STAZR The World of Z: The Dawn of Athir
by Dr. Anay Ayarovu
Stazr LLC

"Circumstances called me and I went to meet them – that was what brought me indescribable delight!"

Ratadat Lael’s day started out like any other ordinary day—going for a walk with no destination in mind. However, after an encounter with a shwine named Slap, Lael finds himself on a journey across the Stazr beams, his services as a storyteller in need according to a prophecy. Lael finds himself making new friends and acquaintances along the way as well as constantly running into danger, all of which are experiences that satisfy his curiosity until it is time to act on the prophecy. And while his dreams and nightmares have served as warnings, Lael is unprepared for the danger ahead.

In this first book of a series, the author introduces readers to the universe of Stazr, a world where magic in the form of various stardust powders exists, and society is made up of creatures that have evolved or devolved due to stardust and terrestrial forces. Society seems to operate under a serf or slavery type system, where certain species are deemed as lesser beings and are in service to the higher species, or the Greats. Equality, then, is one of the themes present in this fantasy story, although the narrator doesn’t look too fondly on equal rights at the beginning of the story. This trait makes the protagonist-narrator not very likable at first, but as he shifts his perspective, he becomes more so.

Placed between the chapters are encyclopedia entries about Stazr, its inhabitants, and some of the creatures found in this fantasy story as a means to flesh out the presented universe. Details such as how talking animals came to exist on Stazr, or how humans once lived on Stazr, are introduced in a neutral, informative manner and help give more understanding as to the social hierarchy that exists within the story. The author also places footnotes at the end of each chapter, giving definitions for the Stazr language dispersed throughout the text. Coupled with the journal entry format and narrative for the story, the book gives off the impression of a historical document.

The narrator, Lael, is a Great who has seemingly lived in isolation with his nanny and mother. Lael considers himself a writer and a scholar, having studied Earth’s literature and referencing it in some of the situations he finds himself in, such as quoting a line from Hamlet’s soliloquy while in the middle of a nightmare. Lael also talks about using writing as a tool for figuring out who he is, what his lineage is, and is referred to as a Fabulist by his traveling companions. Lael views his adventure as The Chosen One almost like that of a story, making the narrative self-aware and a little satirical. When Lael has completed the first parts of his journey and is beginning to doubt himself, he asks, “Back at home, I often used to lie around the house (not like now) with a cup of blue chocolate in my hands, pondering what it might be like to get swept up in the whirlwind of other people’s lives but remain an outside observer. Is this not every writer’s dream?”

This sentiment gets at the heart of the book, but with the revelation that being an active participant is more important than being an observer. In the prologue, the author mentions that Lael’s journal is the first book in a series that will focus on the five heroes of the Stazrs. Because of that, the journal ends on a solid cliffhanger, with Lael’s ruminations on his actions and a look towards the future of the journey.

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