I’m not sure why, but it seems as if there’s always a new book or movie about time travel being released. EI8HT is no exception, at least as far as the time travel element . The book is creative in the way that it treats the concept, and thus far it’s been a fairly captivating read.
A few more pieces of the puzzle have begun to fall into place this issue; small pieces, but pieces nonetheless. Every answer – Joshua’s connection to Nila and the Meld-born, for instance – just leads to a greater mystery, though, and compels you to keep reading in the hopes that something in The Meld will come into focus. It’s a little frustrating that nothing quite makes sense yet, but it’s still very early in the story.
While the setting for the story is interesting and the enigma surrounding the Meld itself is (sometimes) pleasurable to unravel, the characters that inhabit this world are a little flat. There’s really no better example of this than The Tyrant, and, you guessed it, he is just as malicious and decadent as his title suggests.
Look, I’m all for caricatures in allegorical tales, but I don’t think EI8HT is exactly a lesson in morality. I don’t want to harp on this too much, because I actually do like the book overall, but with a number of other tropes to consider – the outsider-savior, the oppressed and technologically isolated natives – I’d like to see a little more rounding in the main players.
The most intriguing character in the book, and the one who has shown the most depth, has been The Spear. He has a past, one that links him to Joshua in some way, though that relationship appears to be one of significant distance, both in terms of time of arrival in the Meld and in their disparate forms of acclimation to their unusual circumstances. I get the feeling that this is a guy to keep an eye on, as far as character development.
Albuquerque continues to use the restricted color palette to great effect and his art is definitely a major reason I keep coming back. Though the cast in EI8HT come off as predictable much of the time, they’re drawn in a textured and demonstrative way; there is a lot of emotion to be found in the renderings. Rafael is second to none when it comes to conveying feeling through his character’s faces, particularly their eyes.
If you plan on continuing on with this book I’d suggest a bit of patience, as things seem to be developing at a slow and deliberate pace. Even with my concerns about character flatness, I still want to see where this thing goes, and I’ll be hanging around for at least a little while longer.