review of Digitarum by Derek Bailey

Digitarum

★★★★☆

reviewed by Cy Wyss

Digitarum is world-building of a different sort, being really more of a creation myth than anything else. Five gods emerge from a primordial egg into a dark, empty universe and they are told each has their purpose. One lights the space and becomes known as the light bringer. Others start to create: land, a tower, colors, and finally beings in their own image. One of the gods moves off from the others and is only interested in destruction, believing that’s his purpose. Will the destroyer tear down what the creators have made? Or will the fledgling beings in this new world band together with their creator gods and banish the destroyer? The answers make for a compelling story.

I liked the book. The writing is well-paced and flowing. It is, however, fairly abstract and (for example) low on specific descriptions. I found it hard to visualize the gods themselves and their people, other than imagining them as fairly generic but blue humans. Similarly for the landscape. The gods also seem to fall into the common trap of super powers which is that their extent is never clear. They seem to be as powerful (or not) as needed for the story. I realize fantasies like Digitarum require significant suspension of disbelief and perhaps it is my flaw that I find it difficult, not the book’s. I liked the ending twist. I had been thinking how anti-science the story was getting, then that got turned on its head at the very last second. That was a great moment and, overall, made for a good read.

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