About the Book
I once knew this girl who thought she was God. She didn’t give sight to the blind or raise the dead. She didn’t even teach anything, not really, and she never told me anything I probably didn’t already know.
On the other hand, she didn’t expect to be worshipped, nor did she ask for money. Given her high opinion of herself, some might call that a miracle.
I don’t know, maybe she was God. Her name was Sati and she had blonde hair and blue eyes.
For all who meet her, Sati will change everything. She may even change everything for you.
256 pages (paperback)
Publication date: March 29, 2011 (this version)
Published by: Tor
Thanks to Tor for sending me a review copy of this book.
I think the wonderful people at Tor have psychic powers.
I firmly believe that every almost-a-first-time-parent has an epic freak out moment before their baby is born; a moment where they are riddled with what the hell am I doing type thoughts. Yesterday was my turn. When I checked the mail I had four books from Tor waiting for me and one of them was Sati. I read the back of it, and it just spoke to me. It was exactly the sort of short-but-moving type of book I needed to read at that moment in time and because of that, I read the book cover to cover in about three hours flat.
Sati was originally written in the 1980’s. A blurb inside the book says that Pike had a chance to update Sati to reflect the times but chose to leave it as it was originally written. This seems to be a good decision on his part. The book has a sort of simplistic feel that an update would have done away with. Even without updating it, it’s not blaringly obvious that it was written in the 80’s. Sati seems to transcend time.
Sati has a sort of American Gods feel to it. There isn’t any outright action scenes or shows of force. The book is one long inner journey (punctuated by a few truck runs from L.A. to Phoenix). It’s also dialogue driven; meaning most of the book is in the form of a discussion between various characters. Because of this, some readers might find Sati to be slow paced. However, I will say that the same people who enjoyed Gaiman’s American Gods will probably do well to check out Sati. They are both books reflecting intense inner spiritual journeys, with pacing that might make the impatient readers a little frustrated. I should note that Sati is a bit more censored and a little less weird than American Gods, which will probably cause it to appeal to a wider range of readers.
Sati was Pike’s first adult book, but it could easily be transitional. While some of the more spiritual themes might go over the head of younger teenagers, it’s written in such a way that most young adults could easily understand and comprehend what is being discussed. The language is simple, the descriptions are fluid and the characters are immediately likeable. There are no graphic scenes, or rough violence and there are also no real oppressive romance scenes. In fact, Sati is an incredibly peaceful and calming book, which is in stark contrast to so much of what is written today.
Pike knows how to hook his audience and does so from the first sentence:
I once knew this girl who thought she was God.
From that first sentence, Pike sets the rather somber but thoughtful tone. He makes the reader wonder and question and carries those feelings throughout the book. Sati is a journey, not only for main character, Michael Winters, but for the reader as well. That is, perhaps, one of Pike’s greatest accomplishments with Sati. He keeps his reader locked in a state of wonder that never quite lets them go until the book is over.
However, despite the numerous praises I could lob at Sati, each fitting for this short-but-powerful book, there are some flaws. There are quite a few extended infodump sessions. These are very important to the plot, but can often repeat in themes making them somewhat exhausting to read about. Furthermore, a point I feel prospective readers should be aware of (though it is, by no means, a bad thing) is that this book does circle around many new age spiritual themes which might make some readers roll their eyes a few times. Basically what I'm saying here is that this book won't appeal to everyone.
I had never read any Christopher Pike before I read Sati, and while this book did make me roll my eyes a few times and I did get somewhat exhausted with the infodumps, in the end I loved the journey. Pike’s writing style was the perfect compliment to Sati; calm, fluid and beautifully descriptive. Sati is a book that can easily transcend genre. It’s not quite fantasy, but not quite fiction. The spiritual themes will appeal to many, and the calm but confidant tone of the work will also work well to soothe people who (like myself, yesterday) need to feel a little soothed. Sati is the kind of book that really isn’t written much anymore. It’s an intense inner journey and an exercise in simplicity. Pike proves that books don’t have to be incredibly long, or amazingly complicated to pack a marvelous punch.