Review: Xor: The Shape of Darkness by Moshe Sipper
At the Other End: On his twelfth birthday Lewis Nash comes home from school to find that his house has blown up to smithereens, killing his father. Having lost his mother in an accident four years earlier, Lewis realizes he is now an orphan — but he has no time to dwell on it. The moment he gets off the school bus a fearsome wolf-man tries to grab him. The boy is saved in the nick of time by Master Long, who reveals to him that he’s a Shaper from a place called Xor, which is being devoured by the Realm Pirates. Lewis learns that he must do his utmost to become the powerful Shaper he was destined to be.
Because, it would seem, he’s the one and only chance Xor has.
Moshe Sipper is a Professor of Computer Science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He received his B.A. degree from the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Tel Aviv University, all in computer science. During 1995–2001 he was a Senior Researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne
Moshe Sipper has recently published his first novel, Xor: The Shape of Darkness, recounting the adventures of Lewis Nash who, on his twelfth birthday, discovers he's a Shaper from Xor. He also writes short-short science fiction and fantasy stories, available at the blog site To Make a Long Story Short.
As we start the story, the blurb is used as like a mini prologue, skipping over those parts and getting straight into the story, into the world of Xor. Although it's not a straight skip, the information provided in the blurb is a little repeated, without going into too much detail, getting straight into the story.
A good pacing is used throughout the whole story, from start to finish we are on one wavelength and are also constantly being pulled through. It is not a desperate pull through the novel, but imagine it like you are following a friend around. It is calm and we are relaxed, not forced to push ourselves but to take our time, to soak up this world, what's happening and think about everything.
I find it annoying sometimes when everyone keeps saying "he is such a smart boy" about Lewis, and are in awe of him. This is one factor that makes you immediately recognise that it is a middle grade novel, among other things that give this away as well. The other characters that help and follow Lewis all marvel at the fact that he is such a smart boy, yet Lewis doesn't know a lot of things, such as what clones are or what a black hole is. Everyone says he is such a smart boy after he says an obvious fact that has either already been said or is common knowledge.
I didn't expect that ending. It made me go "WOW!". Also bringing forth a hidden meaning to all middle-grades and other that read this. You don't expect for there to be a hidden meaning, but when it is stated at the end, everything click into place.
This novel was received for review via the author. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.