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Book review: Destiny, questions, mystery come together in 'Requiem'

“REQUIEM,” by Ken Scholes, Tor Books, $27.99, 400 pages (f)

"Requiem" is the fourth book in Ken Scholes' five-book Psalms of Isaak series, which is in post-modern earth world filled with elements of sci-fi and fantasy thousands of years into the future. Throughout the series, Scholes has woven a complicated and multi-layered plot that stars a cast of 10 or more characters, each on a separate role that plays out like chess pieces on a board against a much larger and bigger plot line.

"Requiem" introduces a new character — a young girl named Marta who finds a mystery metal man who can't remember who he was, but is haunted by his bloody dreams and memories.

In another part of the land, Rudolfo is faced with being outnumbered and outsmarted by the leaders and ambassadors of the mysterious Crimson Queen. Jin Li Tam finds herself on a separate journey with their son Jakob on a ship filled with the Blood Guard, being educated to the ways and beliefs of the Y'Zirite gospel.

After receiving news about the possibility that the Watcher may still be alive, Winters launches on her own quest with Charles in search of the Final Dream while Nebs, in the care of Petronus, finds himself on the moon searching for the Moon Wizard's Tower. And finally, Vlad Li Tam, Jin Li Tam's father, finds himself in care of a magical staff that allows him to do what he wishes in more ways than one.

Scholes has written a story that is enjoyable to read and is mainly character development, which allows the reader to connect more with the story. Scholes uses a unique writing structure, quickly shifting between various points of view and plot lines within the same chapter, and the reader can stay caught up in the multi-layered plot lines without getting lost in the details and having to go back and reread past events.

He plays around with the concepts and explores the ideas of bad and good, faith and obedience, technology advancements and traditional ideas, politics and moral consequences, and what it means to be human in the giant tapestry called life. Not everything is black and white and answers to many questions are only revealed one step at a time, maintaining the illusion that there is something bigger going on than the characters or the reader may understand.

Although it is evident that Scholes is a mastermind at creating an epic saga filled with mystery, suspense, well-developed characters and a driven plot line, there are a few disappointments. All of the characters are separated and have found different paths and destinies to follow. This creates an atmosphere where the story line is spread far and wide with very little connection until much later in the story. There are a few sexual innuendos, vulgar language, descriptions of blood rituals and other graphic scenes.

And it's probably best, but not necesarily essential, to have read the previous books in the series to understand previous prophecies and journeys. There is a glossary of characters and terms in the back to help clarify any questions.

Overall, it is an interesting read and well-written novel for fans of sci-fi and fantasy novels.

If you go ...

What: Ken Scholes book signing

When: Tuesday, June 25, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, kenscholes.com

Lauren Zachary is a recent college graduate from Southern Utah University with an English degree. She works at a local city library while working towards obtaining a master's of library science. She has founded and contributes often to cedarscene.com