Biesele’s (The Saeshell Book of Time Part 4: The Ceremony of Life, 2014, etc.) latest Saeshell book is his most tangled tale to date.
The sci-fi/fantasy drama continues, opening with a familiar air of foreboding. Clarissa, the titular “Owl from Oblivion,” warns readers, in the disdainful manner of the series’ immortal characters, of the frailties and dangers posed by the human instincts of the central figures in the story. This fifth installment inhabits a world built on overlapping chronologies, with supernatural events and plot revelations featuring nearly all of its complicated characters. The stories feature Stefan, the most powerful alien/human/energy hybrid in existence; his mate, Tova2; his mother, a fairy queen named Anashivalia; Sophistan1, who has the memories of Stefan’s dead father; Stefan and Tova2’s son, Syon; Ty and his best friend, Tyco; the Pauls and Peters from the advanced civilization of Sophista; and many others. Paul25, in response to a major rip in time that Syon caused, transports Stefan, Syon, and others to a new timeline. When they arrive, they have different forms and diminished abilities; Stefan is only 7 years old, for example, and Syon is abused by a villainous adoptive father. They later connect their minds to their previous, supernatural selves and preserve their memories in a shared dream. The author splits the action of the book between the new chronology, in which the young children and a select few guardians advocate for their safety in a hostile world, and the fading dream of the supernatural timeline, riddled with evolving challenges of its own. As in previous books, Biesele uses humanity’s insecurities, lust, brutality, and, very occasionally, capacity for love, as recurring motifs. He also effectively includes revelations about the series’ multiple alien races, such as Sun Gods, Lizards, and Sophistans. However, although this book deepens the worldbuilding of the series, the erasure of the original timeline feels less like a plot advancement and more like a loss for the committed reader.
A choppy fifth installment featuring philosophical musings and a cheekily optimistic conclusion.