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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Childless Ones is a fantasy novel written for adults by author Cam Rhys Lay. Our central character, writer Jack Ampong, leads two narratives in the tale. In his real life, Jack’s long-suffering wife Sarah has been assaulted, and the reality of her pain leads both of them to examine the deep flaws within their marriage as a harrowing drama unfolds. In his writer’s mind, Jack whisks the audience away to a lavish, traditional fantasy-style world where good versus evil is the modus operandi, and all sorts of magical beings try to live their lives amid various curses and powers. One such curse is infertility, and it’s this thread which begins to weave Jack’s fantasies and his real life together.
Cam Rhys Lay has produced a fascinating and psychological work of literary fiction which will also please fans of the epic fantasy genre. Part genre fiction, part literary work, this novel takes a whole new look at utilizing meta-fiction as a window to the soul of our real lives. I can’t say that I liked Jack Ampong as a main character at all, he’s not the kind of man I’d ever root for, but exploring the reasoning for why he’s become the way he has, through his real life and his writing, was an engaging journey that could only really be done with such a flawed ‘hero’. The world where the Mandrakar race abide was lavishly described and highly amusing at times, and this contrasted really well with the dark and often grim reality of Jack and Sarah’s life.