It’s the end of the universe, and everything has come undone. Entropy has won the war, but one last battle rages in the half-ruined city of Testament.
No one knows who created this last outpost and peopled it with billions of species. However, it is here, under a sky with no stars, that the last remnants of life in the universe live, love, and pray to their many gods. It is here where Godrich Felstrom dies.
Most residents of Testament care little for the affairs of a single, fragile human, but the event brings back bad memories for Heironymous Xindii.
It has been many years since the dreamurlurgy professor discovered his true potential and doomed four people in the process. Now, he lectures to bored students who dream of the many pleasures Testament has to offer. Xindii, on the other hand, becomes obsessed with the mysterious Godrich and his missing soul. As he and his valiant companion, the Neanderthal Solomon Doomfinger, look back at Felstrom’s last steps, they discover the shocking truth about Felstrom’s death, his destiny, and the future of Testament and all those angels, demons, liars, and dreamers who call it home.
Surreal. Unpredictable. Wild. These are the words that come to mind when I think about this book. How do I even describe it?
Entropy has won the war and undone The Universe. Bizarre creatures, both human and inhuman, live in Testament, the last, half-ruined, outpost of life. Under a sky with no stars, amongst angels, demons, and dreamers. And dreams have the power to reshape reality. Or destroy it.
Heironymous Xindii, a dremurlurgy professor, investigates the case of a murder and a missing soul. Together with his friend, the Neanderthal Solomon Doomfinger, they discover the unsettling truth about the future of the Testament. Or, rather, its lack of the future.
It’s a trippy trip through a bizarre world that somehow resists creeping entropy. A spark of a unique creative thought makes it unlike every other novel out there. Watson invents a vivid, surprising world that abounds in mystical characters and fantastic ideas.
The concepts of dremurlurgy, genetic architecture, reverie prisons, sentient gospels, xelofremanine (a drug giving access to reality-shaping dreams. A HUGE oversimplification on my part) felt new. Dreamurlurgy allows to create and mould from the subconscious and project it into reality. People die from phantom bullets, or get lost in never-ending reveries. Characters include the Neandertal with IQ above 4000, a hard-boiled cop with stone skin (named Brick), Krakens, and even god himself. Xindii is a drug addict prone to flights of sociopathic fancy. We get to know parts of his story, but I can’t say I understand him.
The author proves many times his imagination is wild and untamed. He chucked the rulebook out of the window and drove over it. His work is genuinely innovative and bewildering, but also perplexing. It demands concentration and the right mood; otherwise, casual infodumps and non-linear plot-progression risk to discourage the reader. Especially if they expect straightforward answers. Spoiler alert – they’re not coming.
Though immersive and fascinating, this book is not without flaws. Initially, it feels directionless and the storyline’s unconventional structure may add to the feeling of confusion. It moves in vignettes, through shifting points of view and moments in time. Fear not, though. The storytelling soon smoothes out, and things start to make sense. I needed around 100 pages to get drawn into Watson’s narrative, but not everyone has the patience for it.
Watson’s stylistic choices will divide readers. Some will love his sophisticated vocabulary. Some will loathe it. And his passion for adjectives and overly dramatic lines (“Her cheeks turned red. Eyes like target marks in a sniper’s sight.”) will drive them mad. Violence, horror, and death suffuse the book, and it portrays many forms of abuse some readers will find disturbing. Ultimately, though, it’s the book about the power of friendship and stories. It becomes clear the closer we get to the mind-blowing ending.
Despite flaws, the ideas introduced in The Boy Who Walked too Far are deeply thought-provoking and fascinating. Those who enjoy intellectually challenging and conceptually unique novels will be thrilled. Dom Watson’s imagination is awe-inspiring, and his storytelling skills are sound. I will definitely follow the series.
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