Heraclix & Pomp by Forrest Aguirre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When his creator is killed, a golem named Heraclix leaves Vienna with a fairy named Pomp in tow in search of answers. Heraclix seeks the former life (or lives) of his constituent body parts and Pomp wants only to understand the human way of life. They travel to the Near East and back again with a short detour to hell. Will they ever find the answers they seek and will they like the answers they get?
Forrest Aguirre has proven himself to be a hoopy frood in recent years so when he asked if I'd read an ARC of his first novel, I could hardly say no.
Heraclix and Pomp brings a lot of different elements to the table. It's part historical fiction, part fantasy, with some political intrigue thrown in. Forrest Aguirre's prose feels like a mix of Peter S. Beagle and Gene Wolfe to me, dense but with a certain poetic beauty to it.
Heraclix, the dour golem, and Pomp, the curious fairy, go from one European locale to the next in their search for answers, encountering ghosts, demons, Turks, Romani, necromancers, as Heraclix slowly pieces together who his body parts used to belong to. Intrigued yet?
Forrest's depiction of Hell was one of my favorite parts of the book. The Lord of the Flies and his minions were pretty grotesque. I wasn't a fan of the political intrigue at first but I was sucked in eventually.
If you're looking for some beautifully-written fantasy that doesn't trod along all the familiar paths, you'll enjoy Heraclix and Pomp. Four out of five stars.
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