Where to begin? This is not your typical science fiction story. The author uses the term "wood punk" to describe the genre of this book, and it fits.Where to begin? This is not your typical science fiction story. The author uses the term "wood punk" to describe the genre of this book, and it fits. The world has suffered a collapse, and people have had to revert to old ways of family farming, communication through letters and carrier pigeons, and libraries have become the sacred repositories of all knowledge. Librarians are not only knowledgeable, but martially skilled. If you do damage to a library or a librarian, they will hunt you as unrelentingly as a US Marshall.
But the main aspect of the story revolves around the power of family and small communities, banding together to protect each other and the land they depend on to live.This is also a coming of age story, as Beneda, the female protagonist, goes from a young girl helping to run a family farm into a reluctant but capable leader of the people around her. She and Asante, a visiting Librarian from Africa, work together to take on unscrupulous individuals working to claim the Lowlands for their own financial gain. Because she's a young woman using a bow and arrow to defend her home and lead a (small) revolution in a future U.S, I did see the parallel between Beneda and Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games, but the stories and the flavors are very different.
One of the most unique aspects of this story is the dialect Mr. Gibson uses for his Lowland Carolina characters. Though it may be off putting until you can get into the rhythm of it, I found it added to the portrayal of the time and region. People of color populate this novel, and I found that quite refreshing as well.
My only problem was that I couldn't "feel" the characters. Something about the point of view of the author kept me from being able to fully get inside the heads and hearts of everyone. This distance is the main reason I gave the book a four instead of a five. Still, I'm interested in seeing other stories set in this world. ...more
Generally speaking, stories about superheroes tend to have the hero as the main character, but such is not exactly the case in Grim Ambition. Though wGenerally speaking, stories about superheroes tend to have the hero as the main character, but such is not exactly the case in Grim Ambition. Though we do see the hero and learn something of how he's come to don the mask, much of the story actually follows Emma, an ambitious member of Vance's crime syndicate. Determined to be more than persuasive eye candy, Emma convinces Vance, and his very dangerous, controlling, right hand man Alex, to let her infiltrate Grim's inner circle. Though this is the meat of the plan, it is not the true focus of the story.
Grim Ambition is about Emma's struggle, with her past, her job and her heart. She's tired of being objectified, but she understands the power of her attractiveness. She manipulates with care, because to do otherwise could cost her her life. There's a love story here, but not the one you might expect.
Ms. Reinfried engages all the senses when crafting her scenes. You see the pooling of the blood, you hear the crack of the finger bones, you taste the acrid bile, smell the teasing floral of the perfume, feel the softness of Emma's skin. You breathe in the edge of exhilaration as Grim parkours across rooftops, and feel the rising powerlust and pleasure as Alex tortures someone for information. Shawn, Grim's secret identity, experiences a hunger for taking down and killing the bad guys, so, the question does get raised, how can Grim be considered a hero if he's taking lives.
I liked the sense of blindness Ms Reinfried crafted in the reader, when Shawn is trying to emotionally "see" what's going on with his brother Jax. There are secrets still to be uncovered, and they are hinted at in a way that is tantalizing but unanswered in this particular volume of the series.
The story earns its grim name. Some readers may be triggered by the violence of some scenes and the potentially forced sexual situations Emma finds herself in at one point in the book. There are no truly happy endings here.
Though this book was well written, I never quite connected with some of the characters. As a result, I sometimes had to push myself through certain parts of the book. This is the main reason I'm not giving the book a higher rating. Still, I will be giving the second book a try. ...more