New World’s Gear by Seb D Law
Matador Young Adult, pb, £8.33
Reviewed by John C. Adams
Here’s a thought. What if young adult fiction was actually written by a young adult?
Matador is the self-publishing arm of Troubador Publishing, and quite a few of their books make their way to the British Fantasy Society review team. Seb D Law is seventeen, and he wrote ‘New World’s Gear’ between the ages of twelve and fifteen. His blurb describes him as a multifandom guy. My reading of his debut novel confirmed my initial impression that this was someone whose teen years had been well spent drenching themself in genre fiction.
In a world where mankind and deities co-exist and which features fantasy and science fiction elements, Bob Solis yearns to become a god. Aeterno might tell him to be careful what he wishes for. His fellow gods agree that being a deity isn’t easy. The immediate war that saw the fall of the Atlas planetary system might be over, but restoring order has been quite a challenge, and there is the ongoing tension between different groups to contend with. Why can’t the elves and dwarves just get along? A peaceful future might require them to be segregated on different planets.
Bob’s love of tech means he starts out with a pretty good idea of what kind of god he’d like to be. Encouraged by Mekanyon, God of Technology, Bob leaves the ennui of education behind (his teacher is called Mr Tedium for a reason) to move from planet to planet and from dimension to dimension, steadily getting closer to his goal.
This book, which I really enjoyed, was more Fusion than Mashup because of the complex ways in which fantasy and science fiction elements were seamlessly united into a single whole. It was very well written. A little more tell than show for my personal taste, but still excellent in style and tone, this was a debut novel any author could be proud to produce.
‘New World’s Gear’ was clearly written by someone incredibly well versed in fantasy and science fiction. It absolutely provided the young adult fan of genre fiction with exactly what they look for. The strongest aspect of ‘New World’s Gear’ lay in its characters. There’s no one better than young adults to create characters in that age range, to know exactly how this group feel and what they care about. Older writers in this market don’t always hit the nail on the head, and altogether too often, young adult fiction smacks of a story your mum wrote. So it was a delight to read a young adult novel written by one of their own.
Good things lie ahead for this talented emerging author.