The Eye of Ra: A Big Backstory

the-eye-of-raThe First was an superhero action drama that set up a universe. Evo Uprising was another action drama that developed that universe, fleshing it out some. I enjoyed both very much.

The third book in the series, The Eye of Ra, by Kipjo Ewers, is a little different. It’s something of a prequel side-story, developing this universe, figurative and literal, even further, delving into the corners which were alluded to but not seen in the first two novels. It sets up the overarching conflict and explains the significance of recent events on Earth in intergalactic political terms.

Also, it’s not nearly so action-oriented, coming out more as a drama than an adventure. An emotional drama, to be sure, but, still, a drama. Most of the tension revolves around talking rather than fighting, and, quite honestly, most of the tension is simply gone by the end of the story, but it remained entertaining anyway.

The story follows Lawrence Danjuma, the man who becomes known as the titular Eye of Ra in Uprising. It begins at his lowest point in life, when he is a drug addict, on the verge of dying and actually wanting to do so. The world was not kind to him once, it was very unfair, and he succumbed to its cruelty. He became the very worst version of himself, and he knew it. But in the middle of his darkest hour, at his most destructive and self-destructive, fate hands him salvation. Or, rather, he witlessly steals a family heirloom that becomes his salvation.

Having wandered right into the heart of an ancient, ongoing story concerning god-like aliens, injustice both on Earth and among the stars, and his own surprising heritage, Lawrence grows very quickly as a person. Rather, he reclaims the pieces of his old self, now stronger for what he has survived, and becomes his best self. That, in particular, is something I can appreciate.

Besides the story, I really enjoyed the universe. In particular, Ewers obviously set up his primary alien world as a sort of personal utopia, where the warriors are strong, the rulers are brave, wise, and virtuous, the people live in peace, the entire civilization is basically one really big, loving family… and the clothing is decidedly not modest, I notice. Not judging, now. Just noticing. Heh. πŸ˜‰

In telling the story and exploring this universe, Ewers also explains a great deal of backstory. Revealing the true origin of superpowers in The First takes the form of a story that influences Lawrence’s immediate circumstances and choices. The same story reveals future foes, ancient beings returning to life. In developing the system of rules that a number of interstellar powers are obligated to abide by, Ewers reveals more enemies and their greedy motives. In short, he’s using The Eye of Ra to give us all the information we need to know before he continues the rest of the series, where our protagonists will have multiple enemies of various natures to contend with. About the only good news is, they won’t be alone.

And all of this is basically used to explain how Lawrence Danjuma becomes not only the Eye of Ra, but the man that his father always knew he could be. That personal connection, I think, is the best part of the story.

So, to end this brief review:

Rating: 8 stars out of 10.

Grade: B-Plus.

And I am still very interested in following the rest of this series as it comes out! πŸ™‚

 

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