In Ponsonby’s debut sci-fi fantasy, a mother, her son, and their pets wind up in another world, joining the fight against an evil overlord threatening entire planets, including Earth.
Marah’s pursuit of insolent, 9-year-old son Micca takes an unexpected turn when trailing pets opt for chasing Barat, a bandicoot who’s watching the action and narrating the book. This culminates in Micca, dogs Pius and Faithful, and cat Oscara disappearing into a hole at a tree’s base. Marah, canine Missy, and Barat eventually find the same entrance, which seems to suck them in. The other side is a strange place: Marah’s suddenly white-haired and dressed as a kung fu fighter, while Missy and Barat transform into humans. They encounter small, furry creatures—Lagnarhs—each assigned to a human as a personal guardian. In this world, Enevah, one month is a mere minute on Earth, so Micca and the rest have been there for over a year and training hard. Lagnarh Repuna explains that Micca and his family, whether human being or animal, were somehow drawn to Enevah to complete a mission. Marah, Missy, and Barat’s mission is to locate the eight Diamonuses of Ecifercas on various planets to save Earth and Yortagurp from the nefarious Dretha, who’s been creating slaves by stealing free will. Marah, however, first wants to ensure the safety of Micca, who is on his own operation with Pius, Faithful, and Oscara on planet Efeil. The author’s imaginative novel boasts zany names, like the Mifarrayz Council, complete with a helpful pronunciation guide at the end. Ponsonby’s prose is suitably colorful; a Biotagar, for example, is a creature sporting “three irregularly shaped humps,” “a pointed nose,” and a “wispy beard.” A focus on Missy, however, proves a detriment. Her endless barrage of snarky one-liners, primarily insulting Barat, is initially funny but grates once she starts using insults like “retard” and mocking others for presumed oddities (i.e., more than two eyes). Also, Ponsonby often uses italics for words that don’t need emphasis: “we could only begin to imagine what magnificent craftsmanship took place here.” Nevertheless, the epic scope should delight readers, as the search for the eight Diamonuses is an adventure just commencing.
A series sure to spark interest among genre fans, particularly if the spotlight hits a few more characters.