Review of Children of Artifice by Danie Ware

I was given the privilege of receiving an early copy of Danie Ware’s upcoming novel, Children of Artifice, which is available for pre-order on Amazon. Here is a review I wrote about it.

children

Children of Artifice is one of those novels where, from the very beginning, it is hard to know what to expect (and I mean that in a good way!).

Set within an enigmatic second world, where humans live within a secular city-state nestled within a gigantic crater, knowing nothing of what exists beyond the impassable ridge which surrounds them except for that they were placed there by a mythic race of mysterious beings known as the ‘Builders’ long ago, one could at first suspect that it is going to be a YA thriller of intrigue and discovery. The age it is set in appears to be historic, and yet the rich amalgam of technology and alchemy which sets the scene cannot be pinned to any particular age, and there is also magic. It has elements of fantasy and science fiction, but they have been blended together seamlessly and do not jar.

The author has described it as an ‘urban fairy tale’, which is very fitting. It does have that feel of old and new. It is quite gritty at times, and yet full of beautiful moments.

I do not want to say too much about the plot, because it is a novel which surprises you at every turn and right up until the very end, it is impossible to predict what is going to happen because there are always several paths it could take. So I will speak instead of its other features.

One of its focal themes is family – both the ones people are born with and ones they create for themselves – and the relationships between the characters are filled with nuances which are tender, tragic, uplifting and everything in between. Society – how it controls those within it, and the many ways (positive and negative) which people rebel – is another central theme, and there are some interesting parallels which can be drawn with our present day. It has a wonderfully crafted, vivid setting, and complex, believable characters that come alive from the pages and leave a lasting impression.

I am particularly pleased with this novel’s diverse voices. Both same-sex and heteronormative romances take place during the story but none are presented as being particularly shocking and the characters are never given labels, and yet it still examines issues of identity, prejudice, and sexual fluidity which are relatable to a modern day reader. It is refreshing to read a novel written in such a way.

Children of Artifice has a fantastic story, one I would recommend to readers of any genre and age. It conjures beautiful imagery and puts you in a state of living dream, taking you on an emotional journey which stays with you. I am looking forward to the sequel.

 

Published by Tej Turner

Tej Turner is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and its sequel Dinnusos Rises was released in 2017. Both of them were described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has also had short stories published in various anthologies. He has since branched off into writing epic fantasy with a novel called Bloodsworn published in early 2021. The first in his ‘Avatars of Ruin’ series. Tej Turner has spent much of his life on the move and does not have any particular place he calls ‘home’. For a large period of his childhood, he dwelt within the Westcountry of England, and he then moved to rural Wales to study Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter. After completing his studies, he moved to Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. He is also an intermittent traveller who every now and then straps on a backpack and flies off to another part of the world to go on an adventure. So far, he has clocked two years in Asia and a year in South America. He hopes to go on more and has his sights set on Central America next. When he travels, he takes a particular interest in historic sites, jungles, wildlife, native cultures, and mountains. He also spent some time volunteering at the Merazonia Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ecuador, a place he hopes to return to someday.

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