Fierce Fantasy Night – Writing Panel Recap

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Edinburgh Seer by Alisha Klapheke

Edinburgh Seer by Alisha Klapheke
Book Name: Edinburgh Seer
Author: Alisha Klapheke
Publisher(s): Self-Published
Formatt: Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Alternate History / Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 16, 2017

Outlander meets National Treasure (thankfully, with no Nic Cage).

Having heard amazing things about Alisha Klapheke’s Uncommon World series, I decided to check out her Edinburgh Seer for two reasons: one, it was the only one of her works available on audiobook; and two, it didn’t occur to me that the story wasn’t epic fantasy. (Yes, I should have been tipped off by the “Edinburgh,” or bothered to look at Amazon’s categories, and maybe read the blurb.) That said, it doesn’t neatly fit into a major subgenre. It is more an alternate history urban fantasy: Earth, but where magic exists, and the United States never won independence from Great Britain.

Talk about impossible fantasies! 1776, Red Coats! Give me liberty or give me death! I have not yet begun to fight! I regret that I have but one life to give to my country!

Whew, wait a moment while I catch my breath and take off my American flag hat, tie, and socks (all a violation of the US Flag Code, not to mention an affront to good taste) and don boxer shorts with the red cross of Scotland. Its long history of opposing the English goes further back than the American colonies’, and is well documented in such historically accurate media as Braveheart and Outlander. In this alternate urban fantasy, the Scots still suffer from the oppression and pine for the return of a king.

Enter Aini, a half-Scottish, half-Indonesian who grew up in the American Colonies. In an occupied land where the authorities suppress magic, she hides her empathic abilities. Daughter of a celebrated candy maker, which experiments with infusing psychedelic compounds into its products (legally!), she is a straight shooting, Type A personality who does everything by the book. When her father is taken captive by collaborators, she must get past her own nature and let impulse, intuition, and moral compass guide her.

Also guiding her is Thane, the handsome, six-pack endowed eye candy oftentimes present in paranormal romance. Only this time with spectacles that he pushes up his nose so often, his nostrils must suffer from rug burn. To add to his geek appeal, he’s intelligent and sports a tattoo with the chemical structure of sugar. He might not be the most reliable of confidantes, since little does Aini know, he is the son of the collaborators, specifically planted in the candy lab for nefarious purposes.

Their adventure to rescue her father drops them in the middle of the collaborators’ plot to instigate a rebellion and change their de facto rule as the English’s dogs to actually rule as Top Dog. Along the way, Aini’s empathic abilities uncover a lush lore, where memories embedded in artifacts lead to clues to a final relic which only the True King of Scotland can use. It’s a little like National Treasure, except that instead of Nic Cage using deep knowledge of American history, it’s Alex Pettyfer and magic.

What struck me most about Edinburgh Seer was the vibrant, visual prose. Klapheke doesn’t use vibrant SAT vocabulary which conveys perfect images, like Alec Hutson; or curses and epithets like Jonathan French. She is more like Phil Tucker in the way she puts together common words with rhythmic prose. The dialog between characters is snappy and witty, with attention to the different word usages between Scots, English, and Americans (and Southerners, in particular). The wonderful quips develop a character chemistry equal to the work done in the candy lab.

For me, there was one glaring shortcoming with the story: as with any alternate Earth story, I want more explanation as to how things came to be: if the American colonies lost their war for independence, what was the final nail in the coffin that kept them from rising up again? Without events like the American Civil War, which led to a rapid development of military technologies that found their way into civilian life, how do people now have guns, commercial flights, televisions, and cell phones? I hope this is explained in future books.

With the wonderful writing, interesting premise, and engaging story, I rate Edinburgh Seer a 9.1112, or about the same I would rate National Treasure if it starred anyone other than Nic Cage.


One Comment

  1. Avatar David says:

    I love a good alternative history story! I have a soft spot for American history AND magic, so this seems right up my alley. I definitely want to check this out. Great review!

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