Ziaparr: a city being rebuilt after years of mechanized and magical warfare, the capital of a ravaged nation on the verge of renewal and self-rule. But unrest foments as undercaste cycle gangs raid supply trucks, agitate the populace and vandalize the city. A revolution is brewing in the slums and shantytowns against the occupying government, led by a voice on the radio, connected through forbidden magic.
Wenthi Tungét, a talented cycle rider and a loyal officer in the city patrol, is assigned to infiltrate the cycle gangs. For his mission against the insurgents, Wenthi must use their magic, connecting his mind to Nália, a recently captured rebel, using her knowledge to find his way into the heart of the rebellion.
Wenthi's skill on a cycle makes him valuable to the resistance cell he joins, but he discovers that the magic enhances with speed. Every ride intensifies his connection, drawing him closer to the gang he must betray, and strengthens Nália's presence as she haunts his mind.
Wenthi is torn between justice and duty, and the wrong choice will light a spark in a city on the verge of combustion.
Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: Four parallel series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. This includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew and The Way of the Shield. His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced. He lives in Austin with his family. For more information, visit Marshall’s website at www.mrmaresca.com.
The Velocity of Revolution is one of those books that fully absorbs you. You pick it up, thinking you’ll only read a bit before bed, and an hour later, you finally pull yourself out of it reluctantly because it’s sucked you in that much. Reading this feels like I imagine being on myco — the drug in the book that links people together and enhances the world around them — would.
I will admit that this book and I got off to something of a rocky start. Not in the sense that I wasn’t sure I’d like it — I knew from the start that I would — but there was a lot of terminology and worldbuilding thrown at you. Yes, it was explained, but for whatever reason, my brain just refused to keep it straight. Even now, I’m not entirely sure I could tell you it all. There’s a ruling elite, and a caste system based on how much blood you share with that ruling elite (i.e. whether you have relatives belonging to there). I remain somewhat lost on all the names and just how the ruling elite came to be, with the wars and empires and everything.
But fortunately, it’s not a book where being unable to keep track of all the nitty-gritty is a huge problem. And once I stopped trying to, I sped through it. Really, my problem was not understanding it while reading the book, but remembering it.
In the book, Wenthi, a policeman of sorts and son of one of the ruling families, is sent undercover to infiltrate a rebel movement because, somehow, he is the only person who they cannot sense coming (for reasons that are explained in the book but require more exposition than this review is going for). Using myco, the drug I mentioned before, he is linked to a captured rebel so that he can use her knowledge in finding his way in.
This is a book that you expect to be fast-moving and full of action, and it really does deliver on that front. And this is where its intensity really works too — you feel as though you’re there on the back of the cycles with the characters. The stakes are high, the plot is rapid and full of twists and turns, and this is the primary reason why, once I got into it, I didn’t want to put it down. This, to me, is the best of fantasy.
But it wouldn’t be much use to have such a great plot if you didn’t also have great characters, which this book does in spades. It’s a book that switches back and forth between POVs. Primarily, you have Wenthi, who is infiltrating the revolution, but there’s also Nália, the rebel he is linked with, and a third POV belonging to one of the rebels he is infiltrating (and here my inability to remember names strikes again, but I did love her). You can’t help but love them all, even though you know Wenthi is there to betray them and bring them down.
So this is a book I would highly recommend you pick up when it releases because, trust me, you won’t want to miss out.
Synopsis: The country Pinogoz has racist oppressors, implementing a harsh caste system. Out in the suburbs, people give "happily" their food and petrol for the oversea military, and starve thereby.
Nália is a member of a Robin Hood like motorcycle gang who rob petrol from government trains. But Wenthi, a police officer, arrests her despite of her superior ability with her modified bike.
Never before has anonye managed to catch those thieves, and Wenthi gets another chance to proof himself to his superiors. He gets the mission to infiltrate the undercaste suburb and find the head of the rebels.
A special mushroom drug merges Nália's consciousness with his own so that he can access her knowledge and abilities. Slowly, he works his way from the bottom of society into the center of the gangs.
What he finds there makes him ask his own history, convictions, and his country's foundations.
Review: Motorcycle, mushroom drugs, racing ladies, and mixed gender romances - how cool is that?
Maresca shoots off a high velocity plot which never lets you off from start to finish. The atmosphere is thick and stylish with pimped motorcycles, high-stake races, police hunts, and mushroom loaded Bacchanalia.
The LGBTQIA folks will cheer at this novel, which conjugates each and every letter of the acronym, up to a well integrated asexual woman who heavily dislikes those sexual activities.
It is not that easy to classify the work into one of the typical subgenres. First of all, it is a Dieselpunk story - think of technology equal to the 1940s, i.e. without computers, surveillance drones, or mobile phones. Together with the police state, racial discrimination, and caste system, you'll get a rich dystopia full of comments about social systems. Adding to that is the fantasy like magic of joined group consciousness induced by the mushroom which lets Wenthi develop to a superhero.
