Review – The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord

Posted: July 6, 2015 in Sci-Fi
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Karen Lord’s latest is such a meandering, poetically wonderful piece of work that it bears reading the blurb first before I ham-fist a review that may be more confusing than helpful…

On the verge of adulthood, Rafi attends the Lyceum, a school for the psionically gifted. Rafi possesses mental abilities that might benefit people . . . or control them. Some wish to help Rafi wield his powers responsibly; others see him as a threat to be contained. Rafi’s only freedom at the Lyceum is Wallrunning: a game of speed and agility played on vast vertical surfaces riddled with variable gravity fields.

Serendipity and Ntenman are also students at the Lyceum, but unlike Rafi they come from communities where such abilities are valued. Serendipity finds the Lyceum as much a prison as a school, and she yearns for a meaningful life beyond its gates. Ntenman, with his quick tongue, quicker mind, and a willingness to bend if not break the rules, has no problem fitting in. But he too has his reasons for wanting to escape.

Now the three friends are about to experience a moment of violent change as seething tensions between rival star-faring civilizations come to a head. For Serendipity, it will challenge her ideas of community and self. For Ntenman, it will open new opportunities and new dangers. And for Rafi, given a chance to train with some of the best Wallrunners in the galaxy, it will lead to the discovery that there is more to Wallrunning than he ever suspected . . . and more to himself than he ever dreamed.

The Galaxy Game is an awe inspiring study of human relations both large scale and small. From the innocent and sweet interactions of new friendship to the cultural and political clashes between differing interplanetary factions, this is a novel that moves and flows under the beat if it’s own drum.

Lord’s style is very different from the action packed machinations of normal space operas. It has a lyricism and poetry that is engrossing, and a descriptive palette that draws amazing pictures for the reader to ponder. The Galaxy Game employs a number of different perspectives and ways of presenting those character arcs, from the first person to the third person and each thread weaves into a strange and beautiful narrative. It is one that considers the socio-political upheaval of terrorism, the responsibility of humanity couched within cultural and economical society but also of the individual and his/her own story of love,loss and growth in the chaos of this sublime greatness that is life.

Karen Lord is clearly amazingly talented and her work is highly worth reading and taking the time to consider. This is not a novel to tear through on the train but one to linger upon and unravel. The effort will be rewarded tenfold.

Review copy
Published by Jo Fletcher Books


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