Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Lost Puzzler

The Lost Puzzler by Eyal Kless
HarperCollins: 1/8/19
eBook review copy; 528 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062792433
The Tarakan Chronicles #1

The Lost Puzzler by Eyal Klessis a highly recommended YA post-dystopian yarn which excels in world building.

Over a century has passed since the Catastrophe that caused the fall of the Tarakan empire. Whatever caused the disaster was, it left humans almost extinct, and changed.  Survivors have either returned to rural, agrarian, orthodox lifestyles or live in destroyed cities full of warring guilds, and mercenaries, City people live in slum-like environments while trying to adapt to using technology they don't understand while scavenging for more old tech. The Guild of Historians has sent a scribe out in search of the story of Rafik. Rafik is a boy who was born marked and is one of a rare kind- a puzzler. A puzzler is a person who is used as a key to open doors that can only be accessed by quickly solving a puzzle.

The Lost Puzzler will hold your attention and is descriptive and exciting without vividly describing the more gruesome aspects of the grim under-belly that would certainly be present in this society. Klessis provides plenty of details about the inner workings of the current society, including depictions of the remains of tech and weapons they use, but don't totally understand. This is a very different civilization and Klessis does an excellent job creating a picture of this world and how the current survivors are living in this world. The care taken with this world building will pay off in future stories. The characters are well-developed and fully fleshed out. They all have distinct personalities, including strengths and weaknesses.

The main problem with The Lost Puzzler is its protracted length. Several aspects of the search for Rafik and his backstory could have been edited down. The narrative does begin to drag in the middle. This is a debut novel and the length may be indicative of that as I am guessing Klessis wanted to get as many of the descriptions, twists, discoveries, fights, and people he could into this novel. In the end it is a captivating and entertaining novel, albeit a bit over-long. 

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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