By Beth Gater and Juliette Tulloch
The Octunnumi is a mysterious and mystical fantasy series created by Trevor Alan Foris and published in March 2020. The first instalment of the series is the Fosbit Files Prologue, which introduces the reader into the worlds, the species that inhabit them and then leads us to believe there will be twelve more installations to the series. The book is completely unique in both story and design. Foris has created a complex and exceptional world which is designed to completely immerse the reader in its high fantasy. The book went viral on the internet as its blurb is perplexing and leaves everything about the contents of the story to the imagination. The blurb begins with:
“The Octunnumi does not exist. Fosbit and any files relating to a Fosbit do not exist.
The Tarelen peoples that protect and provide sanctuary for the Avitens of Fethrist are not real.”
The premise of the novel follows the story of twin brothers, Reig and Trad, who are ‘Tarelens’. The Tarelens have the unique ability to regenerate infinitely and have created an organisation named ‘The Octunnumi’ which protects and monitors portals to different universes. All species within the novel live within each others’ universes which creates a truly imaginative and bizarre reading experience.
Much like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, Foris has created his own vocabulary and terms. The Octunnumi comes with its own dictionary of phrases that allows the reader to understand the world and immerse themselves into the complexity of the story – also becoming handy as a bookmark! The depth that Foris has gone to in his worldbuilding insinuates that this series has even more twists and surprises to come.
The design of Foris’ debut is impressive, even at first glance: black sprayed edges, spot gloss, foil, embossing and that is just the front cover. This attention to detail is continued inside where the pages are adorned by whimsical black borders showing that design does not stop at the front cover, but includes endpapers, the title page and the story itself.
The black and gold theme makes for a classy cover design that truly captures the wonder of Reig and Trad’s world, where the layered cover design of the embossing represents the multi-layered narrative and world building inside the book. Foil is most commonly used in YA, Children’s and Fantasy cover designs and is a great way of attracting readers from its book stand. The spot gloss is set using ultraviolet light, and blind spots are particularly captivating when there is no print underneath so that information can disappear and reappear (this technique is more commonly used on book proofs or ARCs).
While you may be wondering why this debut was not originally published in hardback, their website explains the sheer detail of the design and its impressive weight of just under a kilo (520 pages!) means it hasn’t been feasible, yet! The current edition is a “hybrid” paperback and hardback, measuring at 15.4 x 23 x 4.5cm. They have also used a heavier grade board to support the book that allows for the intricate production techniques, including the soft touch lamination. We’ll have to keep our eyes out for the hardback edition in the future!
What makes The Octunnumi’s marketing and publicity campaign go that one step further is the addition of its very own app. Readers can download it for free and scan pages in the book for extra content that appears with vivid animations! What’s more, each copy sold generates a donation to Good Heart Animal Sanctuaries.
You can find out more about the series on their twitter herehttps://twitter.com/TheOctunnumi.