True nature is impossible to forget.
Ule is Xiinisi, a race of trans-dimensional world builders. Shunned by her peers and spurned by a love interest, she retreats into Elish, a model 24-60-60 planet she built during her childhood to provide escape and entertainment while being incarcerated.
Dismayed by the ill turn in Elish’s evolution since her youth, Ule attempts to return home and is blocked by a mysterious force. In search of another way back to her realm, she discovers an unusual phenomenon never before expressed in worldbuilding—Demons walk the Root Dimension!
After an encounter with Istok, a cactus demon determined to spread his brand of fear, Ule is bound by his magic. Transformed into a gemstone, she succumbs to a dream state. Upon awaking, she is thrust back into Elish where merchants and farmers struggle to recover from a one hundred year war, and even worse, Ule cannot remember who or what she is.
Join Ule as she searches for clues to her true nature and identity in a world she originally designed to make her forget.
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Although I must admit to being one of those unempathetic readers (I found Ule to be a passion-addled nitwit), I did appreciate the novel’s focus on the responsibilities of creators towards their creations. Although the details are vague, the Xiinisi as a whole mandate considerate treatment of the beings they call into existence. Granted, this is a theme that goes back to Frankenstein, the very roots of the genre, but there is a tendency in F&SF towards autocracy. Ule might expect to be revered by her creation, but the novel makes it clear that Ule has made a misstep—both in the eyes of her own people and in the eyes of author and readers. —James Nicoll, James Nicoll Review
There is a true shimmer of shapeshifting in the essence of the narrative: just as Ule can change her form at will (and has it changed for her), so Daven keeps the story morphing so subtly that it is only in retrospect that you can see that there was a plan and purpose all along. —Jen Frankel, author of Undead Redhead
The surface level story about a lonely and rather lost world maker with amnesia trying to get back to something resembling happiness was well done, but what gets this novel my five stars is how much more there is to the tale… For someone whose created worlds and lived for who knows how long, Ule is incredibly human and I love her for it. —Kerri
It reminded me in some ways of books from the 70’s, the Silurian series, or some shades of Tanith Lee. It’s central premise has a race of beings who are functionally gods, though seen through a sci-fi lens. Like say the Q of Star-trek, though even more limited by the realities of physics. —Wise Owl
The concept of the Xiinisi as world-builders is really interesting, and I enjoyed their unique perspectives. There’s queer representation in this book which is always a plus (although in-universe, there’s not really a concept of “queer”, which is also refreshing). —Rai
Kit stays well away from formulaic writing, allowing the mysteries and characters to evolve in a way that keeps the reader engrossed and fascinated. —Amazon Customer