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Pantheon

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A tour de force of a novel. Pantheon is truly one of its kind, and you will be forever changed after reading it.

Synopsis

Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon is the novel told in free-verse that you never knew you needed to read. Epic in scope but always deeply rooted in its humanity, it defies genres and expectations.

Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon is a true tour de force of a novel. This epic free verse narrative transcends everything you know and expect a novel to be, and leaves you forever changed. I was captivated by the underlying themes this novel chooses to explore. More importantly, I was entranced by the artistry behind Syrdal’s execution of this story. The beauty behind this novel lies within the author’s ability to isolate so many intimate moments between the narrators and those they interact with. 


Syrdal’s narrative is a story told from multiple perspectives, and aims to explore the messy and complicated make up of human existence. Readers are immediately introduced to a poet interacting with a pantheon of goddesses that embody the emotions for which they are named. Our heroic poet’s encounters with Karma, Grace, Fate, Hope, and many others render a resemblance to Homer’s epic hero Odysseus, and his many run-ins with the pantheon of Ancient Greece. However, this poet’s story is not the only narrative within this novel. Syrdal enlightens readers with multiple overlapping perspectives, and allows characters from each section of this book to matter in someone else’s story. Narratives from a super futuristic space setting merge with moments from an ancient battlefield, and make perfect sense. This is no easy undertaking for any author, and Syrdal seems to execute it with ease. This novel transcends the boundaries of time as much as it does genre.


Pantheon is a tale told in free verse, and the form of this novel is as fluid and messy as the human emotions Syrdal captures in his story. The author allows the story to tell itself, and doesn’t limit his narrative just to the lines of poetry. We see the story fade in and out of prose-like dialogue between human and goddess, and between goddesses themselves, almost as if these powerful deities command the narrative on their own terms. From a structural standpoint, it is one of the many artistic elements that make this novel extraordinary. The integration of sensory imagery and the chosen entry points to the narrative are so intricate and well-thought out, as a reader you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. It’s almost as if the story is trying to communicate through the realizations the human characters reach, with the goddesses help, of course.  


Syrdal creates a myriad of powerfully intimate moments within his narrative. It not only calls the readers to contemplate the higher powers at work outside of their individual worlds, but it grants readers a new appreciation of life itself. Human beings are messy creatures, and this novel attempts to wrestle with the extent of the mess human emotions bring to the table. How do you explain love to goddesses that aren’t supposed to feel it? How do you conquer fears of the unknown the world can throw your way (in the novel’s case, how do you conquer your dragons)? Do you have control over your actions in life? Or does someone determine your destiny? Erid Syrdal invites his readers to think about all of these questions throughout the story’s journey. 


What makes this novel so special, is that it can be read again and readers will reach a new conclusion, think about something completely different, and maybe formulate an answer to the many questions left behind in the story. 


The richness of this story, and the stylistically unique approach of telling it will not only make this book popular, but it will ensure this book is remembered by anyone who journeys through its pages.



Reviewed by

Hi! I'm Kayla, one of the co-founders of Queens of Coffee and Canon. I am a High School English teacher working in Chicago Illinois, and I'm a lover of all things books! I read anything and everything I can get my hands on, but personally enjoy Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Fantasy!

Synopsis

Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon is the novel told in free-verse that you never knew you needed to read. Epic in scope but always deeply rooted in its humanity, it defies genres and expectations.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING…


I awake to

weighted silence

flat on my back

The sky has turned

to the soft pink and orange

of sunset

I am covered in blood

Mine or theirs?

I do not hear the roar

of the mob

I see her face over me

Grace extends a slender-fingered

dark skinned hand

With the strength of a titan

she lifts me to my feet

Soon I am face to face with her

dark eyes, framed in tight black curls

She releases me only when I have steadied

my balance

To my left stands Karma

She steps closer

With no more effort than a child

would handle a beloved toy,

she returns my shield to my arm

There is an innocence in her

fluid way

Her hazel eyes contrast

Her auburn hair

To my right, Fate

covers my shoulders in

cool linen cloth

Gently draping against wounds

I thought had long since closed

Golden-haired, emerald-eyed

mistress of the forge

Nothing that should be or will be

comes into this world except by her skilled hands

I turn to face Mercy

she stands at arm’s length

Her beauty blots out the sun

I close my eyes in her shadow

as the edge comes off the pain

Her brown eyes are filled with tears as

she touches a delicate hand to my cheek

Holding it tenderly

My sanguine eyes beg the question

But she whispers softly, “Not today, Love”

She steps aside

and gestures that I may pass

I acknowledge her words

with a rasping breath

and a compliant nod

As I begin to take a step

Courage moves beside me

Her cobalt blue eyes tell me a story

of when I was little

She takes my hand in hers

I feel it lift to her face

She presses her lips against the back

She has never minded the blood, or the sand, or the scars

and together we walk

…back to the beginning.


About the author

Eric Syrdal is a poet/author. He's an avid gamer and Sci-Fi enthusiast. He is a romantic, at heart. His work usually contains elements of the supernatural and fantastic along with potent female voices and archetypes. view profile

Published on April 23, 2020

Published by Indie Blu(e) Publishing

50000 words

Genre: Poetry

Reviewed by

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