Recommended Age: 16+
Favorite Quote: “He was deprived of the one thing that gave him peace. His emotions were not his own to control anymore, he was now just a silenced man with a mind that was almost not present.”
I was asked to read and review this book by the author. This did not alter my opinions of the book whatsoever.
In the aftermath of a war-torn world, only Virtus survives as the last living city on Earth on the undying island of New Pravus. Mikhail, a man whose memories escape him and who lives without purpose in one of the outlaying settlements on New Pravus, receives a vision one night telling him he must journey into Virtus to fulfill his destiny. In turn he must battle his way through the madness that threatens to drive him to insanity.
I thought this was a really good book overall, and that’s coming from someone who’s not a big sci-fi reader. The first thing that drew me in was the story. As everyone knows, I believe in studying dystopian novels to benefit me for any future diaster. This book starts at the end almost. The world is pretty much dead. And it only gets worse from there! (Reading this back I realized how demented I sounded there, but I liked that the world got worse and that the book wasn’t very hopeful. A lot of writers weave a story filled with hope instead of dread and more should write a world with no hope and only dread.). I thought the plot developed nicely and the pacing was good. There wasn’t a ton of downtime in the novel but there was just enough so the reader doesn’t feel they’re running a race. The author writes a story that’s very easy to comprehend and to get into (I’m side-eyeing you Ninefox Gambit) and the story was simply well-written. The writing sucks you into the story and makes you devour the book quickly. The book also was very insightful. The story was constructed to be a story within a story kind of in my opinion. The underlying story being one of a man slowly being devoured by the madness of his own undoing, while he tries to right the wrongs and fix what has occurred. I might be totally wrong about that, but this was what I got out of the novel: you can’t always fix what has been broken. I once heard a man say good sci-fi is written so it tugs just enough at your heartstrings but doesn’t focus completely on those emotions. I believe this book fits that description.
While I greatly enjoyed this novel, I did have some issues with it. I felt Mikhail’s character was developed very well but that all the characters lacked some development. This issue really showed in the last chapter. The last chapter is from minor characters POV that by that point I had completely forgotten about. The last chapter also had an issue in which it focused way too heavily on fighting and basically an adult game of capture the flag, which left me confused and disoriented. I felt the novel could have been nearly perfect without that last chapter because in my opinion it already had the perfect ending. Despite the “flaws” I really enjoyed this novel and I implore you to read it if you’re a lover of sci-fi.