Bats of the Republic By: Zachary Thomas Dodson
Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel set in two different time periods— both of which are not the present. One is 1843 and the other is a dystopian 2143, after the “great Collapse”. The storyline follows a family lineage in the two different time periods— Zacar Thomas in 1843 and Zeke Thomas in 2143. The stories are entirely ficticous and involve and array of mystical factors such as the Night Man, and a legendary tea serving practice that has been passed down through society. The book bounces back and forth from transcriptions, a novel within a novel, handwritten letters and the best part— a sealed letter in the back of the book with “DO NOT OPEN” written on it.
There is so much to look at throughout the book I kept finding myself so engulfed in the content pages and pages would go by without me realizing. And oh, not to mention...that letter....
The storylines were fascinating as they intermingled into one another, but perhaps the best part of the book as a whole was the physical content within the book— the maps, the diagrams, the handwriting all really created a better story. These components to the book were not accessories, they actually told the story, and I think that is the most important part to take out of reading this illuminated novel.
The components such as maps, and diagrams provided the reader with a visual component which then painted the picture more vividly— it did not “help” tell story; it did tell the story.
Being unlike anything many people have read, Bats of the Republic brings the reader into a different time, space and with that, the overall effect is a work of brilliance created by Dodson.