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The Crooked Letter by Sean Williams - a review

The Crooked Letter is the first book in a new series by Australian author Sean Williams that combines somewhat familiar myths into an eerie tale. Seth and Hadrian Castillo are mirror twin, one is the reflection of the other, a fact that makes them important to the supernatural forces of the world. When Seth is killed, the link he has to Hadrian serves as a bridge between the first and second realms. This connection sparks a cataclysm, just as the powerful alien Yod anticipated when he planned Seth's murder. By merging the two realms, Yod hopes to gain enormous power and rule over all. The novel follows both twins as they try to discover how to heal the cataclysm, Seth in the sometime spooky and surreal second realm Hadrian in the now destroyed first realm.

When I opened the book I expected a more traditional epic fantasy, but what I found was fantasy with a hard edge. The novel has a very dark feel to it, yet I wouldn't categorize it as either horror or dark fantasy. It reminded me a bit of Stephen King's Dark Tower series in that respect. The Crooked Letter drew me in with well drawn characters and imaginative descriptions. The mythos and beings of the realms are interesting, but at times hard to follow (I was happy to find a glossary and character listing in the back!). Although it's never quite clear why Hadrian doesn't commit suicide to prevent the cataclysm from going forward, I truly enjoyed The Crooked Letter.

My Recommendation
Sean Williams' Books of the Cataclysm series is off to a strong start with The Crooked Letter. There is good reason this book won both Best Fantasy Novel in the Aurealis Awards and Best Novel in the Ditmars for 2005 when it was originally published in Australia. This is a great title to add to your reading list!

The Crooked Letter by Sean Williams
Published by Pyr
508 pages

The Crooked Letter is available at Amazon.com

Pyr Publishing provided me with a free review copy of The Crooked Letter

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