Reviewed by Shamekia Agnew for Reader Views (10/16)
“Soyala’s Saga: Volume 1 of 2” by Richard Donahue is a story about a Mayan girl, chosen by one of her ancestors to help release her earth-trapped spirit and save her people from an ominous threat.
The author’s writing is poetic and descriptive. He painted beautiful pictures of scenery and feelings, but lacked the substance to maintain interest. The first pages are intriguing, especially where style is concerned, but throughout the story I most often felt lost and confused. I never quite understood what was happening, where it was happening, who it was happening to, or why it was important to the story. It seemed like a bunch of short stories that loosely fit together. I never felt a connection to any of the characters other than a passing curiosity. The story would make a beautiful oral account or play, but needs a person to keep help the audience following along and engaged.
The chapters are short so it’s easy to find stopping points, but keeping up was disorienting as most people had titles instead of names, or nouns like “the boy” or “the warrior.” If the characters did have names, they were slipped in, so sometimes I would have to go back to attempt to understand where that character came from. Reading became more of like a chore than the adventure I was expecting. The book has the potential to be amazing if the author offered a little more stability and structure to the story.
“Soyala’s Saga: Volume 1 of 2” by Richard Donahue could be a fun read for someone looking for a more lyrical style novel, or for a group to take turns reading out loud. It’s not for someone looking to lose themselves in a book for a few hours, or who wants to learn tidbits about Mayan culture and myth. It may be one of those novels you have to revisit a few times to fully appreciate, or needs volume 2 to tie everything together. The story has a charm that made me want to understand it and like it more than I did. The author’s words paint beautiful pictures, but you just never know quite what you’re looking at.