There are rough and criminal acts, but one can easily identify with Nália, because her folks are so heavily oppressed and in high need of her "good" deeds. On the other side, it would be easy to just hate the oppressors, if Maresca wouldn't have done such a fine job with the other main protagonist Wenthi. He represents the orderly type, the hope of the middle class, and caring for the all the people of his country. He doesn't like the idea of a civil war, and sees himself torn between several front-lines - that of his own family, his police friends, and the insights into the rebellion's background.
This action stuffed novel works very well as a standalone, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see a sequel.
Recommended for readers of high-octane character-driven dystopian Dieselpunk.
Absolutely rollicking, thoroughly unique dieselpunk fantasy! Maresca has crafted an intricate world with deep roots and populated it with amazing characters, each sympathetic and understandable even as their life experiences often place them at seemingly-irreconcilable odds with each other. The political and social nuance in the book is both enthralling and exciting, a web that will ensnare the curious and reward those willing to join Maresca on a high-octane ride.
The Velocity of Revolution is an incredibly unique story with some oh-so-familiar tropes, perfectly blending classic storytelling with bold ideas.
😍 Queer poly romance is the norm 😍 Every character is pansexual 😍 "force bond" / drift compatible main characters 😍 Akira/80s anime vibes ♥️ Cyberpunk tex mex setting ♥️ Dystopia ♥️ Slow burn romance 😍 Two people in the same body ♥️ Anti-colonial and anti-racist themes
The story follows a young cop whose tasked with bringing down a revolutionary sect of his countries underclass. He is able to do this by using a prisoner's mind and blending with it via the magic of a powerful mushroom that can bond people together. As he dives deeper into the world of the revolutionaries, he connects with them, and his whole task begins unraveling.
The worldbuilding s quite excellent for a small standalone, incorporating Central American and Asian culture primarily in a post-war/post-apocalyptic colonial world. There is a ridged caste system that is very well researched and is regularly affecting the smaller details of the story. Admittedly, they really just throw you into the social politics and they can be overwhelming at times.
The book itself is only 350ish pages, but the characters are well rounded with depth- from the leads to the side characters. This is also a world where polyamorous romance is normal, and everyone is pansexual by default. The main character (and all of the characters) engage in casual relationships with multiple partners, though the most powerful relationship is between the lead and the revolutionary woman in his head.
The settings are again, fairly lush for a standalone, with particular detail put into the world's slums, food (mostly very delicious tacos), and the motorcycle racing that is a key cultural element for these characters. It's very cool to see how bikes and racing blend into the story so seamlessly without being boring or geared towards people with specific knowledge.
My biggest issue with the book is in the last 50 pages or so, where the story gears more towards action. It doesn't engage as well as those parts of the book where the lead is infiltrating the lower castes, but that's a personal preference. Overall, The Velocity of Revolution is an excellent book for anyone looking for unique queer rep, politically driven scifi, and a warm, readable story.
HIGHLIGHTS ~everyone uses motorcycles and it is always sexy ~monogamy??? never heard of it ~the mushroom goddess is in the radios ~all the radios ~the most mouthwatering tacos ever ~magic drugs ~when the system breaks you down, break the system
This is, without question, one of the best books of the year.
To start with, this is dieselpunk fantasy, which I don’t run into too often – the magic in Velocity is intimately and powerfully tied to speed, the kind of speed which can only be achieved with the help of an engine, and so everything from motorcycles to trains have their own magical (and arguably spiritual, within the context of the story) significance. And that’s a brilliantly interesting concept all on its own, when so many storytellers choose to pit magic against technology, casting fantasy and science as some kind of enemies; instead, here, they’re intertwined, each a vital half of the whole.
(And for the record? Where ‘steampunk’ is most often used as a descriptor for a specific aesthetic, and as a term has kind of lost any connotations of rebellion-against-the-system, when Velocity calls itself dieselpunk, it means punk. The clue’s in the title: this is a book that is all about questioning and fighting against the system, up to and including tearing it all down to start over. It’s punk as hell.)
The book’s blurb does a pretty good job of summing up the basic story: Wenthi is a police officer, one of the first people with native blood to make the cut. This is probably in large part because his mother is a very important woman, but also helped by the fact that Wenthi completely buys into the status quo, which has his country beggared as all its resources are sent abroad to their ‘allies’, and the population is divided up into a caste system which can be summed up as: the more native blood you have, the lower down you are on the ladder of ‘people who matter’. Wenthi has absolutely drunk the kool-aid, to the point of being freakishly calm and accepting even when he’s mistreated or abused because of his ethnicity. Whoever’s running the propaganda, they’re clearly very good at it.
When his superiors realise that, for whatever reason, Wenthi can slip through the magical warning system used by the rebels – one which means they can always feel the cops coming, and thus always slip through their fingers – he’s sent undercover. With one invaluable resource: a mind-link to an imprisoned rebel that will make his true identity impossible for the rebels to detect.
