Janelle Dazzlepants's Reviews > The Liberator

The Liberator by William Manchee
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's review
Nov 04, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, sci-fi, young-adult, first-reads, aliens
Read from October 27 to November 04, 2010

** spoiler alert ** The Liberator blends young adult, sci-fi and fantasy in a really interesting way. When the story begins on Earth, it has a very sci-fi feel and is slightly reminiscent of the Spielberg miniseries Taken, but once Peter reaches Tarizon it transforms into something more fantasy-driven and somehow lighter.

It starts off being what I traditionally think of as sci-fi: cold, artificial, and usually involving grey men, alien abductions, or all-seeing Big Brother technology. Then it transforms into something reminiscent of the fantasy epics I used to read as a kid, where a pre-teen would lead an army of mages, telepathic snow leopards and soldiers in a war against a shadowy nation of vampires, sorcerers and witches. Except y'know, it's Loyalists versus Purists, and seafolken, rhutz, mutants and nanomites.

Usually when I read books that blend genres like this it's a solid mix throughout the entire text. It seems as if different genres feature more at different stages throughout The Liberator: typical sci-fi at the start, then fantasy and young adult for the rest. The sci-fi is still there, but plays a supporting role to the fantasy themes. Think of it like this - it could easily be straight fantasy if Tarizon were another dimension rather than another planet, and Peter had fallen down the rabbit hole rather than been abducted.

It's certainly interesting to see how the genres and tone change, though it may be disappointing to some. I initially thought I was in for something like Spielberg's Taken and wound up with something more like Avatar. I can definitely see people being disappointed and being like "What?! This isn't what I signed up for!" I felt a bit like that, but I do like where the story ended up.

One of the aspects I liked the most about the book was that the Tarizonians seem so human. They're technically considered an alien race, but are basically just humans with telepathy and telekinesis. Perhaps the reason why I like this so much is that we're constantly speculating about life on other planets, and envisage aliens to be like ET or grey men.

I think it would be a shock to discover extraterrestrial lifeforms that are actually just like us. We expect life on other planets to be mutated and reflect their environment, so I think it would be both amusing and humbling to discover that 'nope, they're just like us. We're not so special after all'.

The Tarizonians being essentially human contributes to an easy-to-follow mythology, and keeps the book light and easy to read. But it's not completely devoid of mythology, because you have the seafolken, mutants, rhutz, droguls and nanomites.

I didn't feel I had to consciously suspend my disbelief to embrace these creatures though - their mythology is simplistic enough that I didn't have to sit there agonising over what they are, how they got there, and how they can do what they do. I often enjoy wondering these things, but it can be obnoxious when I feel like I need an author to wrote a whole 'nother damn book just to explain it.

I also think the Atlantis subtext going on is also quite interesting. So many sci-fi and dystopian texts concern humans turning the Earth to shit, so it's great to see the tables turned for once. It's probably the Tall Poppy syndrome in me (and a little bit of sadism) but it's fascinating to watch this seemingly perfect advanced race be cut down like that, and Earth/humans actually being their saviour!

There's not too much I can say about the plot and character development at this point, as it's just one book in a trilogy. It's been nice to see Peter progress and come into his own as the Liberator, but I feel I'll be able to comment more after reading the rest of the series.

I do have to say that I REALLY don't like Lucinda though - I find her to be annoying and dumb, and I think she's a traitor. I'll go as far as to say that I'll be surprised if she's not, since she did go out of her way to be Peter's guide. I hate it when Peter pines for her, because the only appeal I can see is that she's apparently attractive. I find her innocence to be quite fake, and I think Lorin would be a much better fit, even though she's ~in love with her mate.

And speaking of mates, I have to say that I love how Central Authority picks a mate for each Tarizonian based on compatibility. I'm not saying I'd be into it, but it eliminates the need for awkward first dates and breakups ;]

And I'm unsure of the spelling of his name since I have this in audiobook format, but I thought it was overly predictable that Ehvon was a Purist. The author tried to dispel this notion, but at the back of my mind I was still like 'Nope buddy, you're a traitor. I know it.' I wish he hadn't been traitorous, because I felt like it was a bit weak and the author could have done better to fool the reader.

Overall, The Liberator was a fun and easy sci-fi/fantasy/YA read. I can't make too many judgements yet as I need to read the rest of the series to form a cohesive opinion, but I like it so far. It's an entertaining read at the very least, and I'm interested to see where it goes.

Disclaimer: I received this through the Goodreads First Reads program, but it doesn't affect my ability to give an honest review. I've received books through this program before and torn the authors a new asshole. :P

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10/27/2010 page 1
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