4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads
I received a copy of this book for free from the author, in exchange for an honest review.
‘Every day, I ask myself the same question: would I be happier now if I had never sailed off the edge of the world?’
The opening line of The Ships of Aleph definitely grabbed my attention in an instant. This novella from Jaine Fenn tells the tale of a man who finds himself alone on a mysterious island after a shipwreck. Even stranger, the island appears to be a replica of his home, but if he takes more than 1000 steps away from the village he collapses. Every day, he is visited by an ‘angel’, who brings him food and other resources.
I always find novellas difficult to review due to their length, and often find myself a little disappointed by them. However, I thought the story of The Ships of Aleph was wonderfully imagined, slightly creepy, and made me very curious. How did Lachin end up on this island? Who was the ‘angel’? I had to know. Jaine Fenn’s writing style and pace worked perfectly here: I felt I was given just enough information to satisfy my curiosity, but also not quite enough to stop me from wanting to learn more. And of course, the reader learns along with Lachin.
Ultimately, I’d really like a full length novel of this short story. It suffers in the same way as many novellas – not quite enough time to expand or completely resolve things. The conclusion was a bit too quick for my tastes, and left me wanting more details.
However, this was a very interesting novella, slightly unnerving in places, that clearly demonstrates Jaine Fenn’s talent.