While I find most books fairly easy to review, others pose a challenge, where I need to seriously consider the words I write about them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—ShegoraTH, by Dima Tsyptsiura, while being the most difficult of books I’ve reviewed so far to write about, is a wonderful book. It’s a compilation of short stories that share a theme, but as a whole, it is a collection that defies genre. It’s also a challenge to write without spoiling the book—something I endeavour to accomplish with every review—made all the more important by how these stories work alone as well as together. As the introduction of ShegoraTH says:
This book is designed to surprise you.
Please, proceed without skipping ahead.
As much as Tsyptsiura’s collection defies genre, the stories present touch upon science fiction, fantasy, and combine the two genres for intriguing science fantasy tales. It delves into the past, it looks to the future; stories are set on Earth as well as out within the vast universe. As entertaining as these stories are, ShegoraTH is greater than the sum of its individual parts. The collection comes together as a whole, with the stories working best as parts of this. Taken together, the book is a philosophical look at life and war, that provides an optimistic view of the world, and a message of peace.
At an estimated 120 pages on Kindle, ShegoraTH is a brief read, particularly given a number of the pages only include a line or two. Given its brevity, it can easily be read in a single sitting, and the book benefits from reading it that way. Breaking it up into multiple systems would interfere with the flow of the collection.
If it isn’t already clear, ShegoraTH is an unconventional book. It doesn’t include a cover (the image used above and on Amazon is from its title page), and various pages only include a few words. Initially, I thought the book was littered with formatting issues inserting page breaks where they shouldn’t have been, but the further I read, the more it became apparent that it is a very deliberate stylistic decision by the author to play with the flow as you read it. Likewise, the recurring story titles threw me off initially, but continue the themes from earlier tales. The lack of a cover plays into this and the mystique that lies within the book’s pages.
ShegoraTH’s defiance of conventions doesn’t simply extend to the formatting decisions. The prose is written in short, sharp sentences, which combine to form short paragraphs. Though utilising few words, Tsyptsiura draws the reader into the book’s world. And that’s just the stories written in English—a number of the tales contained within are written in Ukrainian, or predominantly, with English words interspersed. It may be a cheat, but if you want to know what these stories say, and (like me) you don’t speak Ukrainian, Google Translate is your friend: use it to enjoy those charming tales!
I’m including some brief commentary on the individual stories below, being sure to keep it a high level. As the book’s introduction says, after all, ShegoraTH is designed to surprise you.
The first tale sets the scene and scope of the collection, a mage wakes up with a beautiful view of Earth. The story contains a great twist that serves as a fun punchline.
The two stories under the title Concentration tell the tale of a fleet of starships who have found what they are searching for. As they prepare to launch their attack, the story and its themes kick into high gear.
Life is a Game! Passwords?
These tales continue the theme from Concentration, from a different perspective and with a true sense of humanity.
Death is on the break
Throughout multiple appearances, this is a series of interconnected stories about Death that read like poetry, with a great punchline.
A story about life and humanity. Tsyptsiura intersperses the mundanity of everyday life with its beauty.
A story about the universe, and of the deities looking over it. Through this, it presents the beauty of our world.
Stories juxtaposing the beauty of love, in all its forms, with hate.
A story about a donkey and Об Осле
Set in Eastern Europe, centuries ago, a series of tales about a man and a donkey. All similar tales, with one version written in Ukrainian, that read like fables.
Дуже вам вдячний!
Despite the Ukrainian title, it’s written in English. A fun aside.
A view of Earth from an outsider’s perspective, continuing the themes from Concentration and Life is a Game! Passwords?
A brief piece that offers a utopian view of the world.
Written in Ukrainian, and when translated into English, it remains a very strange verse, looking at capitalism.
Despite the Ukrainian title, a story written in English about angels, demons, and most of all, humans
How to Help Everyone: The Practical Guide
Told in three parts, a stylised self-help guide about helping those around you, but also, about us needing help, ourselves.
A story written in Ukrainian, set in Ukraine, about togetherness.
ShegoraTH is a strange but eclectic collection of tales. Through them, it tells a story of hope and togetherness, and looks at the potential of our planet to be better. It defies the readers’ expectations at every turn, and is all the stronger for it. If you’re after a light read that is unique from just about everything else, ShegoraTH is a thought provoking collection that will entertain, inspire, and linger with the reader. It has to be read to be believed.
This new world is strange, alien, beautiful and incomprehensible.
Inconsistent with any standards, not amenable to simple analysis, it seemed to recreate the distant and mysterious planets in all their glory.ShegoraTH, Attacked
ShegoraTH was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review.
ShegoraTH is available on Kindle exclusively from Amazon.
Note: I do not post scores on reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:
Interested in purchasing ShegoraTH?
Please find a link below; please note I do not collect any proceeds from the sale.ShegoraTH