But honestly, that doesn’t capture even a fraction of the awesomeness that is this story.~
ok this book fucks. like literally too. sex orgies wow. oh and talking revolution while eating tacos. like ok u know what fuck sex orgies, the real thing in this book is the food porn.
im obsessed with how well written the rigid caste system was. the details panning to every restriction put on the lower caste is so. fucking. real. i think that is something this book deals with really well. i love how it also goes into the privileges of revolutionary acts as well. the subtle difference between oshnå and lathéi going ‘oh, revolutions? yes!’ vs the undercaste people is just something i really loved. the snippets of radio broadcasts were a really nice touch here as well.
now wenthi, as a character, has vv weak characterization and i dont vibe with that. like it's so strange but he literally doesnt feel like a person. but he sort of still hits. his character has a consistency i appreciate a lot, i know exactly the place wenthi comes from as a character nd i really appreciate his reactions/upper class bias regarding a lot of things. his ‘me? but does that mean am i less?’ in the later half just hits on a certain level. his notions gets challenged in a very systematic way that i would have appreciated to be written a bit on the more expressive side but it drives certain points home so im not gonna go there w the nitpick alright. i also loved how his whole arc re the “infiltration” is handled.
anyway this book does a lot of things in the span of 400 pages and not everything was given enough attention. the scope of the world is so very huge here (i love it, it accounts for a v immersive experience) and it goes more into big dramatic way to address the things then to approach it on the level it demands. there are so many things that arent just given the screentime. so like. ack lots of potential for so many things im in mourning i kind of want more.
and lastly the ending was rly rushed as well. it was, as my notes say, ‘INSANE’. in a ‘i like it thats very neat but also what the heck u cant end it there’ way. there were a couple things that just happened in the blink of an eye that should have been given more than a page definitely nd then there are things that felt way too convenient. the tie up in the end just happens in the blink of 50 pages and it’s far too neatly wrapped up. i just wanted more, u know? the world building is so complex and the setting is so amazing, i just wanted more. but still i love this book a lot. it was a vv good read :)
Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
So maybe I looked at the blurb for The Velocity of Revolution because there was a motorcycle on the cover. I'd been aware of this author; the publisher had offered me other books but I didn't want to read them without having read earlier books in the series. I'm uncertain as to whether this is a stand alone but I'd be open to more books if it becomes a series.
The world-building was fantastic. There wasn't just a dump of facts but a gradual unfolding of the aspects through the characters and the story. The setting is a war torn country occupied and ruled by invaders. There is a class system and the original people of the country are at the bottom, working and starving. It's basically systematic racism.
Discovery of the world, comes through two viewpoints. Nalia, next to the bottom caste, a cycle rider and mechanic, who is involved in the revolution. Wenthi, is a cycle cop who patrols and is next to the top caste, with his mother and half-sister at the top. They meet when Wenthi catches her and arrests her. Their development as they learn about the revolution, its leaders and the true history is an emotional journey. They each have their eyes opened to the truth of the current government and lives of the people.
There are many characters who are also well developed. Even the briefest roles, seemed authentic. The world is pansexual, and very different from my own life experience or what I normally read. The sex is not detailed, and is pretty much off page. The "feel" while not the story, plot, characters or anything else, felt like Joel Dane's Cry Pilot series. Both had groups of people used and abused, as well as characters in grave danger, fighting for survival. I feared for the lives of these people I wanted to thrive.
There is also the mushrooms (drugs) which have a variety of uses. Rumors and propaganda about them obscure reality. They are a key part of life of the original people and a tenet of their fight for survival. I don't appreciate man's inhumanity to man so I can really get behind those trying to improve things. I really enjoyed The Velocity of Revolution and would like to see more of this world.
Wenthi goes under cover to break up a revolution, takes mushrooms, and has lots of group sex
If you still connect with 'sex, drugs, and rock n' roll' bad boys (but substitute motorcycles for music) then you have a good chance of liking this book. I'm more into a 'hot cocoa, chocolate chip cookie, and a good book' phase myself.
This is an original, exciting, action packed, gritty fantasy. It took me a little bit of time to get into because there's so much world building to be done, but I think the world Maresca made is great. It feels fresh and original, and I like that it's Central American inspired and not another Western European all white world. The main characters are all brown skinned, and sexuality is super fluid for all the characters. A secondary character is ace, and everyone is pretty chill about it. Her friends tease her, but they support her.
This is an exciting story packed with conflict in a well thought out world. We follow a patrol officer going undercover to infiltrate a rebel cycle gang while sharing his mind with a captured rebel who hates him and what he’s doing, and that he’s using her knowledge to carry out his mission. The story starts out with a lot of different things happening, and especially once Wenthi gets to the city there are a lot of different characters, to the point where it’s a lot to juggle. But the story really picks up and offers a lot of twists.
