Book One of The Sehnsucht Series

written by Keyla Damaer

As threatened, I have delved into yet another book by Keyla Damaer. This time not a series of short stories, but a proper novel. Parallels takes place chronologically after the events of Tales From the Manderian Directorate which made Parallels seem more familiar. I was already steeped in the world from the previous read and it’s glossary of terms, which is also available here in book one.

Parallels runs several concurrent storylines but the main focus of the book concerns an assassination and the various people tasked with solving the crime. The conclusion of these investigations folds into the war the Mandarians are waging, apparently quite successfully, against the Federal Coalition. As usual, the fog of war turns everything shades of grey, including the morality of the characters caught within it.

The second main storyline concerns what are known as augments, genetically modified humans that both sides seem to believe will allow them win the war. To me it looks like playing with augments is like playing Russian Roulette with a semi-automatic pistol—a really bad idea that will not end well for anyone. But, since this plot is left as a cliffhanger, readers will have to wait for Damaer to publish another book, since both other entries in this series take place in the chronological past.

Parallels includes a dose of pretty explicit torture. If you don’t appreciate this kind of thing you’ll want to skip some pages. This torture is not gratuitous, however; the motivation and personality of several characters are clarified through the acts. Still, you’ve been warned.

The various characters, all from various species from various planets, do appear a tad bit similar in their motivations, feelings, and behavior. This is a problem for anyone writing science fiction, since writing species that are so different from humans they are almost incomprehensible tends to bog down the plot, making it more about the how and why they are so different in contrast to humans, and less about human-alien interactions. If you grok where I’m grokking.

In my previous book review I went over Damaer’s writing style, so I won’t do so here. The reader experiences a third person omniscient voice more focused on character than description. I’m partial to this style. Long-winded descriptions kind of annoy me, unless the writer is a true master of words.

A solid bit of work and an enjoyable read. I recommend.

❮ read my review of Damaer’s The Manderian Directorate