50% two boring protagonists who are just sooo nice you just want them to drop dead. 50% two disturbingly andtw: rape, murder, violence, sexual torture
50% two boring protagonists who are just sooo nice you just want them to drop dead. 50% two disturbingly and disgustingly compelling protagonist who spend 25% of their time raping and the other 25% killing.
There's no denying that it's well written with a solid plot. But there's no way I could read all this senseless rape and root for anyone....more
TW: graphic descriptions of rape, sexual slavery, torture, murder, violence towards women, violence towards children, xenophilia, and I'm probably f
TW: graphic descriptions of rape, sexual slavery, torture, murder, violence towards women, violence towards children, xenophilia, and I'm probably forgetting a thousand other things...
Don't let the trigger warnings discourage you (or really, really DO if they are trigger warnings to you), like many epic fantasy/sci-fi works most of these things are present. They didn't keep A Song of Ice and Fire from becoming a best-seller, and they don't keep The Last Hour of Gann from being an amazing book.
Amber, our female protagonist, crashed along her sister and a bunch of other humans (this seems so weird to write, but bear with me, I'm still on that human vs aliens mindset after 1277 pages of it) into an unknown planet.
What follows is a pretty good illustration of human character when faced by survival: horrid. That's not to say that the power dynamics which arise aren't absolutely enthralling! Scott (he can't really be thought of as the main antagonist because so many villains pop up in this book and they are absolutely despicable, but he's certainly the one who lasts the longest) who by virtue of embodying insufferable and unflagging male entitlement, no matter how repeatedly he is proven wrong, becomes so hateful that I ended up longing for his appearance just so that I could hate some more.
They end up finding one of the indigenous species of the planet: a lizardman (for lack of a better descriptor). Meoraq is part of the elite of an oligarchic society, a warrior priest, who defines himself by his strict religion.
I was expecting the romance, since I read the book's Goodreads' page, but I was still a bit... iffy about it? I mean, when you think of a dreamy hero your mind doesn't automatically go to a lizard. ...Hopefully.
But here's the thing, their relationship is so sloooooooow moving, and so well developed that when they get together (way, way into the book) it just seems natural.
One thing I absolutely loved! Amber doesn't find Meoraq attractive, and Meoraq doesn't find Amber attractive. They fall for each others' mind, spirit, character, strength, morals. I find that great! Too often books gloss over these things, but think about it: why would an alien find a human woman attractive? This is the Mars Needs Women trope at work, and I'm glad R. Lee Smith avoided it.
The action never lags, I never found myself bored - in fact I wish I did! There never seemed to be a moment of peace! The plot is coherent and addictive, the pacing is phenomenal, the characters feel real... I have nothing but praises about this book!
Then why the 4 star rating instead of 5 stars? It was too much for me. Bear in mind that this is a purely personal complaint, and does not reflect upon the quality of the book! But, as I said, for me, it was too much. Too much violence, too much rape (it's never rape for the sake of rape, it's always there for a reason and adds to the realism of the story, considering the society in which the characters find themselves), but too much... too much!
Still, it was an amazing read, and I highly recommend it to fantasy/sci-fi/romance fans.
As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to read it! I thought this would be a book of gruesome fairy tale retellings, but Emily Carroll corrected me
As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to read it! I thought this would be a book of gruesome fairy tale retellings, but Emily Carroll corrected me (to my unending delight) with this gorgeous book:
1) Emily Carroll writes her own gruesome fairy tales. 2) Emily Carroll writes her own gruesome fairy tales which are so amazing you feel like you've known them your whole life.
These fairy tales touch on our most primal fears: the dark, the uncanny not quite humans who prey on us and may replace our loved ones, the body horror, blood, dark enclosed spaces, pain, monsters, and death - all of them connected to the woods, the mythical place which the hand of civilization left untouched, where wild beasts roam, and nightmares dwell.
I read this on a cold winter night, and while it definitely improved the reading, I can't say I'd advise it to other readers... Imagine reading this while the wind howls outside, and you're cold down to your bones:
Haha... ha. Yeah... "Sweet, wet voice." Good... ...stuff.
I think the beautiful artwork and the colour choices (not to mention the use of light and dark to create an atmosphere) speak for themselves. But Carroll is also a master when it comes to pacing, and she has that little something only a few possess: the ability to invoke true horror in the readers' hearts. As Alfred Hitchcock said, "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it." And Emily Carroll certainly knows how to make use of this...
Please, please!! go read her comics on her official site! Not only are they free and amazing, but they also have some connections to the stories in this book.