Review of: Free Worlds of Humanity
by Anthony Almato
October 18 - Review by Ron L. Lahr
This is Mr. Almato’s first novel. That’s probably why I had never heard of him when we met as panelists on a YouTube show about writing. He seemed very young, from my perch in my fifties, so I already didn’t care for him much. Then, he said he hadn’t read any of the fantasy and science fiction heavy hitters. In fact, he admitted he wasn’t much of a reader at all!
I love to read, partially because of the writing advice I’ve heard my whole life about writers needing to read a lot. So, I gave him some serious crap about that during the show. Sadly, he took it all very well and laughed along with everyone else.
The last straw was when he informed us that he liked movies and video games. His book was originally conceived as a video game. His wife found all of the material one day and forced him to turn it into a book. An eight hundred page book.
So, to recap: first thing he’s ever written, not a big reader, never read any of the great scifi books, came up with the story idea as a video game, wife made him write the book, and it’s eight hundred pages long.
I grabbed it on Kindle Unlimited that very night. I just had to see how awful it was! I was a little bit excited as I wondered would this be an awful book or the most awful book ever?
I read eight chapters that first night. They pulled me in. It wasn't a bunch of exposition amounting to an information dump, which I had honestly been expecting. I’d have read more but I was just too exhausted.
I did finish it in less than a week, which is amazing because I was very busy working on releasing two books and thought I wouldn’t be reading much at all. Plus, it’s eight hundred pages long!
Very long story short: I loved it! There is a lot going on in this giant debut novel, as you’d imagine. There are five main point of view characters and I think two more minor ones. The characters are all very distinct and Mr. Almato develops them more deeply as he goes, with one in particular having more and more revealed in such a subtle way until I realized he was almost the opposite of how I’d imagined him at the beginning of the book. Very skillfully done and I was, and still am, impressed.
I loved the story, too. In fact, I was disappointed when it ended. I wanted more! After eight hundred pages! Shocking, I know!
All I can say is congratulations to Mr. Almato. I think you wrote a debut novel that is engrossing, complicated, and well written. And gigantic. Hats off to you! You surprised the hell out of me!
However, my biggest congratulations goes to Mrs. Almato, because she was definitely right to make her husband turn the pile of stuff she found that one day into a novel. How did she know? Regardless, thank you, Mrs. Almato.