Soyala’s Saga
by Rich Donahue
Gotham Books

"Who and what I was no longer exists – or – more properly – now exists as part of a larger whole."

Soyala embarks on an adventure within an adventure, into the origins of her world, which becomes a quest for a new perspective from which to lead her people. With her foster brothers, she travels from their kingdom to see the Creator, Sun King, and find out how the things they see along the way came to be. After plays and feasting at Sun King’s palace, a battle ensues. Afterward, Soyala meets her grandparents, among others, in whose fellowship she searches for her brothers lost in the fight. Learning about and experiencing more of her fraught past along the way, she gains strength to save her brothers and her kingdom’s fate.

The story both begins and ends with a death and rebirth, bookending the many battles in between. The cast of characters is a small group with many different iterations as they die and resurrect. This is just one of several layers through which the story develops. Dreams and plays depict battles and myths of yore. Adding to this dense adventure, illustrations, fancy colored fonts, and a varied layout of words on the page delight multiple senses. Feasts and leisurely picnics—complete with exotic tastes, smells, sounds of nature, and lengthy conversation—measure Soyala’s purposeful pace in trying to save her brothers before it’s too late.

The story can be enjoyed on its own, but indexes in the back can be used to dig into the symbolic meanings of characters, props, and concepts used. Innocent and unused to gentle civilization as The Feral Child is, his many questions and musings offer comic relief and disarm readers overwhelmed by the twisting, multi-level plot. An entertaining fable for all times, the simple plot of good triumphing over evil recasts figures from across time and space in rhapsodic theater.

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