Review: Riddled Worlds by Phil Coleman

I loved this book. First off, isn’t that cover gorgeous? Secondly, it’s a really great story, told very well. This book reminded me of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series in the way it layered myth and legend, an aesthetic drawn from the Western genre, and a brilliant fantasy plot. But, with all due respect to Mr. King’s masterpiece (of which I do consider myself a fan), this book is quite a bit more enjoyable to read.

A book cover for Riddled Worlds: an orange background, with several blue spheres showing the coronas of planets.

This is a thoughtful take on the portal fantasy genre. It tells the story of a young boy from a world largely similar to our own who enters a Hole, a sort of reality-eating portal, to find himself in a vastly different America plagued by dangerous chimeras.

The plotting is excellent, neatly marrying scene-by-scene conflict with an overarching plot. The characters are great, particularly the secondary characters. However, for me the standout aspect of this book is the themes it addresses. I won’t spoil the ending, but the book takes a turn into the philosophical that I thought was very well done, and that left me thinking about its message long after I had turned the last page.


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