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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Amarant by R. Diaz is a short fantasy novel set between contemporary Peru and a dark, rich future world. In the contemporary time period, protagonist Steve, a travelling Australian, meets Peruvian Juana as he embarks on an adventure holiday hiking in the Andes. Just as Steve begins to consider the purpose of his young life, he is called upon in visions by the Yachaq warriors, a tribe from the future that needs his help. Almost a thousand years into the future, deathly shadows are attacking people and a war is on the way. The only solution for the tribespeople is to pull Steve and Juana through time and space to enlist their help, where action, adventure and chaos ensue.
It was wonderful to read an adventure story set in a non-Western setting; the hills and culture of Peru provide a rich and beautiful backdrop for the contemporary tale as well as inspiring the dark jungles and numerous cities of the future world. Absorbing descriptions of real Peruvian culture suggest that author R. Diaz has researched the subject well and the level of imaginative detail in the future world more than matches that of the present day. I particularly enjoyed the giant reptilian creature Illapu, a kind of cross (in my imagination, at least) between a dinosaur and a dragon. The glossary at the end of the book is also vital for learning the names of the tribespeople as well as picking up interesting facts about the future world and its society. Overall, Amarant was an exciting and highly detailed read.