Every once in a while, a book, or series, comes along that redefines the possibilities of literature. The Soulstone Chronicles may have the appearance of quirky high fantasy, but its no-holds-barred approach to humor, life, death, love, sex, divinity and violence makes it a brilliant tantric novel.
Tantra is somewhat unique among spiritual traditions in its insistence that everything is real and serves a purpose. It’s not enough to say that some things are bad and are forbidden and shouldn’t be talked about, because life is to be understood and experienced in the widest possible way. If you don’t understand why you want to do things, how can you resolve yourself into a better human being?
In The Soulstone Chronicles, author K.M. Frontain makes extraordinary choices in depicting human behavior. Using almost every idea known to high fantasy, she weaves a tapestry of unforgettable characters to plumb the darkest depths of human behavior and what it means to grow as a human being. Along the way, she creates a kaleidoscope of themes that will shake every preconception you have ever had. Several stand out to me.
1. Life is tough. Accidents, betrayals, murder, torture, dismemberment, bone-chilling horror, rape and obsession happen in real life. It’s better to read about them in a story than to live them.
2. The tough may be daunted, but they don’t give in. Personal honor and commitment may not save the day, but they will save your soul.
3. Moments of delight are to be cherished as wonderful gifts. The humor can be bitter, wry, loving or slapstick farce, but it is a saving grace that restores your perspective and lightens your soul.
4. Your soul is very important and you will suffer and be reincarnated as many times as necessary until you work the way you should.
5. Humans are very sexual beings and to pretend otherwise is foolish. Sex can be a comfort, a battle, a resolution, a creative force, a punishment, a psychological weapon, magic or an act of holy joy, and is often many things at the same time.
6. Everything is connected, sometimes in the damnedest ways. Soulstone is a web of relationships among characters, events, personal and social attitudes, and the entire flow of human and cosmological history. Pull one string, and everything else responds.
7. There are no rules in writing or storytelling except maybe quality and consistency. Use anything and everything, just make it really, really good.
Read Soulstone for the sheer adventure of a tale that mixes gods, elves, dwarves, dragons, witches, assassin-monks, evil sorcerers and humans from thieves to princes. Read it for the romance, the laugh out loud humor, the philosophy, the horror, or the sex. Read it for the superb writing and heart-wrenching, poignant scenes.
Read it for yourself, because reviews will never do it justice. It will grow your soul, just like life itself.
The Soulstone Chronicles can be found on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and iBookstore. The first volume, Bound in Stone: Volume 1, is free to download.