Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Review: Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure - Ciye Cho
Extent: ebook (334 KB)
Publisher: Self Published
Pub Date: 6th June 2011
The universe of Orberana is a place of great wonder and peril, a dizzying landscape filled with clouds that can talk, clockwork beings that mark their own time, and painted animals that awake in the night.
Shiewo Morose is the captain of a flying ship powered by music. She is also a determined young woman on a mission: a quest to find the Wishing Fish that created Orberana.
Sailing above the clouds, Shiewo and her crew (Erduu the bamboo, Theo the cloud, Livingston the goldfish, and Felix the painter) are headed for worlds of crazed clockwork bureaucrats, tyrannic kings, and tornado children - worlds that will test not only the crew's bravery... but their very understanding of adventure.
Theirs is the odyssey of a lifetime...
Well, I thought I had a vivid imagination but it is as nothing compared to Ciye Cho’s. I feel utterly bland and boring now! Brace yourselves for this one because absolutely nothing is what you expect but absolutely everything is fantastical and beautiful.
The first thing that will hit you when you read Shiewo is the almost magical way that Ciye Cho stimulates your senses. Never in a book have I ever read of so many intriguing colours, tastes, smells or sounds, I don’t know anyone who can conjure up such a delight for the senses. The descriptions are just so vivid but I didn’t once catch the usual old clichés that swarm around aesthetic depictions, everything is expressed in a manner entirely unique. I can only compare it to drinking a delicious new fruit juice, only the fruits are from a different planet. It’s so refreshing to have an author who is not only incredibly well tuned towards the senses but clearly values that aspect of her story and goes the extra mile to bring the dizzying wonders of her fantasy world to her readers.
Not only this but the story is so engaging too. I love the way Shiewo’s adventures play out in episodes, it definitely lends itself to a cartoon serial, but the characters are what strings each adventure together. When you create a world where anything goes, where plants treasure Aeolian Harps and fish make very good helmsmen, you are in real danger of trying to make these quirky aspects carry themselves, but Ciye Cho hasn’t done that. You can empathise with every single character she has created, they have great depth and strong personalities. I’m reminded of the characters in the Wizard of Oz who each have a problem they would like to remedy – Ciye’s characters have a similar quest. They are a band of misfits, each with the flaws of any human, each setting out to find the Wishing Fish to solve their problems. I can’t believe how attached I got to a multi-coloured cloud! But that is Ciye Cho’s magic at work. The list of characters and the places and situations they find themselves in may sound completely mad but do not be put off by it because within the pages you will find a great depth of human emotion as well as classic adventure that tastes wonderfully unique.
I’m so glad Ciye was kind enough to send me her book because I would have missed an entirely new and thoroughly enjoyable dimension to story-telling. I cannot recommend this book enough as a way of unlocking the restraints on your imagination, even if you thought you had none!