Tej Turner's Dinnusos Rises was published by Elsewhen Press in April 2017 (digital edition). The paperback edition will be published in July 2017.
Information about Tej Turner:
Tej Turner has spent much of his life on the move and he does not have any particular place he calls ‘home’. For a large period of his childhood he dwelt within the Westcountry of England, and he then moved to rural Wales to study Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter.
After completing his studies he spent a couple of years travelling around Asia, where he took a particular interest in jungles, temples, and mountains. He returned to the UK in 2015 for the release of his debut novel The Janus Cycle, published by Elsewhen Press. Since then he has been living in Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day, writes by moonlight, and squeezes in the occasional trip to explore historic sites and the British countryside.
Dinnusos Rises is his second novel and he plans on spending the next few years writing more. He will probably get itchy feet again, and when that happens he has his sights set upon South America.
He keeps a travelblog on his website, where he also posts author-related news.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Dinnusos Rises:
The vibe has soured somewhat after a violent clash in the Janus nightclub a few months ago, and since then Neal has opened a new establishment called ‘Dinnusos’.
Located on a derelict and forgotten side of town, it is not the sort of place you stumble upon by accident, but over time it enchants people, and soon becomes a nucleus for urban bohemians and a refuge for the city’s lost souls. Rumour has it that it was once a grand hotel, many years ago, but no one is quite sure. Whilst mingling in the bar downstairs you might find yourself in the company of poets, dreamers, outsiders, and all manner of misfits and rebels. And if you’re daring enough to explore its ghostly halls, there’s a whole labyrinth of rooms on the upper floors to get lost in...
Now it seems that not just Neal’s clientele, but the entire population of the city, begin to go crazy when beings, once thought mythological, enter the mortal realm to stir chaos as they sow the seeds of militancy.
Eight characters. Most of them friends, some of them strangers. Each with their own story to tell. All of them destined to cross paths in a surreal sequence of events which will change them forever.
Set in the same urban landscape as Tej’s debut novel The Janus Cycle, and featuring some of the same characters along with new voices, Dinnusos Rises is a modern-day fantasy with a sharp tongue and a hard heart but a profound soul.
A REVIEW OF TEJ TURNER'S DINNUSOS RISES
Tej Turner's vibrant and intriguingly gritty Dinnusos Rises is one of the most fascinating novels of the year, because it's a contemporary fantasy novel that is in equal parts speculative fiction, literary fiction and surrealism. Its sophisticatedly complex story and colourful characters will mesmerise readers who enjoy reading thought-provoking stories that defy easy classification.
Because I loved the author's previous novel, The Janus Cycle, and found it captivating, I had high expectations for Dinnusos Rises. I'm pleased to say that Dinnusos Rises met all of my expectations and even managed to exceed them, because it's just as rewarding and thought-provoking a reading experience as The Janus Cycle and then some. It's a perfect companion novel to The Janus Cycle.
Dinnusos Rises will be of interest to readers who enjoyed reading the previous novel, because it features familiar characters and strange happenings. It will also please newcomers, because it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel. I think that it will also appeal to readers who don't normally read speculative fiction, because the story is engaging and the characters are interesting.
It's great that the author blends literary fiction with speculative fiction and spices the story with a touch of surrealism, because it makes the events fascinating. This novel takes readers on a captivating and rewarding journey into a realistic yet surreal urban landscape where strange things happen and where reality meets fantasy in a powerful way. It offers glimpses into the lives of several characters and reveals what happens to them.
Here's a bit of information about the story and the characters who appear in it:
- Chapter 1 - Dreamwalker: Faye is a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and a lesbian. She's in a band called Sunset Haze, which practises in one of the rooms at Dinnusos. One night she meets a girl called Naomi who can feel and sense things that others can't. Soon Faye finds out that she is also special...
- Chapter 2 - Roots: Jack and Tilly get to know each other better. Tilly finds out that Jack has a connection with animals. Soon Jack gets a visit from his father, Jardair, who tells him about his political movement, Taxus Baccata, and asks for his help...
- Chapter 3 - Barking at the Moon: Pandora meets her old friend, Frelia, at Dinnusos and they discuss what happened between them. When they leave the club, they soon travel back in time...
- Chapter 4 - A Distant Melody: Patrick reminisces about his childhood with Ellen and Jessica and how Sunset Haze began. He is worried about Ellen, because she hasn't recovered from what happened to her. One day Patrick hears a distant melody that draws him towards it...
- Chapter 5 - The Picture Changes: Tristan finds himself at an afterparty and isn't sure how he actually got there. When Tristan comes home, Neal tells him that many of his paintings have changed...