When I started this book I was excited. I was amped to read a book about revolution, motorcycles, psychic mushrooms, and a bunch of bisexual punks forming a found family. On the surface this book has some of that but when you go deeper not so much.
As the book progressed I liked it less and less until by the time I reached the end I had lost all interest and was somewhat exasperated. At every turn I kept waiting for the protagonist to become someone better. And he doesn't. The revolution aspect is disappointing and ends up with a white savior serving as a deus ex machina. The found family is a lie. The bisexual element made me bristle because it seemed to reinforce the stereotype that bisexual means horny all the time and will sleep with literally anyone. (Nothing wrong with writing a society like that, but it wasn't what I was hoping for or pitched.) And the mushrooms make less and less sense the more the book tried to explain, and could have been used in far more interesting ways. I suppose the motorcycles were still cool.
One of the core problems for me is I just didn't think the prose was up to snuff, and it made the other problems with the story structure and characterization all the more noticeable. It just never gels, and the more I poked at it the more it fell apart. All in all this was a book that set up a bunch of cool ideas and then just missed every opportunity to do something I found interesting or emotionally resonate. I'm glad other people seem to enjoy it but for me it missed the mark entirely.
I've never had a book flirt with me. Or do a strip tease. Or keep me reading for all the hookups that never happen on-page. This book does all those things.
Aside from that, there's a lot of great world-building, engaging characters, solid descriptions (the food! the motorcycles!), and plot twists that lead to a satisfying conclusion. The story touches on themes of identity, political change, race, class, and bodily autonomy. Some of the givens (especially mores around sex and drugs are different from those of a typical Western reader), and that's what made this story uniquely interesting to me.
While reading this book, I assumed this was the first in a series. Because there was no way all these problems could be solved easily (or quickly). It is set in a (Mexican or more general Central-American inspired) place which has been colonized and where the (white) colonisers have built up a strict caste-system. The less indigenous blood you have and the whiter you are, the easier your life will be. People with mostly indigenous heritage live in slums and struggle to survive, leaving them with not much energy to fight this status quo. Meanwhile, the colonisers and those light-skinned enough to live comfortably enough have obviously no reason to change it. So getting rid of the dark lord isn't going to do much because legislative, executive and judiciary are filled with people who never went hungry under him and so won't see any reason to change anything.
Of course, I didn't expect to get one book about the revolution and then one about drafting new laws and parliamentary debates (because that would have a very niche market) but I did expect more acknowledgement that it's still going to take time and effort to make things better again. As it was, over two-thirds of the book were really hammering home the "there's no single dark lord who is responsible for all our misery" message only to take a sharp U-turn at the last moment and go "but if we press this magical switch it's going to be all fine" and then veer slightly to the right and mumble "there's still some vague unspecified stuff to do but really not much". Now the magical switch felt a bit odd at first and I do wish there had been some more time to set it up but overall it did fit in the story. But I really would have wanted a slightly more open end. As it is, it tied things up far too quickly for me and seemed too rushed.
Marshall Ryan Maresca Creates a wonderful, fully-realized world here in one great book. Eschewing the bog-standard Ye Olde Magic Europe setting, he builds the world succinctly but with real depth, and explores a world with modern technology and a truly unique society, based on South American Culture. It actually reminds me of Fonda Lee's Jade City, not in the sense that the worlds are similar, but in the level at which tech and the settings magic are intertwined and developed.
Une histoire assez classique, mais dans un sous genre original, le diesel punk. J’ai passé un bon moment dedans.
Nous somme sur l’ile de Ziaparr (qui est le nom de la capitale autant que du pays). Le pays a un passé trouble. Plusieurs fois colonisé sur quelques siècles, sa population est mixte et son passé trouble. Lors de la dernière occupation, les colonisateurs avaient mis en place une pseudo indépendance et surtout un système de caste. Tout en haut les Llipe, purs sang descendant des colonisateurs (en gros les blancs), en dessous les Rhique demi-sang à la peau moins claire, puis les Jifoz, ceux à sang majoritairement local mais avec un mélange avec du blanc, et finalement les très pauvres Baniz, ceux qui sont d’origine locale sans mélange.
Après la dernière invasion, il y a de ça une 30ène d’années, un tyran c’est mis en marche en partant de Ziaparr. Il a conquis par la force les nations voisines, allant jusqu’à massacrer tout un peuple qui lui résistait grâce à un gaz provenant de champignons présents dans le sous sol de Ziaparr. L’arme a transformé toute la population en zombies qui ont du être achevés ensuite.
Heureusement l’alliance, un regroupement de diverses nations, a libéré le monde et a tué le tyran. Malheureusement pour Ziaparr c’est à eux d’en payer le prix maintenant. L’alliance n’occupe pas officiellement l’île, mais ils ont mis en place un moyen de contrôle strict de la population et aussi de la classe dirigeante, qui ne peux plus rien faire sans leur accort. Ils ont également remis en place le système de caste de façon bien plus présent et stricte qu’il ne l’était avant, car ça leur permet de contrôler encore mieux l’ensemble et leur donne des excuse pour parquer les gens la ou ils veulent.
