As a fan of supernatural and science fiction, I was immediately drawn into this novel by Wolfgang Edwards. What did I think of the first book in the Students of Madness series?
I received a complimentary e-copy of this book for use in my review. All opinions are my own.
Quick Summary of The University of Corporeal & Ethereal Studies. At the University of Corporeal & Ethereal Studies meddling with unknown powers can be dangerous work. Courses in arts and sciences experiment with supernatural forces to solve the mysteries of the universe, but when school projects go awry, the students may discover more than they would like to about the madness of the cosmic 'Beyond'.
Eight interwoven stories follow students whose school work, social lives and inner demons crash together, leading to fantastic and horrible experiences, supernatural powers, and a fuller understanding of the dark depths of their world.
Classes include subjects such as time travel, alchemy, oneironautics , psychedelic transformation, rogue automatons, cosmic ghosts, reality-warping crystals, and more.
Inspired by many authors of science fiction, fantasy and horror, including H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Kurt Vonnegut and Isaac Asimov.
Readers shouldn't be daunted by the novel's length. The University of Corporeal & Ethereal Studies is a lengthy book. I joke that I have only the time and attention span for short stories and quick novels. So--when I saw the length of this book, I was a little worried. However; I shouldn't have been. The novel's hundreds of pages are broken into smaller segments as the author tells the individual stories--and then connects them all as the book concludes. In spite of the length, I had a tough time setting the book aside between stories. Readers will be drawn into each story--and caught up in the underlying connections through to the end.
The author creates a great series foundation with this book. The author puts a lot of time into building this first book of the
series and into his characters and their individual stories. Readers are able to understand each of the characters and their roles in the larger story with great depth. The author then unites these characters toward the end as a means of launching them onto the next stage of the series.
The University of Corporeal & Ethereal Studies is a bit predictable--yet, still interesting. I think most readers will be able to guess the outcomes of some of the individual stories--and even foretell the ending as the scenes progress. However; the book is still an interesting read for fans of science fiction and fantasy novels. There were moments that brought thoughts of Harry Potter--while others made me envision Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The author's writing style blends elements of darkness, human nature and horror into science fiction and fantasy with ease.
The book's format is a little different. I was immediately drawn to the first story of the book. As that story seemed to end; I struggled just a bit to settle into the next story--and found myself needing to resettle as each character's story was presented. The individual stories are rather long and detailed. This writing style builds a very well done foundation to the series--but, it takes a bit of adjustment for the reader to transition from character to character. Toward the end of the book, the transitions between characters happened a little more quickly and were easier to flow through.
Would I recommend The University of Corporeal & Ethereal Studies. I really liked this book and I really look forward to continuing to read the series. The author creates a lot of background, develops a number of characters, and really devotes a lot of time toward drawing the readers into the series. There is something for fantasy fans, supernatural fans, science fiction fans--and even for dark, human nature realists--in this book. I would recommend this book to fans of any of these genre--and even to short story fans as the authors writing style tends to build one novel from short story like segments.