Every once in a while, we run across books that we feel our readers would benefit from hearing about. Regeneration X is one such book. I posted this review on Goodreads and am posting it here as well. Interested parties can buy or borrow it for free through KU here: http://www.amazon.com/Regeneration-X-Chronicles-1-ebook/dp/B00VUGO8LK
When it comes to books, I’m caught by two things: prose style and intelligent, complex, believable and somewhat quirky characters. Quotes by Shakespeare in the chapter heads is a big plus, too. “Regeneration X” offers all three. The author has put a great deal of thought into her characters and setting, honing the details to perfection. Better yet (in my opinion), she writes with the incisiveness of a clinician deeply informed by the sensibilities of a poet. This is rare and personally, I would place “Regeneration X” among the top ranks of the literature with which I am acquainted.
I have a dislike of attaching numbers to art. Numbers are very fine things, but the prevalent mania for ranking stuff leads to them slopping over into areas they were never meant to go. One does not understand art “by the numbers” and art is what we have here. So (on reflection), I have rated this 5 stars, up from my original 4, because my original rating attempted (poorly) to express a multiplicity of factors in which personal predilection played an uncertain role: a wish that just a little more heat would have been applied warring with the knowledge that doing so would weaken (and if overdone to the slightest degree, break) the entire work.
In the end, I set aside my feelings and took this story as I feel the author intended, undistracted by my desire to meddle. Hence 5 stars.
Now, having made clear (I trust) how I feel about numerical ratings, it is incumbent on me to explain (or try to) how I feel about this book. The only way I can think to do that is through a parable. (I’m eccentric that way.)
Some years ago, I encountered a man who believed in miracles. He was fervent on the subject and he expected these miracles to arrive “in clouds of Glory.” He said so several times. Aside from the fact that he made miracles sound like they were produced by ILM (I think he could’ve quoted Shakespeare to better effect), I felt he was destined to disappointment.
I felt this way because I also believe in miracles and there was one, lying right there at his feet: a butterfly’s wing. (A red admiral, as I recall.) Seen at extreme magnification, a butterfly’s wing is a thing of remarkable beauty, but this (to me) is the miraculous part: the tiny structures that make it so also allow the red admiral to fly.
But the man had his heart set on miracles being delivered to him by “clouds of Glory,” not the wings of butterflies. And so he left, no doubt hopeful but unfulfilled. I suspect he remains so.
“Regeneration X” is like the wing of that red admiral. First, you have to notice it. Then, you have to pick it up (fortunately it’s not as fragile), and then you have examine it very closely. Finally, you have to think about it, undistracted by cravings for a quick and slippery gratification. Only then, will its beauty and power become accessible.
That is the quiet challenge “Regeneration X” lays at our feet. We can pause in our daily rush to “somewhere” and take it up, or we can go on looking to be dazzled by clouds of glory.
I’m satisfied with my choice. Others will have to make up their own minds.