Review: Rahala: An Ascension Odyssey
I’d previously enjoyed Jason Sullivan’s dystopian novel, The Dark Yergall, but Rahala: An Ascension Odyssey promised something very different.
Three friends – Harvey, Steve and Marcia – are in northern Arizona when they encounter a strange rock formation and witness an extraterrestrial being known as Rahala. Rahala is a peaceful alien though he brings ill tidings of a ruthless race known as the Perathons who will bring untold calamity to the Earth in the years to come. Rahala charges our three friends with individual quests that will hopefully save the world though their respective journeys are anything but straightforward.
Rahala packs a lot of story into its pages and involves time travel to the likes of medieval Ireland to prevent not just the destruction the Perathons will cause but also to address the damage that we as a species are also inflicting on the world. There are some philosophical threads within the narrative and coupled with the variety of settings it is clear that Sullivan has researched this odyssey very well. I found many parts of the book fascinating and thought-provoking and it is somewhat heart-warming that Rahala entrusts three humans with a series of noble quests given how vicious we can be as well. The characters individual journeys are very different whether they are in their own time, travelling through history or even into alternate dimensions.
I enjoyed Rahala. It is fast-paced, action-packed, full of weird and wonderful scenes and builds up to an unexpected climax. This is a very different book to The Dark Yergall and certainly gives Sullivan a lot of scope to branch out and explore his favoured genres even further. This is an exciting adventure, one that pushes your imagination hard and even injects some humour into the mix as well. The only downside for me is that the book is too short. I narrowly favour The Dark Yergall over this one but think both are so different it’s unfair to really compare them.
Rahala is a thrilling ride through time and different dimensions in the company of three good friends who each have memorable journeys. I think the experience for readers will be different and some may take more from the story, its philosophies and theologies than others but I think there is a lot to take from here.
(Book source: reviewer’s own copy)