L’alliance a fixé un prix à son intervention et sa libération, et tant que Ziaparr ne l’a pas payé ils resteront soumis à leur règles très strictes. Le martelage de la dette à payer est présent de partout, en permanence, et permet toutes les restrictions et abus.
On est sur un monde industriel. Les voitures existent, les camions, les avions, les motos, les trains … En gros j’ai ça ressemble à notre monde vers la seconde guerre mondiale. Dans ce contexte historique, les riches dames ont enfin le droit de ne plus porter de chapeau à l’extérieur, et des pantalons dans certaines circonstances, et la police patrouille à moto et à voiture.
On comprend donc que la plus grosse restriction est le carburant, car c’est le seul moyen de se déplacer autrement qu’à pied. Celui ci est soumis à rationnement et est super injuste. Par exemple il y a moins de carburant disponible pour les Jifoz alors que ceux si sont 10x plus nombreux que les Rhique, ce qui fait qu’en quelques petites heures les rares jours ouverts seuls quelques véhicules ont pu avoir la chance d’être ravitaillé.
Tout le quotidien des habitants en revient à la caste. Chaque quartier de la ville est barricadé et seul certaines castes peuvent y vivre. Avec couvre feu dans certaines zones, laissé-passés, règles stricte de vie (comme par exemple le fait qu’un Rhique ne peux pas entrer chez un Llipe sans l’autorisation directe de celui ci, même si il fait parti de la famille – ce qui inclus les commerces-, qu’un Baniz ne peux même pas travailler pour un Llipe dans un quartier Llipe- ils n’ont juste pas le droit d’y entrer).
Bien entendu l’Alliance joue avec les différences entre les castes et fait exprès de les magnifier. En effet une population qui se regarde droit dans les yeux en se détestant eux même aura moins de chance d’aller chercher la merde ailleurs. Et c’est flagrant quand on voit les personnages. Au final ils ne pensent quasiment jamais à l’Alliance, mais par contre ils ont la haine contre les classes qui leur sont supérieures.
Nous suivons deux personnages. Nália est une Jifoz. Les Jifoz sont les pauvres de la ville de Ziaparr, vu que les Baniz ne peuvent même pas y entrer -ils vivent à l’extérieur, dans les quartiers non réhabilités après la guerre-. Ils sont les mal vus, ce sont les racailles, ceux sur qui on tape même sans raison, juste pour se défouler ou sur qui on fait porter le chapeau parce qu’ils ne pourront rien dire. Nália vit de petite boulots sur sa moto préférée qu’elle a bricolée elle même à partir de pièces de différents véhicules qui partaient à la casse.
Celle ci voudrait rentrer dans un groupe clandestin de révolutionnaires qui organisent des coups pour subtiliser du pétrole à l’Alliance. Ceux si suivent une voix mystérieuse à la radio qui leur donne leurs missions. Ils ont pour habitude d’attaquer les train de marchandises qui circulent jusqu’au port, où le pétrole est embarqué sur de gros bateau direction les autres pays. Ils ne subtilisent pas tout, juste une quantité minime sur l’ensemble – mais qui est énorme pour eux, le tout en essayant de rester discret et en priant pour que les autorités ne le remarque même pas et ne partent pas à leur recherche.
C’est la première mission de Nália, mais celle ci tourne court. La jeune femme est arrêtée et mise en prison. Celle ci avait pris une drogue populaire qui permet à plusieurs personnes de se lier mentalement (elle souvent est utilisée entre amants pour magnifier l’expérience). Cette drogue est d’ailleurs issue sur même champignon que l’arme du tyran, mais utilisée de façon bien plus pacifique. Elle agit grâce à la vélocité des moto et du train, qui amplifie son effet normal donnant une cohésion au groupe. Très utile pour se coordonner en cas de coup dur ou autre.
Mais une fois en prison les forces de l’ordre se rendent vite compte que Nália fait une réaction bizarre à la drogue, comme si pour elle celle ci avait un pouvoir bien plus important.
Ils décident d’en profiter pour mettre en place une mission d’infiltration …
De la nous suivons le second personnes de l’intrigue, Wenthi. Celui ci est un Rhique et membre des forces de l’ordre, dans la brigade à moto.
Il est non seulement Rhique, mais aussi le fils d’une des figure de la politique de Ziaparr, sa mère étant sénatrice. Sa mère est Llipe, mais comme son père ne l’était pas, Wenthi se retrouve Rhique car son sang n’est plus aussi pur. C’est ainsi que dés qu’il est devenu adulte on lui a poliment demandé de quitter la demeure de sa mère car il n’avait plus le droit d’habiter dans le quartier. Il a du déménager ailleurs, dans un secteur Rhique, et n’a plus le droit de venir chez sa mère qu’en de rares occasions. D’ailleurs si il doit rester un soir, c’est dans l’aile des domestiques qu’il loge, il n’a même plus le droit à son ancienne chambre.
