Fair warning: if you are one of those childish people who gets their knickers in a twist over boys kissing boys and boys having babies, this is not the book for you.
Fair warning #2: if you like books that are all kittens and rainbows and where the characters have their happiness handed to them on a sliver plate, this is ALSO not the book for you.
Fair warning #3: If you are hoping for a PWP between pretty boys, this is also not the book for you.
With the warnings out of the way, I can now happily squeeeeeeeee my way through the rest of the review. Because squee. And SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE.
Those who know me probably know what a huge fan I am of Alyx’s work. I will happily gobble up anything she writes, and am happy to splurge on physical books when my bank account is in the positive. Mostly because then I can lend them and add to her army of minions.
That said, this is probably her best work yet, and A Strange Place In Time and Shroud Eaters don’t ever leave my ‘to read’ book tower.
There is something about Alyx’s characters that makes me fall in love with them, and when I go back to re-read, I discover new things about them that make me love them even more. There is also the wicked sense of humour; sometimes dark, sometimes childish, sometimes plain surreal, but if I haven’t giggled halfway through the book, then I know it’s not her. And then there’s the storytelling. I spend most of the book biting my nails, turning the page anxiously, or impatiently, or just in a hurry to get just a bit more… Just as an example, I came back from holidays and had a new job lined up. I read the book in three days by sacrificing about 16 hours of sleep to it.
Totally worth it.
THE NEXT BIT WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS SO SPEAK FRIEND AND ENTER (and then don’t come bitchin’).
The story has a lot of characters. A lot. But it mostly follows the story of Dahli, your typical teenaged girl. She likes the drummer in the most popular band, hates school and has an ongoing feud with the dumb girl in her class. Of course, unlike other typical teenage girls, she has lost her family to the recently ended 800-year war, doesn’t know when her next meal might be and is living on a planet where there are 800 men for every 1 woman. At least it makes dating interesting.
Her adventures start when she meets the man of her dreams: Draephus. Of course, being a veteran of said war makes him a bit less dreamlike than she expected, but it’s eventually okay, because they find out they are really great as siblings.
Through Draephus, Dahli gets to meet the rest of the band, and a few others too, and discovers how human they all can be (or not, because they’re aliens, but you know what I mean).
This is very much a story about growing up, whether you want to or not. This is a story about pain, and loss, and cruelty, and heartbreak, and death. And it’s also a story about love, and compassion, and friendship, and passion. Every single one of these characters has been fleshed out, they have a story, not always a nice one, but it’s THEIRS. And you want to know more about them, you get involved in their lives, in their hopes and dreams, in their tragedies. I cried at at least two points in this book. I raged very hard over certain events. I laughed at many a snarky comment or description. All in all, I FELT and OMG how.
I emailed Alyx when I had finished the book, and she asked me who my favourite character was. I couldn’t say. I loved them all nearly equally. I love Dahli, with her passion, and strength and idealism. I loved all the Mortified Gryphons, insane as they are. I loved Dalaes and J’Vanni. I loved Diza and Czamkiar. I loved Straif. I even loved all the visitors from Earth, with obvious exceptions. Seriously Alyx, what is it with you and Mikes? Did someone named Michael fuck you over? xD
I think what I loved the most was that there are obvious bad guys. But the good guys… can be not so good either. And that makes them believable. They are far from perfect, and how could they be? They have survived a war that has done unspeakable things to everybody on the planet. They love, they hate, they fight, they drug themselves into stupor. Each has their quirks and their ways of dealing with stuff, and even if you don't agree with it, when you realise how broken they are, you cannot help but feel compassion for them.
Anyways, if you like a book with a great story, fully fleshed out characters, great writing and don’t mind guys kissing other guys, guys having babies with other guys and the slightly more than occasional recreational drug use, this is definitely a book for you.
I love this book SO hard. It will stay forever on my Kindle (hopefully in a better format, because my Kindle is having a fit over it right now…). I can’t recommend it enough. If I had money, I would by a million copies and hand them out to people for free just so they would read it.
ILU Thank you for letting me review this book. It made my horrible week a lot less horrible.