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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Author-Producer Reviews Metaphysical Fantasy

Title: Dark Innocence (The Star-Seer's Prophecy, Book 1)
Author: Rahima Warren
Author's Web site link:
Genre or category: Epic Fantasy/Metaphysical
ISBN-10: 0981627838
ISBN-13: 978-0981627830
Reviewed by Harris Smart originally for the bi-monthly e-zine called Contents (

Dark Innocence is the story of a therapeutic journey cast in the form of a fantasy novel. It is the first volume in a trilogy The Star-seer’s Prophecy. Rahima Warren, a Subud member and psychotherapist writes, “Wishing to share what I have learned on my journey, I originally thought I might write a self-help book or a memoir. But what emerged – unplanned and in a creative, passionate torrent – was this fantasy trilogy.”

The true import of the book is summed up by a quotation at the beginning from Viktor Frankl, the concentration camp survivor, “What is to give light must endure burning”, because it is a narrative about the healing ordeal its hero, Kyr, must undertake in order to find his humanity after a life which has begun in the most hellish of circumstances.

Kyr has been born into world dominated by an all-powerful sorcerer, the Soul-Drinker, who has banished its rightful divine power, the Goddess, and turned it into a horror of suffering and evil.

The Soul-Drinker’s power is resisted by The Circle, a secret group who seek to overthrow the sorcerer. They are inspired by an ancient prophecy promising the arrival of an heroic Savior. Kyr is this unlikely source of redemption. Born and raised as a slave of the Soul-Drinker, subject to a life of cruelty and degradation, he manages to break free and to begin a process of becoming human within the wisdom and protection provided by The Circle.

As a fantasy narrative, this novel can take its place amongst Tolkien and the best of science fiction writers such as Ursula LeGuin.  It is a well-sustained, exciting and suspenseful narrative written in a lucid and powerful style. As one comment on the book says, “This riveting story is a call to awaken, to face the unfaceable and to find the heart of humanity.”

In his work with The Circle, Kyr undergoes a series of encounters and lessons which gradually lead him away from his life of addiction and savagery. He moves beyond the abuse he has suffered to repent of his wrong actions, to overcome guilt and shame, to put self-hatred behind him, to learn human qualities such as kindness, forgiveness, compassion, joy and love. At the end of this journey he is able to create a work of art and to resolve that his future journey is to bring to others the liberation he has himself experienced.

The author includes an Afterword in which she provides some questions and guidelines ‘To help in deepening your experience of the book and how it has affected you”. This book certainly invited me to reflect on my own journey and the extent to which I could relate to the process which is expressed through its symbols, metaphors, actions and characters. While Kyr’s situation is an extreme one, I feel that most people will find in the story a journey towards redemption which will touch on their own.

It should be stressed that this is a book which deals with adults themes and includes moments of violence and both the distortion and the beauty of sexuality, all pointing ultimately towards an outcome of human wholeness.

The ancient prophecy foretells that Kyr must undergo three hells and this first book of his inner journey is just the first. The remaining two books of the trilogy will tell of the others.

The final paragraph of the Afterword draws our attention to the fact that each individual journey of healing also contributes to the healing of the macrocosm. “Dark Innocence” takes place in a fictional society, and yet it may show us something about what we might heal, change and develop in our own society. For example, how might we devote more energy towards healing and forgiveness, and less towards punishment and vengeance? How could that change our society overall?”

About the reviewer:

Harris Smart:  BA(hons), MA, author of 7 books, fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University; University lecturer, producer with Australian Broadcasting corporation; and of theatre events and music festivals. He is also Director of the Centre for Creative Ministries, bringing together art, spirituality, and healing and
curator of 7 art exhibitions (focus on art of spirituality or work of disadvantaged people)

Submitted by:

Beth Barany | Author, Speaker & Creative Consultant for Authors & Publishers
Oakland, CA 

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.


Beth Barany said...

I really liked this book! And the author is doing a lovely giveaway now too at her site:

Rahima said...

Thanks, Beth! And my thanks to Carolyn for hosting this review of my book.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

It was very nice working with you both. I love providing this alternative to the typical review sites. I've had reviewers, readers, publishers and authors themselves particpate. Even authors' publicists. It's been wonderful!