Mais Wenthi n’est pas rancunier. Il est dans les forces de l’ordre et pour lui respecter les règles est la seule voie possible.
Wenthi est choisi pour la mission d’infiltration car il a la peau plutôt sombre pour un Rhique et que les autorités plus hautes placées ont confiance en lui vu sa famille. Il va devoir incarner un pauvre Jifoz tout juste sorti de prison qui cherche des missions pour gagner suffisamment d’argent pour pouvoir rentrer chez lui à l’autre bout de l’île.
Le principal problème pour les infiltrations de ce genre, est le fait que les espion se font tout de suite repérer grâce à la drogue qui lie les personnes entre elles. Impossible de se cacher quand son esprit est lié à celui d’autres personnes. Mais avec le « don » de Nália avec la drogue, ils décident d’utiliser une autre drogue de leur fabrication qui forge un lien bien plus important ente deux personnes. Nália et Wenthi se retrouvent donc totalement lié. Wenthi ayant la « main » sur leur relation, Il pourra utiliser l’esprit de Nália comme boucler dans les situations dangereuses et ainsi ne pas se faire repérer.
Une cohabitation difficile s’engage entre ces deux personnes que tout oppose … Le tout alors que la faction révolutionnaire commence une phase plus active de leur plan …
Voila pour ce livre. Il y avait plein de sujets intéressants, comme l’exploitation du pétrole sous des couverts humanitaires, les différentes castes et leurs effets sur les personnages et la façon dont ils gèrent ça, ou même comment survivre quand on est né dans le pays qui a perdu la guerre et qui est occupé et ses ressources ravagées par les gagnants. Bien sur on peut faire pas mal de parallèles avec plein de situations différentes dans notre monde, ce qui donne matière à réflexion.
Une bonne lecture donc, que j’ai juste trouvé un peu trop classique car c’était une révolution vu de l’intérieur par un espion des forces de l’ordre et tout les conflits d’intérêt que ça peut susciter. Rien de particulièrement original sur ce point de vue la, même si le background donne quand même un bon plus à l’ensemble !
I am going to keep this a spoiler light review since I have the ARC finished about a month before the book is out. If you’ve read the author’s other books (and I really recommend that you do!) this one has a very different style to it. There’s an early modern level of technology with radios, motorcycles and cars and trains. Perhaps 192os tech level... There’s really only one magic thing in it though so don’t expect the same high fantasy with magic everywhere stories as his other books. The story is set in a conquered land with a rigid caste system and things are very bad for the lower castes. The one little bit of magic in this story is a mushroom that can connect minds. A terrible war ends roughly 15 or 20 years before the start of the story so the children old enough to remember the final days are adults in their 20s by the time of the story, It’s both very character driven and situation driven as the characters react to pretty awful situation around them. The characters are well fleshed out and react logically to their circumstances. The story does stand-alone nicely! I enjoyed it and look forward to whatever this author writes next.
I had to let this book sink in a little before writing this review. Ever since I read A Murder of Mages, I have been a fan of Maresca. When I found out he was writing a book outside of the Maradiane sequence, I was excited. Even more so when I read the synopsis of it on Maresca's blog. The thing that stuck most with me is "motorcycle Jesus gang." I'm not sure why but that is how my friend and I proceeded to reference this book whenever it was brought up between us.
This book didn't disappoint. The depth of world building in it is phenomenal. This books was so unique and I love that about this book. I loved the culture and the relationships between the characters. I did find the caste system and the names that the castes and people were referred to at times confusing but that always happens to me with intricately detailed books.
Without spoiling anything, I didn't give this book 5 stars because I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. It was kinda genius in a way but left me wanting more.
*Source* NetGalley *Genre* Fantasy / Dieselpunk *Rating* 3.5
I am presuming that The Velocity of Revolution is the first installment in a new series and not a standalone because there is no way you can leave the book the way it ends, and not be expecting more. You really want to know what this book is about? Motorcycles, psychedelic mushrooms, and lots of orgies. Mostly motorcycles and mushrooms. The story is set in a (Mexican or more general Central-American inspired) place which has been colonized and where the (white) colonizers have built up a strict caste-system. The less indigenous blood you have and the whiter you are, the easier your life will be.
4.5 stars at least. God this was so good and an absolute blast. a bit slow to start but so worth it. i did think some of the parts in the last 30 or so pages were dumb but these were minor and did not detract from how much I fucking loved this.
Let me start by saying this was a very readable book.
It was also poorly written, and poorly imagined. Despite being the co-host of an award winning podcast on worldbuilding, this book had some poor worldbuilding (I think in large part because the author tried to do too much). That began before page 1 with a list of the castes in this world.
