Thursday 12 May 2016

Book Review: The Serpent's Head by Bryan Young

The Serpent's Head

The Serpent's Head surprised me. It's not a difficult read, and at first it seems like a simple story. But the more I think about it, the more depth I find in the writing.

The novel follows the stranger called Twelve, a bounty hunter who travels to frontier planets looking for work. When he finds the only survivors of a massacred town, three children, he finds himself on a mission to rescue the fourth survivor.

What was at first slightly frustrating, I grew to appreciate that we're not told everything about the world or Twelve. We're given just enough about him to know his part in the mission is out of character, and his later revelation we understand to be a big turning point in his life.

The world that was created was actually quite well thought out. Young describes how planets become colonized and transformed to suit human life. But what I felt was unique was that he went into the consequences of colonizing these planets. It's something not dealt with in space sci-fi, and I appreciated that. Granted, it's a large part of the novel, but it was almost a side-plot and I would love to read a novel strictly about the mutations. It's something we deal with everyday without even knowing it, but we see it mostly in animals. Some have mutated based on what we're putting into their habitats, and it only makes sense that some humans would, when exposed to certain chemicals, would also mutate depending on their DNA. (I'm a huge Marvel fan, so this reminds me of the Inhumans and their transformation when they come in contact with the terrigen crystals...)

Bryan Young has done a wonderful job creating a universe in which he can set many other novels and never have to use the same characters. But I did rather enjoy how this ended, and would be content with just the one. It's as though it was told a long time ago, and this is the echo of a legend told on other frontier planets.

Buy the book on Amazon

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