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Soldiers of the Sun: Overthrowing Sebau
Ivy Reisner
Amazon Digital Services, 296 pages

Soldiers of the Sun: Overthrowing Sebau
Ivy Reisner
Ivy Reisner is a writer, an obsessive knitter, and a podcaster.

Ivy Reisner Website
ISFDB Bibliography

A review by Sandra Scholes

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In an attempt to create a new story filled with expectation and romance, Ivy Reisner has used Egyptian folklore, myth and the backdrop of this ancient civilization to produce something as unusual as it is believable. She does not take one of the gods that is looked on as beneficent, or in some ways well thought of, she chooses Set, the alleged god of all that is chaotic and destructive in the desert lands. Set in mythology has always been identified with Typhon and other darker gods in older myths, and is often looked on as the villain for his representation as a desert god of storms and destruction. He is nearly always depicted as a composite animal, part jackal with long, erect ears that point to the heavens, and part fictional animal. Why the Egyptians thought to draw or carve him this way, no one knows.

For those who are as interested in the myth of Set as I am, a look at the Kieth Publications blog is advisable as it tells all about the god and his exploits.

In this story, the opposite is true -- he is the hero who fights off the enemy of Naomi as he would Apep from the sun god's royal barque. So even though he was a demonized god, he had a singular heroic role as a protector of Amen Ra. However, his is a far cry from being considered a murderer and causer or storms and destruction.

Set, in this case, is a god who has set his sights on a young woman. He has taken an interest in her, and it isn't just a minor crush, he is in it for the long haul after seeing how Naomi is unhappy with her life. She starts out as uninterested in his advances, and even indifferent to them, but she soon comes to understand him more than she thinks later on. Her interest in him only grows when she finds out what he can do, and how he can try and understand a woman like Naomi even though, as a god, he has not had that much exposure to humans. She thinks it can be hard to understand her, let alone love her, but he has enough time to convince her that he is in love with her. They have a comical relationship, one where he teases her for not believing in him and his powers. She cringes at what he says, but the reader might get the feeling he cares for her more than he lets on. She sees him as some kind of nuisance for being around her at the start, but once their love grows, she has a feeling he can stop a nearing catastrophe.

The catastrophe has more to do with her, as Sebau has placed a god-killing knife, inside her body, and this is where she has to have Set help her overthrow Sebau and save the sun from imminent destruction. This aside, and the god aspects of the novel, Reisner has used a lot of what has happened around Naomi to influence her decisions. Her former school friend has always been involved in abusive relationships, and this realisation prevents her from having good relationships with men in general. So in a way, Set has to be annoying and persistent with her if he wants to get her to love him.

This is a fantasy romance novel with a difference. It uses an existing god and puts him against someone who knows who he is supposed to be, and is astonished at what he could be. It is a refreshing tale of friendship turning into love and proves that a god can fall in love with a mortal.

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes has enjoyed writing some short stories recently, and might post them up somewhere nondescript for people who might want to read themůmaybe. Within all this chaos about Set she has written for Diverse Japan, The British Fantasy Society, Active Anime and many, many more.


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