The trouble is, that the author does not understand caste systems. Honestly it seemed like the author had a very complicated race based system in mind and borrowed the word caste and put it on a much less complicated, externally imposed cultural system, lacking hallmarks like strict endogamy.
For that matter, the author doesn't understand polyamory. That word doesn't appear in the book, but the author has described this book as set in culture where polyamory is standard. But there is no polyamory because there isn't any amory--there are no romantic relationships, just a bunch of casual sex.
And then there are the unnecessary neologisms. Most prominent is sweeps and swipesm aka hours and minutes. More or less? I think? And it's just annoying because, why?
According to Marshall Ryan Maresca, Ziapar is a mult-conquered city with a controlling caste system. Poorer areas frequently don’t get access to food and The Velocity of Revolution (paper from DAW) is increasing. It’s a crowded city where motorcycles are easier to use than cars. There’s also a mushroom that allows close connection to other people. Wenthi Tungét is asked to go undercover to expose the heart of the growing revolution and connected via a special mushroom to a minor member of the revolution so that his police background would be hidden. There are wheels within wheels and Wenthi finds his loyalities mixed and discovers the true tale of his father who died before he was born. Very exciting and hard to put down.
I have a lot of thoughts here, so I'm going to try to keep them organized. To an extent, this book does what it says on the package. We got motorcycles, revolution, and psychedelic mushrooms. But it's also a book about the nuances of anticolonialism, among other themes.
First, the worldbuilding, which is what Maresca's strength seems to be. We have a society where polyamory and pansexuality is the norm, and affection is often shown physically. (I really appreciated the choice to have an ace-aro character in this society, and her wishes always respected.) Pinogoz has been ravaged as the setting of several world wars. In thanks, it produces and exports oil and food to the countries that liberated them and have essentially peacekeeping corps stationed there. The extraction of oil is emphasized as a historical cause of unrest. The current colonizers are not the same as past colonizers, who are at the top of a caste system based on skin colour (representing ancestry). The light-skinned llipe live in luxury, while the dark-skinned baniz work in labour camps, if they survived the historic genocide. In between, the jihoz live in poverty and rations. They have a time-keeping system that absolutely baffles me even after the conclusion of the book.
Okay, that's the context. The plot is a little more complicated, but essentially involves a cop going undercover into a revolutionary ring and uncovering the truth about their country's history. The plot is driven by the nuances of how to overturn the current system of racism their society is based on.
And there are several things that stand out as the author's distinct choices. Wenthi experiences some enlightenment about the way he has treated jihoz as a police officer. He shares those emotions and memories viscerally with other officers, and a single one of them is like "oh I've been so cruel here." The policing system is either represented as people with good intentions following the orders of the colonialist government (Wenthi's friends), or bigoted pigs (not Wenthi's friends). Wenthi still thinks that policing represents justice, and that sense of justice drives his motivation.
Next we have the established Sehosian colonizers. Over time, many of these people have intermarried with the native people, creating mid-tier castes that experience a varying degree of discrimination. They experience luxuries directly tied to their caste (racial privilege). They often have servants of a lower caste. Their attitude towards lower castes is derisive and often abusive. Although their reign (implied to be less than 100 years?) has created the caste system, newer colonizers enforce it. The story makes a point to distinguish the naturalized Sehosians from the zoika, the foreign internationals. While it also distinguishes between the internationals who are tourists and the governing bodies, the consequences for naturalized Sehosians is significantly less. The story ends with a firm "we have an absolute plan to reform this society", and it initially focuses on anti-propaganda from the newer colonizers. There are some implications that certain llipe are on board with the revolution, but, importantly, they still experience that racial privilege. Though the Sehosians were "born here", they must face repercussions to create equity, instead of reinforcing systemic discrimination. Yes, nobody deserves to face the horrors of slavery or the war. There's an in-between, and you would think a story with so much noncommittal nuance would investigate that.
There could also be some discussion on the idea of who represents a revolution. The history of the nation involves the tyrant Rodriguen, whose motivation was also to reverse the international power structure. Comparing the actions of Rodriguen, the Fists of Zapi, and Varizina reveals fewer distinctions than the moral dichotomy implies.
You can tell this story made me think a lot on my views of anticolonialism, and that's part of why I gave it five stars. The story is a starting point for discussion, and there is no one correct reading of it. I'm not sure I would consider this fantasy, as the final form of the magical mushrooms escaped me a bit. I would class it more as alternate reality historical fiction, especially with the allegorical comparisons to today's society (ahem, wars fought over oil). There's also motorcycle racing, if that's your thing.
This was surprisingly good fun!! With a lot of important social and political themes tied in intelligently. I loved the way the caste system works in this world, how it called attention to racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and the criminalization of drugs (specifically psychedelics and ancestral medicinal). The diesel punk vibes? Immaculate. I want a motorcycle, who am I?
