Welcome to the world of the gods. The world Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface bring to us in Godshaper is one where electricity and modern convenience mysteriously stop working in the late '50s, and are replaced with little gods - spirits that are attached to humans much like the souls in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. Everything you do from buying goods to plying a trade depends on your god, but some folks are just born wanting…and while they are treated as pariahs in this brave, new world, they have a skill that no god-touched does, a skill that makes them very important to the world indeed.
Simon Spurrier seems to share something with George R.R. Martin; they both enjoy the “broken ones,” the outcasts who have more to prove and have decided to take the world on their own terms. With more than a little nod to Ziggy Stardust, our protagonist has a fluid sexuality and moral code, while enjoying the uneasy detente between himself and the people he needs who also need him. The story kicks up when this traveling performer/shaper runs afoul of a smuggling operation being stung by someone as outside the world as he is. It's a very interesting mix that grabs you immediately, and the world building will keep you engaged throughout.
I really enjoy Goonface's work on this book, and I want to really say how much I love Bud, the little god who tags long with Ennay. This little guy is given wordless brilliance by Goonface and nearly steals the whole damn book. Every character is engaging, well designed, and bursting with interesting promise, but Bud is spectacular. The perfect mix of cute, dopey, and sly, it's the kind of sidekick that can push his way into the hearts of anyone reading this book. It's a testament to the artist for bringing him to life so splendidly. The whole thing is beautiful to look at and supports and animates a really interesting story very well.
This is a book that you should read. I really can't say it more plainly than that. There are bits that may make you uncomfortable, but the metaphor to the world we live in can't be ignored and is told in such an unobtrusive and beautiful way that you realize that it's okay to be uncomfortable every now and again, as it's the feeling you get as you expand your horizons. It's part of why I love reading material from BOOM! and other independent publishers that aren't mistakenly thinking that diversity is hurting sales. Pick it up and enjoy.
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