The Moons of Barsk – Lawrence M. Schoen

the moons of barsk

(I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

I read, two years ago, « Barsk, the elephant graveyard » and it was an incredible read. The kind of read I, even after having read thousands of books as I’ve had, will never forget. I’m getting more and more touchy and demanding with my readings, not by vice, but because having read so many books, and review some hundreds, and wrote some more, have made me very critical: I now know what I like, what I don’t want to read about, and what I can’t read on regardless some obvious narrative, psychological or logical flaws. « Barsk, the elephants’ graveyard » was an outstanding read, just perfect, so rare…

At the time I didn’t know that a sequel was to be expected. When I saw « The moons of Barsk » on Netgalley, I couldn’t believe my luck! I immediately pre-ordered the pbook (such a beautiful cover!) and ask for the ARC. I was very proud and happy when my request was accepted and took care to re read the first Barsk Book before, as I’ve already planed to do this summer (premonition, eh? ).

I particularly appreciated to re-read the first book before this one, but if you don’t feel like doing so, you may spare yourself: all the principal elements are cleverly reintroduced in the beginning of the book, you won’t feel lost (you probably will feel nostalgic and sorry not to have reread Barsk Book One, but… your mistake ^-^)

The story takes place a few years after the end of the first book. Pizlo is now fourteen years old, and not much have changed for him, except for the fact that he’s now a speaker, but just able to Speak with Jorl, his best friend, his mentor. Jorl has a good life, married, with a beloved child, Rina, and is juggling between his work as an historian, his family time and his role as a senator.

Very quickly the story explodes in an incredible revelation, quite credible and logical in fact, and exhilarating in its fairness and cleverness. I can’t say more about it, but I can tell that this new development is perfectly carved out and used to tell an exciting story. The new characters are perfect, a so human blend of brilliancy, humanity, lucidity and also thirst for power, egotism and weaknesses.

If I loved this second book as much as the first one, I needed to read it slowly, to chew over it. I loved how the author chose to intensify his ideas, nurturing them in exciting and inspiring directions. For such an imaginary concept, Speaking is handled in a perfectly scientific way, which I applaud! Not complicated per se, but thorough, imaginative and cleverly used to make the story unforgettable. Again. A perfect « food for thoughts » book!

If Pizlo isn’t a child anymore, thinking much more a very wise and kind adult, suffering differently due to his life as a pariah, Lawrence M. Schoen demonstrates again how able he’s to introduce believable and touching children, especially gifted ones with, this time, Jorl’s daughter, Rina. And her doll, the very special Kokab!

A riveting read, as clever, subtle and heart-warming as the first one, very human for all the extraordinary perfect exposition of elephant-like post-humans. A book which will, I can’t doubt about it after reading the last sentence (so cruel for the reader…) be followed by a third one. I already can’t wait, so happy to have found, by pure chance, a so special and perfect read for me!

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