*spoiler* I don’t love the savior element at the end, where it seemed like the upper caste folks, even though they had faced some oppression of their own, were the ones who saved the day.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Weird and different! Interesting and unexpected. Worthwhile overall. There is a good mix of action and character stuff. The book is set in a caste society that has suffered a couple waves of colonization, is currently under military occupation, and is located on a strategically significant spot in an ongoing world war. The story deals with all the issues arising from that, so there is a lot going on!
Intrigue, oppression, exploitation, changing perspectives, justice and injustice, identity, purpose, people struggling to survive...lots to dig into. Plus mushrooms that psychically link you with your revolutionary friends of course. It all remains grounded in the character journeys though and manages not to feel heavy or depressing. It think it's because it shows that people are still fighting for a better world in spite of it all so there is a element of hope throughout. Certain parts of the book in particular feel like a genuine attempt to grapple with what it really means to build a better society/country in the face of a history of so much foreign influence and injustice. Do you try and recreate what existed before, or go forward and make something new? Some of that feels relevant and is going to stay with me.
It's fun and easy to read. The characters feel like believable people. The psychic mushroom stuff is cool. The world building is incredibly rich and it's delivered without prolonged info dumps. Certain parts of the ending feel a little bit rushed to me but it was still a satisfying conclusion ultimately. So was the ride getting there. I liked it! The author delivers an enjoyable time with this book. Give it a try :)
(CW-There is quite a lot of sexual content, but not in the way you might expect. It's not steamy or salacious or like an erotica. In terms of functionality in the story, its more just the way characters connect with each other and comes across as commonplace. There are both sexual and romantic queer relationships, group situations, and an asexual side character. Nothing is graphically or specifically described at all. Things are alluded to and then happen off page. Overall it feels like a pretty healthy representation of sex and sexuality. Nobody is shamed or degraded for those things. There is no violence or abuse of that type. However, if your comfort threshold for the presence of these things in your reading is low then this book might make you uncomfortable.)
Ziaparr is a city under occupation. Not that anyone really wants to admit that out loud. The Alliance soldiers are clearly here only to keep the peace while the country gets back on its feet! There will be local elections any day now! At least Wenthi, an officer of the law who has family in high places, has convinced himself of this. To him the rationing of resources and "paying back" makes sense, to a certain extent, and he's convinced people who break the law make life worse for everyone. Nália is far more skeptical. As a member of a much lower caste than Wenthi, she daily sees evidence of how broken and cruel the system is. Naturally, she wishes to rebel. This rebellion, led by a mysterious voice on the radio, leads to Nália and Wenthi being confronted with each other. Not a great match. Or?
I really enjoyed this fast-paced story about revolution, colonization and its consequences! It's both a character-focused story, as we follow how our main character(s)' beliefs about the world are challenged, over and over, and a plot-focused story, as we try to figure out who is leading the rebels and what the true purpose of the brewing revolution is. It's a story that grabs you by the shoulder, throws you on a motorbike (so many cool bike races in here!) and screams "LET'S GOOOOO!!!"
The worldbuilding is also excellent! We get a second world fantasy country where the norm is open relationships with people of all genders, magical mushrooms that let you share other people's minds (and possibly bodies) Sense8-style, and a lot of history that explains why the current situation in the book is as it is, sprinkled throughout without interrupting the plot. An interesting and engaging world that left me wanting more! Also, every time the book starts talking about the tacos sold in Ziaparr, I start craving tacos. Seriously, they sound delicious!
The story does deal with several heavy themes. The violence I'd describe as regular action movie level and the tone is generally more "gotta solve this mystery, gotta make the world better!" than "humans can do horrible things to each other", but there sure are many moments of those darker things; plenty of police brutality, racism/caste systems, slavery through a terrible prison system, cultural erasure and medical experiments. Keep that in mind when reading - but do read this book if it seems like something you'd enjoy!
Maresca writes what feels like a fresh new novel with Hispanic/South American culture world building and mixes it up with diesel punk motorbikes. A surprisingly quickpaced story that captures occupied lands, the suffering of the conquered, and the need for revolution by natives. Highly recommended. Also, not for those people who can't handle polyamory or the idea of characters having multiple sex partners. In short, not for people who can't look themselves naked in a mirror. You were warned.
A remarkable book that brings together racism, caste issues, polyamory, pansexual attraction, biker gangs and revolutionary politics in an incredibly built world. This is a great start to a promising series.
So why only four stars? Sadly I felt it lacked some depth in terms of characters and fell into some tropes in terms of the character development arc/redemption. That said it deserves kudos for not only it's originality but also for being an enjoyable read.
The subtitle of this book is "Pan-Polyamory and Street Tacos On Every Corner", and I am here for that. An extremely urban fantasy, with motorcycles and radios alongside magical psychedelic mushrooms, and some very hard looks at life under (multiple) conquerors, and the nature of revolution when all the revolution wants is to have their chance to tyrannize the tyrants.