- Chapter 6 - Dreaming Her Back: Naomi and Faye visit Naomi's mother to find out if it's possible to bring a spirit back after it has been banished...
- Chapter 7 - Bakkheia: In this chapter, Jessica does things that must be done...
- Chapter 8 - Scars: This last chapter is told from Tilly's point of view...
What I wrote above is but a small glimpse into what happens in this novel. When you begin to read the story, you'll find out that there's much more to it than what I mentioned here. The story is so captivating that it will grab hold of you and you'll find youself reading it as quickly as possible to find out what happens to the characters.
Because parts of the story take place at the night club Dinnusos, here are a few words about it. Dinnusos is a club in a district called Yesterville, which - according to some people - used to be the epicentre of the city and is the oldest district (Yesterville was abandoned and has become a place of urban decay, broken street lamps, vagrants and outcasts). Dinnusos is owned by Neal whose boyfriend, Tristan, has covered its walls with murals.
Just like in The Janus Cycle, the characterisation is excellent. All of the characters are three-dimensional and have depth to them, and - what's best - the author gives each of them a unique voice. I like the author's way of writing about what happens between the characters and how they feel about each other, because nothing feels artificial or pretentious. The characters interact with each other in a believable way.
What I love most about this novel is that the author manages to tell the story through different characters in a vivid way. Each of the characters brings depth to the story and makes it more interesting, because they all have their own stories to tell. By using multiple viewpoints, the author keeps the story fresh and interesting.
Here's a bit of information about some of the characters and their lives:
- Tilly is a well-created character, because she was assumed to be male at birth, but her essence, instincts and biology - to some degree - are of female gender. Doctors won't prescribe her hormone treatment, because she is considered to be too young and only give her 'puberty blockers'. She's trying to save money for sexual reassignment surgery.
- Ellen is haunted by Jessica, who is the ghost of her deceased twin (she can be possessed by Jessica). What makes things complicated is that Jessica is Faye's girlfriend and she's jealous of Faye's new friend, Naomi. I enjoyed reading about what happened between Ellen, Fay, Jessica and Naomi, because their deeds had surprising consequences.
- It was interesting to read about what happened between Patrick and Teris, because the author wrote captivatingly about both of them and how they felt about each other. I also enjoyed reading about how Jack became a political activist and joined Taxus Baccata.
The political movement, Taxus Baccata, is an interesting and integral part of the story. In fear of writing spoilers I won't go into too many details about it, but I can mention that it was fascinating to read about how it operated and what its members did. I'll also mention that I like its name, because it's the botanical name of yew.
The author has a genuine talent for writing stories that are spiced with gritty realism, because he does it well. He explores many challenging themes and issues ranging from acceptance and loneliness to self-harm and suicidal thoughts in a realistic way and avoids melodramatic moments. It's great that he also writes about various feelings and emotions, because they add depth to the story.
I have to mention that I was honestly amazed at how much depth the author had added into his story. This novel is filled with little things that come to mean a lot when you read the whole story (there are many details and nuances that many authors would've easily overlooked).
Although the story has quite a lot of grittiness and harshess, there are moments of beauty and a few humorous elements that offer counterbalance to the gritty elements. I like the author's writing style, because he fluently combines many elements and delivers a unique story.
One of the best things about this novel is that the author explores attraction, sex and different forms of sexuality in an admirably bold and realistic way. It's great that he dares to explore different kind of sexuality, because he does an incredible job at conveying what life is like for LGBT people and what kind of problems they face in their everyday lives. Tilly and her feelings are explored especially well, because she's a young transgendered person whose life is anything but easy.
There's something in this novel that slightly reminds me of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series, because the characters' lives interconnect in various ways and the nightclub Dinnusos serves as the nexus for them. It's kind of like a fantasy equivalent to Maupin's novels.
In my opinion, Dinnusos Rises is a prime example of what gifted authors are capable of achieving when they have courage to write about various themes and issues in a bold and insightful way. It's one of the best novels of the year and deserves the full attention of speculative fiction readers who love quality fiction, because it doesn't try to fit into the cookie-cutter mold from which most speculative fiction novels are made of. It dares to be different and wonderfully showcases the diversity of the genre and its possibilities.
Tej Turner's Dinnusos Rises is a novel that should not be missed by fans of contemporary fantasy fiction and urban fantasy novels. It's a fascinating and daring glimpse into the lives of different characters who struggle with their feelings and lives. I'm pleased to say that I find Dinnusos Rises excellent in every possible way, because it's a daring, thought-provoking and satisfyingly gritty novel. I sincerely hope that speculative fiction readers will find this novel, because it's compelling.
Excellent and thought-provoking speculative fiction - highly recommended!