ARC Review: No Gods, No Monsters (The Convergence Saga: Book 1)


Cadwell Turnbull's second book is beautifully written and keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next - and to figure out what the heck is going on. There are multiple storylines, multiple types of monsters, multiple universes, and many, many characters. It can be overwhelming and at times seems like a big ball of confusion. In the end though, Turnbull has gotten us to the point where we understand much of what has happened, leaving just enough that's unexplained to set us up for the next book in this new series.

The book is written almost as a flow of consciousness. One thing does seem to easily follow another, though understanding how they are all connected will take patience on the part of the reader. Some may find it a bit of a mess, but I stuck with it and was rewarded to see that there are indeed layers being peeled back slowly. 

On second thought, "stuck with it" is overly harsh. It's so well written that it wasn't a chore at all to keep reading. Just the opposite in fact - I almost couldn't put it down. Yes it was frustrating as one thing built on top of another without, at first, obvious connections. Probably the most frustrating thing is how exactly the first person narrator fits into the rest of the story, and that is one of the last layers revealed. With that said, I really enjoyed the ride and am looking forward to seeing what Book 2 will bring.

There's been a lot of buzz about this book as regards it's LGBT content. One of the main characters is Trans and in an open relationship, and there are references to the sexuality of other characters but I wouldn't say this is a book with an LGBT focus. Rather, it's a book in which the characters are whatever sexuality they are, and that is dealt with matter-of-factly and as just one facet of their stories.

The main characters are also all people of color. The narrator hails from St Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and there are some African-Caribbean ties / origin stories for some of the magic in the book. 

I really enjoyed how Turnbull mixed real characters and real world ideas into the story, and I loved how he used them to ground his more fantastical story ideas. I think there are enough interesting real world ideas rolling around in this book - scientific, political, societal -  to keep someone who's not a heavy SFF fan interested and reading. And if you are anything like me, you'll be pausing to look up some of the people mentioned just to see if they are, in fact, real. 

One last thing - in the credits at the end of the book the author says "the references to The Lesson [his first book] are meaningful." I haven't read The Lesson but now I may have to go back and pick it up to see what he's talking about.

I recommend No Gods, No Monsters for fans of science fiction and fantasy, especially those drawn to stories of monsters and magic. I rate this book Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

NOTE: I received this book through Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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