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AmberJ

Following the Leader (Amber J.)

Just along for the ride

The Devil's Garden - Jane Kindred "Boy." The word stopped him in his tracks as he stepped into the passageway. No one had called him that since he was twelve. "I need your name, to send word." Nesre's eyes held flat disinterest, dismissing any evidence of Ume Sky’s existence."It’s Cillian. Cillian Rede."Every good thing that everyone has already said about this book is absolutely true.I only have one main complaint (which I also think someone has already stated): This should have been a full-length novel. Even though there were just a few plot lines, there was enough material to fill a couple hundred pages, and the writing flowed so well that I could have read Kindred's words for hours. (Kindle Immersion Reading and a narrator with a very intriguing voice also deserve credit for this enjoyable experience)This captivating story of a time long ago in a land far away was filled with ideas that are relevant even today: fact versus myth, erosion of traditional values in a secular world, murder, corruption, betrayal, sexual fluidity and gender equality, disillusionment with government and religion. But having this all condensed into an 82-page novella, means there wasn't much room too elaborate. There was so much more I wanted to know, especially about the steampunk aspect of this society. I'm not saying I felt like I read an unfinished story, just an incomplete one (I hope that makes sense).I really really liked all of the main characters, which almost never happens. Because the third person POV follows Ume/Cillian, I was satisfied with his backstory, but I would have loved to know more about Cree and the Meer of In'La. The Meer was awesome - I do believe he was magical, but each reader must come to their own conclusion. "I create many things here. Whether art or invention, I find it more satisfying to use my hands than to merely manifest my thoughts with divine speech. I have engaged an engineer on occasion to help me bring my ideas to fruition, so that they might live on beyond the scope of my words. Power that may be harnessed by the ordinary man, such as light and locomotion."The Meer was only present in about three scenes, but that was enough for him to become my favorite character. He was so wise and kind, and I like that he looked so young even though he was already over 100 years old, because Meers (allegedly) live for centuries. I would have loved to know more about the history of the Meeric race.And I could be wrong, but that very emotional scene with the Meer toward the end seemed eerily similar to the Crucifixion: being betrayed by those who are supposed to be loyal to him; goverment/religious officials using him as the fall guy to pacify a discontented mob; knowing that his destiny is to sacrifice himself out of love for the unappreciative people that condemn him."The winds of time have brought this change. Old ways must abdicate before the new, just as convention must concede before innovation." He motioned toward the incandescent lamp. "I once spoke light into being. Now any man can invoke it with a touch.""They don’t believe," said Ume. "They don’t understand what you can do.""It doesn’t matter." He kissed her, staining her cheek with his tears. "I must rest now."I should also mention that I was very confused by the ending. Everything was just peachy until the very last page. I was like... I read it over and over but I still can't decipher what was going on there. Was Azhra really a man like Ume the whole time? Then why did he/she say she gave birth to Meer Rhyman's daughter? Or is this "Azhra" the physical embodiment of a resurrected Meer In'La? If anyone understood what the heck that end was all about, please comment. LESSONS LEARNED: Have faith in the evidence of things not seen - you might be pleasantly surprised ;)