Friday, March 01, 2024

The Principle of Moments, by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson

Asha Akindele ensures life in the Lower Quarter of planet Gahraan in the year 6066, just about managing not to speak out against the Emperor - a crime punishable by death. In London in 1812, time-traveller Obi Amadi is keen to rekindle his relationship with Prince George, the heir to the throne. Asha and Obi don't yet know that they're part of an ancient prophecy, involving a third "hero"...

I loved this sprawling, rich science-fiction fantasy that hurtles back and forth through time with zip and imagination. The characters and their worlds are well drawn, their lives full of heart-wrenching choices that make for thrilling drama. There are lots of basically good people, trying to do the right thing despite knowing it will hurt others.

A lot of epic space opera features quotations from invented histories to add scale to proceedings. Here, we soon learn that the historian whose work frames much of the adventure - Ishoal Nisomn, ex-acolyte of the Aonian Archives - disappeared in mysterious circumstances. That mystery then becomes an extra thread of the story in a way that works really well.

I'm generally not keen on plots about prophecies where characters are destined to fulfil particular roles or do particular things. That tends to mean they resist but then accept a pre-ordained path, so lack agency of their own. But here, the prophecy is woolly enough, and open to enough interpretation, that we're never quite sure how things will play out.

The Principle of Moments is the first book in The Order of Legends and I'm keen to see where things go next.

No comments: