The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky

details
Title: The Seventh Perfection.
Writer(s)Daniel Polansky.
Publisher: Tor.com.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020.
Pages: 176.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9781250767561.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

thoughts

There is only one way to satisfy an irrevocable urge to uncover the truth: you go hunting for answers. It is not the destination that will serve as the driving force of this journey but the desire to eliminate all of the dreaded possibilities that your mind could conceive as you’re left to reflect upon them. Author Daniel Polansky (Low Town trilogy, The Builders) now returns with a brand-new novella that will send readers into a mysterious world where slaves are trained to develop their body and mind to the peak of human performance before becoming the God King’s Amanuensis. However, one woman’s past will send her looking for the truth behind the history of her society prior to kneeling before her destiny.

What is The Seventh Perfection about? The story follows the journey of a woman with perfect memory off to unravel a mystery that will leave severe repercussions on a whole city. Having gone through rigorous training to become the God King’s Amanuensis, she is now hunted down by her fellow servants with their master at risk of unprecedented backlash. Driven with a desire to uncover this secret born from a past that haunts her, she runs into various individuals from different classes within society to obtain answers that could demystify the mythology carefully conceived for their God King while also embarking on a quest of self-discovery through the deconstruction of the truth.

“But then, the ways of men are not the ways of gods, are they?
— Daniel Polansky

In this fantasy mystery, writer Daniel Polansky constructs a fascinating narrative puzzle for readers to discover and indulge. The story offers a unique structure where each chapter is a different individual interacting with you, symbolically representing the protagonist, and all this without a hint of what she asks or tells them. It is thus up to the reader, never given the answer on a silver platter, to piece together this mystery and understand the chain of events as they play out. Without mercifully feeding the reader with extensive world-building, a low-fantasy setting also serves as an ideal background for this ideology-heavy story that seeks to explore politics through an in-depth analysis of the truth, one that is so fragile, taken for granted, and assumed-universal.

While the world in which it is set isn’t the main attraction, this novella succeeds to immerse readers by introducing strange yet delightful characters with singular personalities that allowed each and every one of them to have a life of their own. It is through their discourse that readers must bring to light the protagonist’s identity, her query, and her motives. This thus forces readers to be engaged by the narrative, to seek out the theological, political, and societal climate of this world, just like the protagonist as she tries to grasp the truth behind the God King’s ascension. Despite the pacing behind the story being slow and rocky at first, you are bound to be enchanted by this literary marvel and its quest towards untangling an engrossing mystery.

The Seventh Perfection is a thought-provoking fantasy mystery exploring a society’s mythology and one woman’s journey to uncovering the truth.


EXHIBITA
Thank you to Raincost Books for sending me a copy for review!

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38 thoughts on “The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky

  1. Thanks for another great review, Lashaan. I recently picked up the ebook version of this one after reading some good things about it. I was curious about the interesting structure and whether it would work for me. It sounds like it did for you, or if nothing else didn’t detract too much. Not sure when I’ll start it but I do look forward to trying it myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, you’ve got a physical copy! Lucky you, Lashaan! 😀
    Lovely review as always. I’m very happy you enjoyed this little gem. Though, surprisingly, it seems I enjoyed it more! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! 😀 I requested it just before seeing your thoughts on it and was overly enthused that you adored it so much! I think your overall knowledge of history/war/politics helped you appreciate the underlying themes more than me. I could see myself enjoying this one more upon a reread in the future, for example! 😉 Thanks for reading, Ola! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I can see that I might have overhyped it for you 😀 Well, I lavish praise where I think it’s due, and I heap scorn where I think it’s needed… Like the Longfellow’s girl,
        “When she was good,
        She was very good indeed,
        But when she was bad she was horrid.”
        🤣🤣🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well…call me intrigued! This really sounds like one heck of an interesting read! I like the structure of his: and it also sounds at the same time like a very cool kind of, for lack of a better word, puzzle game. Can’t say that I have ever heard of a book that has this kind of set up. As always, this was yet another great review Lashaan! Really nifty sounding book!😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, well, this sounds like a challenging book, and I always like a challenge! So far I’ve read only a couple of short stories by Polansky, and greatly enjoyed them, so this might be the perfect place to sample some of his longer works: what most intrigues me is the fact that this story seems to enjoy several levels of approach, promising to be more than the sum of its parts.
    Thank you so much for a very intriguing review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a lot of levels of approach. I doubt everyone will have a similar experience with it. The absence of a protagonist’s voice really makes for an engaging and unique reading experience. Hope you get the chance to try it out in the near future! Thank you for reading, Maddalena! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “each chapter is a different individual interacting with you” <— now this got my attention! And the premise is really intriguing! I also like that it gives the reader the opportunity to be part of the protagonist's journey. Glad you enjoyed this! A well-balanced review, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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