Dinnusos Rises by Tej Turner (book review).

Dinnusos Rises is a new club in town, gathering place for the fringes of society. Artistic types flock there to enjoy the murals and enjoy the haunting melodies of the house band, Sunset Haze. The political group Taxus Baccata is gaining followers and many of the club’s patrons find themselves caught up in their growing movement. Caught up in this are a group of young adults in their late teens and early twenties, each with a secret they’d rather keep hidden. As worlds collide and the real becomes difficult to distinguish from the unreal, this group of friends must keep each other safe and learn how to use the powers they possess before everything they love is destroyed.

Set over the course of what seems to be a few months, ‘Dinnusos Rises’ by Tej Turner is an unusual blend of urban fantasy, mythology and self-discovery. With eight chapters, each told from a different point of view, the story gradually unfolds from various angles until it reaches a final, fairly satisfying climax at the end. The pacing works pretty well and I found the lack of a consistent narrator to be less irritating than I expected and for this story it fitted nicely. However, I don’t think that the eight voices were distinct enough. Even though most of the characters are introduced in the first chapter, it was never easy to tell which one was telling the story at the start of each new chapter. I found it a little frustrating that I had to wait until someone else mentioned the character name to find out who was narrating, particularly when there were often several pages until that happened.

There’s a heavy dash of the supernatural in here, too, with representations of several mythical figures, characters who have various powers and even a ghost thrown in for good measure. The characters’ powers range from time travel to dream walking, via being able to talk to animals and alter people’s emotions by playing music. It all makes for an interesting mix, but I think I’d have liked it all to be explored in a bit more depth. The time travel in particular felt like it was added in for the sake of it and I couldn’t really work out why it was there.

I also felt that at times I was being preached to about gender equality, acceptance and various moral issues. A lot of it fitted in with the story, but sometimes it just broke up the pacing with sections of exposition and what felt like unnecessary explanations. It’s great that Turner has populated his stories with characters that aren’t just white, heterosexual and cisgender – there should be more of that diversity in fiction – but it did seem at times like some of them were simply there to teach the reader instead of being important to either the character’s development or the way in which the story moved forwards.

All in all, I think I was pleasantly surprised by this fairly short book. It used the multiple POV narrative structure well and the plot tied up nicely. A bit more depth in the characters, perhaps a little paring back on the number of different powers and moral lessons and we’d be in for a top class read.

Vinca Russell

May 2017

(pub: Elsewhen Press. 288 page paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-911409-03-8)

check out websites: www.elsewhen.co.uk/ and http://bit.ly/DinnusosRises

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