UVU alumnus Bonn Turkington, who graduated in 2009 with a degree in creative writing, wrote a fantasy/fiction novel End of the Past, Book 1.
The story takes place in a world that Turkington created. Protagonist Vahn Baxendale is searching for meaning in his life. He is learning to deal with the impact of his mother vanishing without a trace shortly after finding his father dead by suicide.
The first chapter begins seven years later. Vahn lives alone and is the introverted type, working at a local book store. He spends most of his paychecks on books; he is an eclectic collector of literature, just like his father.
In the first half of the novel, he comes across as whiny and pretentious because he can’t figure life out. Everything always comes back to his parents not being around anymore, which is understandable. However, seven years is a long time to still be in the solitude of bitterness. Vahn suffers from nightmares almost nightly, which causes insomnia to become a problem for him.
The story then starts to take an interesting turn when he is in the midst of a nightmare and wakes, only to find he is blinded by darkness and overcome with sleep paralysis. He hears voices in his home and feels hands crawling on his head and shoulders all while trying to figure out why he can’t move or see.
“The intruder was a man, tall and incredibly gaunt. [He] was pale gray, the color of dusty moonlight, and thin enough that every bone and muscle was identifiable even in poor light. His face, aimed directly at Vahn, was long and lean. He should have had lips but instead had a thin band of dark flesh that failed to cover teeth. [T]he intruder turned his body unfurling his legs and straightening his arched back,” Turkington writes.
The story has a lot of religious undertones throughout that include temples, Gods and finding faith in one’s journey of life. Overall End of the Past is slow moving and anti-climactic, albeit the story will keep the reader’s full attention. It would have been fun to see more of the back story about the relationship Vahn had with his parents. Nonetheless, it is still an intriguing plot, and pleasant to read. It is a very detailed novel and will take some work to understand all the countries and landmarks. There is a map and a detailed introduction given.
Turkington is a fantastic story teller and writer, but the structure and repetition threw the reading off at times. With this being book one of the series, it will be interesting to see how this new world thrives in the coming novels.