Birds of Lore: (Book 1) Silver Paperback Edition by Ryan Durney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Birds of Lore by Ryan Durney (nickle(digital)edition)
Birds of Lore is one of those disturbingly alluring books. Though I'm not sure that I would have bothered with it had I not found it on Scribd. The art brings it to a serious adult level while the nature of the stories seem more like myths and fables set out as though they are part of a journal.
This book starts with an interesting poem entitled Here there be monsters. It has a recurring line Here there be... that never quite finishes though we get the point. The interesting thing about the incompleteness of this line is that it should warn us about the book.
This is part of a series that begins with the first a one of two about birds. The first bird is from a dream giving a clue to her location at the Garden of Iriy which prompts our Mythologist to hop in his Machine: the Omni Inter-dimensional Traveler. In the blurb it mentions it is stolen technology, but there is no clue of that in the first part of this book.
For the second bird; he enlist help in locating them, this time the help of a necromancer because these birds are associated with death. In the story this does not go well for the necromancer and this sets the pace for the rest of the book; in that every helper he enlists seems to end up being as expendable as the next tissue in the box. From here the Mythologist moves forward to strange different mythological birds. Each bird associates in some way with an erotic image of a woman and the graphic depictions seem to confirm this. At some point along the way the Omni is mentioned and seems to be used to convey him on occasion in this journey.
Each creature in each leg of his journey pose a threat to the Mythologist though it seems mostly fatal to those who assist him and he is somehow able to escape harm. Up until now most of this seems to take place in some altered past where he can blend his reality with myths to meet these legendary creature. When thing seem to get too tough he decides to head to the future for some more technological help in finding his legends. We can only guess that the future he goes to might be a past to his origin.
Emerging technology in 2313 catches his eye and he enlists Cale Corbett, a college student, to help him break into the technology. It promises to be able to use a painting and his imagination to create a virtual experience with another legendary bird.
This first part of the book seems to be set up to showcase the Myths and the authors knowledge of the myths mixed with the creation of a strange story about these birds and Myths. And since the birds themselves show up in the interior art panels that seems to lend some weight to their part in the story. This sets the emphasis on the illustration and the myth rather than the prose. So far the style of the writing keeps us distanced from the narrator and we really learn little about this person other than he is a dangerous person to hang around. Things do not go well for Cale Corbett. It's very difficult to tell if it's the birds or the technology or himself that are to blame for this.
The Mythologist seems to back-peddle for the second chapter going for more conventional birds and their myths. It is hard to tell if this might be because of what happened or just the next progression in the character's search. After the somewhat brief respite the Mythologist is able and willing to search out the mind exploration technology again. Here he enlist two people-perhaps with the hope there is safety in numbers. Dr. Braxton and Ivy Lane come from the future well after the mind exploration technology has been replace. All three go back to a turning point in history where they can use some of the functional mind technology to help create a virtual world where they can meet some of the birds the Mythologist is searching for.
This is where the story slips into Alice and Wonderland mode as the Eph-(the mind device) and the three adventurers begin the strange journey. For me this is where the story really begins. The rest seems to be some sort of introduction to get you to this point.
Though I find the illustrations to be superior and the mythology to be of interest I have to admit that when it began to gain momentum into a full blown story I was at a loss as to try to figure out what the main plot was and even some of the subplots. Somewhere in here we get a better notion that the Omni Inter-dimensional Traveler might be stolen and we can't refute that because of the Mythologists propensity to purloin other technology for his purpose. There is mention (several times)of the phrase "much wants more and loses all." from the goose that laid the golden egg- so perhaps that is the theme that hatches the plot that's gone missing.
So there's the illustrations and the special take on mythology that I could give high marks for but the attempt to bring it together into a sort of story or overall fable falls short because the story telling pales to the rest. So this makes a nice picture book with fables and perhaps a cautionary tale buried somewhere within that could have been brightened up with slightly more characterization giving the reader more sympathy and investment into the Mythologist.
And though one could say that the illustrations and the take on mythology can carry the books, it would seem the books of the series are to be connected by the presence of the Mythologist ( But I don't know that for certain.)
The Time traveling technology thief using Mind altering technologies and traversing into alternate times and earths creates a fantastic backdrop for huge possibilities that I'm not sure were fully taken advantage of, but I recommend this to any of those who like to delve into thoughtful pieces of whimsy for entertainment and edification.
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