Wednesday, 4 January 2012
Hexult - Perry Aylen
Author: Perry Aylen
"Hexult" by Perry Aylen is an enjoyable adventure story with the shadings of a post-apocalyptic and dystopian tone. It is firmly aimed at the earlier end of the young adults market although I believe that even younger children will also enjoy having this light and easy going story read to them. The genre of this story was am interesting aspect as I had to decide on if I would call this Science-Fiction or Fantasy. However, as the premise appears to imply the story is set in the Earth at an undefined future date I decided just to lean towards classing this as a Science-Fiction novel.
The story is set on a world where the temperature has dropped substantially and is now mainly covered in ice and people now use boats adapted to slide across the ice rather than sail upon water. On this world there is the land of Hexult which is a collection of islands that poke out of the ice, the islands are kept habitable thanks to the heating effects of various elements of geothermal activity.
When, Aulf a mailman and his crew member, Ingar discover a wreck on the ice they find two survivors, mysterious twins named Jacob and Elya who claim to have come from a land far across the frozen wasteland. These two youngsters have an understanding of science far beyond that of those on the islands and this science is soon mistaken for magic by a people who have forgotten much of the knowledge that may have been known in the past. Very soon, the twins find themselves the centre of fearsome prophecy and their attempts to save both their lives and reputation leads them on an adventure across the frozen wastes to all corners of the Hexult island chain.
I have to admit that I am well past the target age group for this novel but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it as the plot was engaging and moved at a decent rate. The world that has been created by the author is imaginative and exciting although I will say that it was a shame that it felt like the surface has only just been scratched. I now hope that in the proposed sequel we get to uncover even more about this interesting place and the people who live there.
One element I really appreciated was the various utilisations of knowledge and technology thrown into the book regarding things such as compasses, steel, ice lenses, mirrors, etc. I can actually envision children reading this novel and then asking their parents or teachers more about the interesting elements contained. I myself actually went and read up a little bit more on steel production and its history after reading "Hexult". Any book that can inspire the search for more information and knowledge in either me or others is a great thing in my opinion.
I found the main characters to all be rather endearing and there was an innocence present that was quite nice to behold. It really helps to draws you in so that you actually care about them and wish them on to succeed in their various endeavours. However, it did feel like there was something lacking a little in the characters to make them feel fully rounded. Basically, the large amount of innocence present within the various people in the story meant that it was hard to see any other elements personality, especially in regards to charisma. Even some of the various leaders in the isles just seemed to be missing a spark that I would have expected to see. It doesn't spoil the story but it just meant that the characters feel slightly unreal to me.
Overall, this was an enjoyable and interesting adventure story that should appeal to most young readers. I fully intend to read it with my own children when they are old enough to understand it and hopefully it will inspire some interest in the science and technology utilised in the novel. If you are a younger reader who wants to read something different form the current trend in vampires, zombies, etc. then you should give this a try.