Welcome to the planet Yand, home of fierce female warriors! But not just any warriors, mind you; they’re the winged, telepathic wizard variety. And one, Yanara, is the most powerful of them all. This is Andri E Elia’s Worldmaker of Yand-Yildun, a quirky mix of ancient sorcery, astrophysics, interstellar war, and sexually charged, leather-clad, sword-swinging aliens. 

Yanara, the number-one spellcaster, has powers that would put her right alongside a Marvel Comics superhero. (She is impervious to heat — “I can walk through lava,” she says — and can create wormholes  with her mind and even move the moon.) Yanara narrates the action of the novel with an attitude that falls between the impulsive machismo of a high school football star and the whip-smart kick-assery of Xena the Warrior Princess. Dialog runs from mock medieval (“my Lady”) to contemporary slang (“everybody was now freaking”) and back again. There’s even an “Oy vey!” And yes, it is just as fun to read as it sounds.

A MAGICAL AND MULTIGENERATIONAL SAGA OF BLOODY HEROICS

The novel’s plot involves Yanara and her marital entanglements during an interplanetary war, but the premise soon spills over into a multigenerational saga replete with revenge, spells, formation flying, and plenty of military glory and bloody heroics. 

The heroic Yandars must defeat the invading K’tul using space spells, telepathy, a falcon named Blackhawk and swords with names like “Inferno” “Eclipse” and “Bite This.” This scenario provides plenty of adventure, fetishized militarism and tight clothing: “We dressed in our military leathers, she in black and I in dark browns and crimson … Mandolen had donned her hawkglove …”

The wizardry on Yand seems to be based on innate psychic power rather than learned, esoteric knowledge. Yanara’s unique superpower, “bending,” which had caused a continual eclipse on Yand, seems to be involuntarily, triggered by intense emotion in mid-battle (something like a Pikachu power surge). Yanara is unable to explain how she does it.

ELIA SHOWCASES A FREEWHEELING AND BOUNDLESS IMAGINATION

On Yand, both sexes are of equal size and strength. Some have wings. Multiple spouses of both sexes are common. This is explored during curious and titillating situations. Our narrator, the superstrong Yanara, is also the sexiest wizard, with a lovesick wife and husband. Then there are the psychically created wormholes that require a very tight embrace in order to squeeze through. 

The author’s imagination is freewheeling and boundless, weaving into the mix everything from dragons to unicorns, mages, and even detailed descriptions of the problems of giving birth to a winged baby. The last of these is quite significant as Yanara’s penance for running afoul of Yand’s queen is to give birth to one of these beings, which, as it so happens, could very well kill her. It’s all outrageous or fascinating depending on your taste. 

Written like a script, Worldmaker has many similarities to a TV series, especially in the tone, the constant action and dialogue, and seems destined for a future visual version. Flying swordfights, alien creatures and landscapes should provide plenty of inspiration for animators or f/x people. For now, though, we’ll just have to use our imaginations.

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About Andri E. Elia:

Andri E. Elia is a PhD Scientist. She enjoyed a career as a research scientist inventing new composite materials aimed at lightweighting vehicles in order to lower emissions and combat climate change. To save our planet. She is also an astronomy buff. The author immigrated to the US as a result of a war in her native country and is a naturalized US citizen, of which she is very proud. The author says: I love this beautiful planet of ours. Let’s all do our best to help it retain its beauty for the generations to come.