The End of Athens by Anthony Karakai

The End of Athens by Anthony Karakai
Publisher: Trident Media Group
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (300 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

In the year 2091, humans have lost the ability to dream. After decades of financial and social depression, dreams and aspirations have become a recessive gene—an impossibility of the modern mind.

Greece is one of the worst social and economic disaster zones, and all hope of a better future has been lost. One young man, Nikos, discovers that he is not like everybody else—there is something different about him.

Believing that he may be going crazy, he soon discovers that he is the only person in Greece who has inherited the ability to dream. Time is running out as the government continues its tirade of corruption and suppression against the people, and Nikos must find a way to teach others how to dream so that once more society can free itself from the shackles of mental slavery.

Nikos lives in Athens in the year 2091, and he is the only person in Greece who has inherited the ability to dream. Wars and decades of financial and social depression have left society crippled with no hope and no dreams for a better world. Nikos believes that “we are stuck in an era without purpose, a time capsule without significance and a period without cause.”

Nikos starts having dreams when he is twenty. At first he thinks he is going crazy, and he keeps his visions a secret so that he won’t be institutionalized. He goes on a college field trip to gather statistical data about other small communities outside Athens, and he sees utter desolation everywhere. He is given a book about dreams and begins to study the science behind them. Eventually, the things he dreams begin to happen.

Anthony Karakai has written a first person account of what it would be like to be the only person able to dream. This story revolves around Nikos’s search for answers about his dreams, about his life, about his role in the revolution to end the despair in Athens. I have rated this book at 14+ simply because the philosophical discussions and the allegorical language might be difficult for younger readers. This is a powerful book about what it means to have hope. It also shows dramatically the impact that one single person can have, if that person is willing to teach and share. Corruption and suppression can be brought down if people just have the ability to share their dreams for a better tomorrow.

I recommend this book to any who wonders what the world might be like in the future. Bombs and guns are no match for the dreams of the many, and those dreams start with one or two individuals. Each of us can make a difference.

Vagabond by Anthony Karakai

Vagabond by Anthony Karakai
Publisher: Trident Media Group
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Full Length (220 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

A fable about following your heart, ‘Vagabond’ explores the concept of destiny and what it means to be an individual in a world increasingly cliché. Leonardo spins a globe to begin his backpacking adventure, and before too long he engages in a world of travellers, all searching to find and define their own happiness.

The course of human history is changed forever as three seemingly unrelated lives impact on one another, with the universe dictating the transcendence of energy between the three as an ultimate revelation unfolds.

Three lives impact each other in miraculous ways in this fable about following your heart. Rafael, a tobacco farmer from Ecuador, dreams of foreign lands as he plants his tobacco. Even as a young boy he had been labeled as an old soul who would amount to great things. “Known in his village as a wise, kind soul, the local villagers and commuters would stop by to seek his advice on a broad range of matters.” After many years Rafael discovers that he has lost his way. He realizes that “there comes a point in our lives where we need to reassess what it is we are living for.” With that he heads into the Amazon forest. He is bitten by an anaconda who tells him that “in death, your potential will be realized.” Four days later, Rafael dies, and the reader is told that “energy that is deemed too important by the cosmos will be transcended even in death; its force will remain impenetrably fostered and in due time, that same force will be harvested elsewhere, manifesting its potential and fulfilling its ultimate destiny.”

Anthony Karakai has written a lovely fable. The story wanders next to Leonardo, a twenty-year old looking for life’s meaning, for a way to craft his life. His journey takes him first to Costa Rica where he bonds with a group of ex-pats. From there he wanders into South America, meeting Carmen, and coming to Rafael’s tobacco farm. When Rafael’s widow Carlotta meets Leonardo, he seems familiar to her. “For the first time in a while, Carlotta looked out her kitchen window and smiled; the spirit of Rafael was present.”

The story meanders along, and it took me awhile to see the connection between the beginning with Rafael and then the switch to Leonardo. But once I found that connection, the story became magical. I really enjoyed meeting Rafael, Leonardo, and Carmen and it was wonderful to discovery the bonds between them. I put the age recommendation at 16+ just because of the depth of the philosophy and the complexity of the vocabulary. I was surprised that it was listed as young adult because I think that the fable becomes richer when the reader has some life experiences to bring to the reading.

This is a great read for anyone who has wondered about the meaning and purpose of life, either individually or more globally. The topics are handled with compassion and wisdom. I found it exciting to watch “the transcendence of energy through the universe.”