The Fire Opal Mechanism revels in the power of words to shape generations, detailing a world where books are being stripped of their sentences under the guise of the greater good. It’s a powerful story with many layers, beginning with a conversation on knowledge and who gets to access it.
The Pressman, an obsessed group of cultists intent on stripping the world of books, seem to have the populace’s best interests at heart. They claim to be reclaiming knowledge for the people, providing access to anything and everything instead of locking it away in universities. The reality is quite shocking as we get further into the book, revealing a dystopian future where words are gobbled up by a monster that defies logic. It’s a brilliant look at the power of books to hold their own stories, never giving up their words no matter the sway of public opinion or hatred of their content. By combining time, a love of the written word, and a hastily formed friendship, our protagonist shows how powerful knowledge can be when wielded properly.
The time travel aspect of the book is also quite fascinating, centering on a group of gemstones with mystical powers that remain shrouded at the end. We follow our protagonists to many different times, through quarrels and dire moments of panic. Above all, we see their understanding of the dark force in their world grow. This form of time travel is more personal than most, transcending a typical device or machine to inhabit a living gem. It becomes a part of the protagonist, telling her what to do and where to go. I’ve never read anything like it.
Overall, The Fire Opal Mechanism is a deftly written journey into a fascinating world on the verge of collapse. It’s an exciting trek across time that left this reader extremely satisfied and desperate to know more.
The Fire Opal Mechanism
By Fran Wilde
Published by Tor.com
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.