeps readers engaged with great imagination in mixing science fiction and fantasy elements. For these reasons, my rating is 3 out of 4 stars. It contains neither profanities nor sexual references, so it's suitable for young readers. I recommend Thuroks to readers looking for an unusual story based on kings and a quest.
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