4 out of 4 stars
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The World of Ato is Patrick Borosky’s marvelous intro to what promises to turn into an excellent fantasy series. Brimming with wild imagination, the writer challenges us to take a leap of faith and believe in the impossible.
Ato is a 15-year-old girl who lives alone in a house on top of a hill overlooking the Crimson Kingdom. With her parents missing for two years, she has only her art to comfort her. Ato is incredibly talented. She paints in the morning the magnificent things she sees in her vivid dreams during the night. Everything changes when she discovers she can bring her paintings to life and travel to the worlds she creates.
Apart from her best friend Reed, Ato gains a most unusual companion. Iro is the little dragon she releases from a long slumber. They will soon become inseparable. With Iro’s magical help, Ato will travel to the world of her dreams, the kingdom of Myr. In no time, she will be thrown into the adventure of her life. She will make new friends, but she will also face deadly creatures conjured by a faceless man feeding on people’s souls. Ato has to act fast or darkness will not only envelop Myr, but her own world too.
At a first glance, the novel targets young adult readers, yet there is an extra layer of meaning. For adult readers, it becomes an allegory on human condition and contemporary society. For example, Ato is amazed that the happy people of the bazaar in Myr choose to deliberately ignore the horrible life of the poor people living beyond the hill. She understands that in a way she had done the same by drawing people only in their happiest moments. Her journey helps her develop both as a person and as an artist. Iro opens her eyes with respect to the role of art and the artist. She learns that once it is finished, a painting does not belong to her anymore. On the one hand, the artist’s tragedy is that people will not see exactly what s/he intended. On the other hand, the multiplicity of perspectives is part of the beauty of art.
The author’s writing style is extremely versatile. He skillfully passes from the lyrical descriptions of Ato’s dreams and paintings to the hilarious chitter-chatter between Ato and Iro or the often serious tone of their conversations about art. The third-person narrator mainly focuses on Ato, but there are chapters in which the perspective is changed to follow other characters that are equally well portrayed. Ato is a strong and complex character reminding of rebellious Lyra and her demon Pantalaimon in Philip Pullman’s famous trilogy His Dark Materials. Ato and her friends discover the value of friendship and compassion. The secondary characters are thus imagined so as to ridicule human weaknesses and folly. In spite of his short stature, Ferrin is capable of the kind of bravery and self-sacrifice typical of true knights. People’s prejudices and misconceptions about witches force Violet to live a secluded life in a shack in the woods. The Silver Knight and the Archduke Alexander Grand symbolize the danger of falling into the trap of an obsessive lust for power.
Everything about this novel is in a crescendo. Tension is built up gradually. Revelations grow in intensity. Characters learn to understand and accept their emotions and fears. Even the writer’s style improves in technique and strategy as the story develops and we lose track of space and time. I dare say Patrick Borosky’s novel has more potential than many other fantasy series currently on the market. I am thinking of Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life connecting all the worlds together in Norse mythology. Not accidentally, the author mentions it in the short story attached to this novel. Imagine the possibilities and temptations Ato will face in her inter-world adventures. 4 out of 4 stars is the only proper rating in spite of the few typos and minor mistakes. I loved the book so much that I have voluntarily done the additional proofreading. I hope I can help the author because I would like to see the paperback on my bookshelves.
The World of Ato
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