Title: The Seventh Perfection.
Writer(s): Daniel Polansky.
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
There is only one way to satisfy an irrevocable urge to uncover the truth: you go hunting for answers. It is not the destination that will serve as the driving force of this journey but the desire to eliminate all of the dreaded possibilities that your mind could conceive as you’re left to reflect upon them. Author Daniel Polansky (Low Town trilogy, The Builders) now returns with a brand-new novella that will send readers into a mysterious world where slaves are trained to develop their body and mind to the peak of human performance before becoming the God King’s Amanuensis. However, one woman’s past will send her looking for the truth behind the history of her society prior to kneeling before her destiny.
What is The Seventh Perfection about? The story follows the journey of a woman with perfect memory off to unravel a mystery that will leave severe repercussions on a whole city. Having gone through rigorous training to become the God King’s Amanuensis, she is now hunted down by her fellow servants with their master at risk of unprecedented backlash. Driven with a desire to uncover this secret born from a past that haunts her, she runs into various individuals from different classes within society to obtain answers that could demystify the mythology carefully conceived for their God King while also embarking on a quest of self-discovery through the deconstruction of the truth.
“But then, the ways of men are not the ways of gods, are they?”
— Daniel Polansky
In this fantasy mystery, writer Daniel Polansky constructs a fascinating narrative puzzle for readers to discover and indulge. The story offers a unique structure where each chapter is a different individual interacting with you, symbolically representing the protagonist, and all this without a hint of what she asks or tells them. It is thus up to the reader, never given the answer on a silver platter, to piece together this mystery and understand the chain of events as they play out. Without mercifully feeding the reader with extensive world-building, a low-fantasy setting also serves as an ideal background for this ideology-heavy story that seeks to explore politics through an in-depth analysis of the truth, one that is so fragile, taken for granted, and assumed-universal.
While the world in which it is set isn’t the main attraction, this novella succeeds to immerse readers by introducing strange yet delightful characters with singular personalities that allowed each and every one of them to have a life of their own. It is through their discourse that readers must bring to light the protagonist’s identity, her query, and her motives. This thus forces readers to be engaged by the narrative, to seek out the theological, political, and societal climate of this world, just like the protagonist as she tries to grasp the truth behind the God King’s ascension. Despite the pacing behind the story being slow and rocky at first, you are bound to be enchanted by this literary marvel and its quest towards untangling an engrossing mystery.
The Seventh Perfection is a thought-provoking fantasy mystery exploring a society’s mythology and one woman’s journey to uncovering the truth.