I'm not by any means a big fan of poetry and usually intimidated when confronted with such work. So I was cursing myself when I found out that the book I had agreed to review was a poetry collection. With those biases in mind, I actually enjoyed and appreciated The Journey to Kailash. Allen's poetry is accessible and can be taken on the literal level yet manages to be mesmerizing. Being lyrical or flowery isn't as important as being able to convey his stories, ideas, and characters which works even for poetry luddites like myself. The book is divided into three sections, each with an appropriate subtitle. As far as the sequence of the poems go, it is evident that they were not chosen arbitrarily and serves a thematic purpose. I was actually impressed at how Allen tackles fantasy and science fiction and uses them to tell imaginative stories in verse. The poems that stood out the most for me was the titular piece and opener for the book, "The Journey to Kailash" as well as "Strange Cargo" and "Picasso's Rapture" which are profound and powerful as any speculative fiction short story I've read. My only commentary is that perhaps readers shouldn't read all of these poems in one sitting, instead giving one's self time to appreciate, re-read, and ponder Allen's poetry. Again, I'm not a big fan of poems but Allen was accessible and I recommend that people skeptical of speculative fiction poetry to give The Journey to Kailash a shot.
1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.