Reviewed by Shona Kinsella
Creation is the story of the artists of Shanora, people who have the ability to bring their artistic creations to life. This is a fascinating kind of magic and over the course of the story we see everything from flowers to humans created and brought to life.
Shanora is a city, ruled by someone calling himself The Emperor (despite not having an empire) and surrounded by reportedly hostile neighbours. As a result, they are lacking in resources and all artists are confined to the palace where they are tasked with creating resources for the city. The story follows a group of artists who are determined to escape the emperor’s regime and find freedom.
Creation is based around a great idea and the plot is, overall, quite effective. Unfortunately, it falls short of its potential. The writing itself shows promise but needed some more editing before publication. The book is littered with grammatical mistakes and badly constructed sentences. I found myself copyediting in my head as I read, which prevented me from ever really being able to get caught up in the story.
Some of the world building is strong – the magic for example – but in other places it is inconsistent. An emperor who rules over a city. No sign of electricity or central heating but there are showers. A lack of resources, but what these are is never detailed and no-one appears to be going hungry. The artists are kept in the palace to create resources for the city, being kept away from their families to ensure the comfort of other citizens but they are generally reviled by the rest of the population. A reported threat from other cities but no actual signs of this in the story.
There are all these wonderful threads that are never fully developed or explored. Lots of lost opportunities.
The twist at the end was fairly predictable and didn’t feel earned through the text. Most of the characters were under-developed so that in the final confrontation, when some of the group fall, there was no real emotional impact. None of them stuck with me enough for me to care when they died.
I saw a lot of potential in this book. The author has come up with some great ideas and she started to build a unique story here and despite the flaws I’ve mentioned here, I did want to keep reading to the end.