Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson
Prolific science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson takes a new direction with his latest novel Shaman by setting it in the past, during the ice age.
To pass into manhood Loon must enter the woods and survive alone with no supplies, no shelter or clothing. Everything he needs must be made, scavenged and hunted during his time. At first, he’s scared but as his time surviving alone draws to a close the things he’s seen and the experiences he has been through mean the world to him, turning him into a man in the eyes of his tribe. At twelve years old the trainee Shaman has changed forever and with his future holding love, family, capture and loss, the story is just beginning.
At over 450 pages long Shaman is an incredibly detailed portrayal of life during the ice age. There are a few twists and turns, events which the reader may presume would take up most of the plot. This is strangely incorrect as these moments make up a very small portion of the book, a very moving death scene only taking a couple of pages. In contrast, descriptions of locations and everyday actions such as lighting fires are often far longer. Research into the location has obviously been extensive but the detail often feels unnecessary and distracting from the plot itself. With less repetitive descriptions and language, this could have been a fascinating novel but the length leaves the reader tempted to skim to find the real story hidden within the pages.
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