Reading Kai Ashante Wilson's novellas is an experience. The words flow like water, and the scenes drip with life.
Both tales take place in Wilson's universe of science fiction fantasy. It is certainly one of the most interesting settings I've seen in a while.
In The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, we travel with the Sorcerer, Demane, and his Captain as they protect a merchant caravan.
Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors' artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.
The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive.
The one safe road between the northern oasis and southern kingdom is stalked by a necromantic terror. Demane may have to master his wild powers and trade humanity for godhood if he is to keep his brothers and his beloved captain alive.
In A Taste of Honey, a more intimate tale, we take in Olorum's richness and political machinations.
Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods.
Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. In defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind gay romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.
The beauty of the prose is only matched by the imagination behind the world-building. These novellas, while short, cross genres... no, not cross them. They transcend genre.
While the writing itself might not be to everyone's tastes, you cannot deny its beauty. Each sentence is carved and crafted, each paragraph moulded into art. That's why reading Kai Ashante Wilson's work is an experience. Even if you end up disliking the story, there is no reason not to appreciate the prose.
In all honesty, I can't even tell if the writing should be called prose or poetry. The impact is clear though.
I love this book! Just finished my second reading of it and I wish there was another one to follow it up, or a sequel to A Taste of Honey (and yes, I did read the short story that comes after). I want to know more about the world Kai Ashante Wilson has created. I want to explore Olorum and Sea-john and Daluz and revisit some of the characters I’ve fallen in love with. The author hints at a dragon-fueled cataclysm which I’d love to know more about, and if there were more on the adventures of Demane I would be the first in line to buy them! While I wait though, can anyone recommend more afrocentric fantasy like this? I need my fix!
Comment by Hermione Wilson
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps on Tor.com, Friday 14th of April, 2017
Like Hermione, I also need my fix.
Both novellas by Kai Ashante Wilson are available DRM-free from Kobo: