Famous actress Freya Auror suddenly finds herself in a very odd town where the townsfolk spend all their time consuming powerful substances and killinFamous actress Freya Auror suddenly finds herself in a very odd town where the townsfolk spend all their time consuming powerful substances and killing themselves. She soon discovers she's trapped, yet not all hope is lost. Maybe there's a way out for her, a way to escape the clutches of Immortown. Or just maybe she'll remain there until she fades...
(I received this book, from the author, in exchange for my honest review. A big thank you to Lily Markova! Please be aware, before reading further, that this review contains spoilers.)
In truth, I'm not a believer in life after death or anything like that, but Immortown definitely left me thinking and probably will continue to do so for a while to come. I didn't know what to expect and from what initially started off as serious confusion, turned to fascination as the story progressed and events were explained. I've never read anything quite like it before so, for me, it was certainly unique. Markova clearly has a lot of talent, from the way she writes to the overall tone of her work; the latter being how well she implemented the dark, disturbing feel yet could pull off the occasional humour. Despite that, I feel it took me a lot of effort to read it - I had to pay the utmost attention or I feared I'd miss something relevant; even minor distractions forced me to go over passages more than once. It was easy to lose place of what was happening amongst the lengthy narrative which whilst oftentimes beautiful, also dragged on in other areas. I struggled to rate it, but after some consideration I decided firmly upon the four stars; I really think it deserves such, given my overall enjoyment and the unmistakable thought that's been put into it.
Freya Auror was, in short, a troubled character. I know what it's like to lose someone extremely important and feel like letting go, so I could somewhat relate to her in the way that she lost herself to what she enjoyed doing; for her, it was the acting and the roles she played, such as Astra. She was also a woman enthralled by art, which in itself is characteristically attractive as it's so rare this day and age. I didn't particularly understand her connection to Kai, but I think she was the only one to truly see he wasn't the supposed villain everyone thought he was. Yes, perhaps he was a selfish man, but the burning of Immer wasn't exactly intentional. I actually really liked him, even though he wasn't perfect; quite the opposite in fact. He held an air of mystery and attitude that I found appealing. The childish India, her husband Remy and Chace were also good characters and of course, "Dude", who added some comic relief yet still succeeded to be a haunting figure. I wasn't fond of Kristle, but I suppose that was the whole point.
Indeed, the entire book was about death and suicide, but it was an intriguing take on things. It wasn't just a typical, simple purgatory tale, but something I found original. As I've already mentioned, the beginning had me scratching my head several times, but I'm glad I didn't let it scare me away. Eventually, it all clicked and that, when you sit back and realise all the ties are coming together and making sense, is a great and satisfying thing to experience. The two PoV's complimented and fit together nicely and the plot itself, whilst not action-packed, still greatly entertained.
I can't help wondering about the aftermath of Immortown. Will there be a sequel? It surely looks like it could be continued, so fingers crossed! I'd be very interested in reading more just like this.
"You know, when people lose someone, they are horrendously hypocritical. They don't pity the ones gone; they mourn themselves for being left without something familiar or loved."
Zyra Zanr is on a mission; to extradite the dangerous terrorist Boris Skringler from the planet of New Venus, and give him over to the InterGalactic AZyra Zanr is on a mission; to extradite the dangerous terrorist Boris Skringler from the planet of New Venus, and give him over to the InterGalactic Alliance, but nothing is ever so easy. Ending up imprisoned herself, Zyra must somehow fix her own mess and capture her target, who just so happens to be her ex-lover.
(I received this book, from the author, in exchange for my honest review. A big thank you to Kevis Hendrickson! Please be aware, before reading further, that this review contains spoilers.)
I admit, I'm very particular when it comes to science fiction, especially space opera, whether it be watching or reading. It needs to have a certain punch to fully interest me, something more than flashy battle scenes or odd looking aliens, but a story that's got depth. Story is essentially everything and, of course, how it's presented. Hendrickson certainly impressed me with a number of things, from his world-building to his highly descriptive writing. Zyra Zanr was portrayed exceptionally well, her every emotion described in such intimate detail, it's as if I could feel her rage, or even her lust. Of course, Zyra wasn't the most wise of characters, as her issues were caused by her own impulsive actions, however after reading the author's note after the ending, I believe this was intentional. She's deeply flawed, but even so, she wasn't completely dislikeable. Perhaps she'll grow as the series progresses, become more careful, as such development is no doubt important. We all learn from our mistakes, after all.
Being a bounty hunter, Zyra is anything but a good person. Sure, she struggles with her decisions and thinks she's doing the right thing, but she's ultimately a killer for hire. At best, she's in amongst shades of grey. Mikaela, her lover, was the likeable sort; loving, understanding and Zyra's only hope of fitting into a normal life with a stable future. I wanted things to work out between them, I really did. I found Mika was trying to be an anchor for the troubled love of her life and it was lovely, yet perhaps destined to fail. (Yes, I'm a real sop sometimes.) Their first scenes were erotically charged whilst not going into the nitty gritty too much, which I actually loved; being able to convey such sexual heat without going into the act of sex itself. Not all writers can do this.
I didn't like Boris Skringler and I certainly didn't want a screwed up, abusive romance going on, so I'm glad Zyra got that out of her head. As a murderer, terrorist, former partner in crime, I found him completely undesirable and annoying. In fact, the few men introduced seemed to be the unsavory types, but that however added to the "girl power" aspect. I do hope in the proceeding instalments, men are given more of a chance. Although saying that, I thoroughly enjoyed the Venusian's and their all-female culture. It was fantastically done and held a very dark undertone that was even unnerving. Their past was pretty grim, with being experimented on, forced to have abortions and whatnot. I truly believe they should've been left alone to rule their world however they saw fit, even if Queen Karah was a nasty woman.
The space battles were an exciting bonus to the great storytelling. As Captain Edna Ajala made the difficult decision to sacrifice her own life, and those of her crew, to attempt one last blow to the Alliance, well that moment was emotional. I don't usually enjoy such battles, and yes I became confused at times with all the techno-talk, but Hendrickson really drew me in. I wanted to know the fate of New Venus, I wanted to know about the super weapon and just what the goals of the Alliance really were. It was truly great, with a shocking finish.
I know one thing for sure, I have to check out more works by Kevis Hendrickson.
Ajala turned around and looked directly into the faces of her crewmembers. But instead of fear, she saw their courage. It was invigorating to be surrounded by such proud women, women who were willing to give their lives to protect their world. She took strength in their nobility and felt a surge of confidence. Death was going to come to them all. But she was going to see to it that the enemy died with them.