Book Review: Symmetry – The Unison of Religion and Science in a Fantasy Universe
Symmetry by T M Caruana is the first book of the fantasy series The Eternal Quest Breaker. Susy has been in CERN all her life, or so she thought, as a part of a research that she thought was to cure her illness. When her only company, her cousin Vic leaves her with a parting gift, she decides to run away from the facility and live the rest of her life if she is to die. The moment she is out of the facility, the life as she knew it turns upside down to only reveal everything she thought she knew was wrong and that she is actually someone else. She is someone important that the universe depends on, and 7 knights have been trying to bring her home for the past 29 years she spent at CERN. She remembers nothing but she has a crucial part to play to save the 7 worlds while discovering who she was before and who has her heart.
I always had a special respect for the creation of complete fictional worlds with their own rules and cultures based on the aspects of our world from religion and mythology, history and traditions to science. And even though overlooked, most of the times the magic of their worlds portray the problems of ours in a brilliant way and Symmetry is no exception. It shows how people’s greed causes the distraction of our world and while knowing this, humans can be extremely selfish and heartless to consider the consequences of their actions; “the world’s downfall caused out of human greed, where they turned their backs on their conscience,” as Caruana says. In many ways, this draws attention to wars, the climate crisis and many more events the humankind bring on themselves. This even applies to today’s pandemic, though this book was written before the emergence of covid and don’t directly address it like other disasters mentioned. Illnesses, physical wars, psychological wars or terrestrial damage, they are all depictions of humans’ destruction of others, each other and eventually, themselves.
Symmetry’s fictional universe brings in, and in a way ties up, all the theories and legends of life. It brings together religion, mythology and science, even classic literature, to form a fictional explanation of the creation of life and everything that happens afterwards. With all these elements Caruana constructs a compelling storyline.
While I am pretty much invested in the story, I couldn’t overlook some of the linguistic and stylistic problems I had with the book. Although the point of view changes are quite common in the genre and I have no problem with them, the change of narrative voice was an aspect that didn’t work well. The switch between first and third-person narrative cause confusion about who the narrator is. It could’ve been assumed as Susy, as she was the only POV with the first person, while the POV of others were in the third person. However, there are moments that she wouldn’t have known about. Although I am a fan of the intimacy of first-person narration, I believe this book would’ve been better in a third-person omniscient narrative. There are examples like Cassandra Clare’s work that show how intimate and almost first-person feeling third person omniscient can be used as.
At times the writing style was too explanatory, I would’ve preferred to be shown certain things than told and there are certain wording that I don’t agree with, especially in the descriptions of self in first-person would sometimes sound like they wouldn’t be used to explain one’s self.
Overall, the story was very captivating, it was a fast-paced read pact with action with never a boring moment. It blends religion, history, mythology, science and classic literature well to create one fictional world that is intertwined with our own which makes the story more interesting. Caruana’s inclusion of certain locations like Turkey (and on top, a part of it that isn’t Istanbul) and Gibraltar that aren’t widely, if ever, mentioned is also applaudable. It was interesting to see them worked into mythology and a new fictional universe. Although there are some issues with the style and language, I found the story quite compelling and I am very eager to read the rest of the series. After that ending, I certainly need to know more.
P.S. Ms. Caruana, if you’re reading this please tell me if (*half-spoiler*) the person that dies at the end stays dead because NOOOO. I mean I guess not, but also possible but I can’t stand the idea…
©️ photo from Truly Trendy PR
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