Where Honesty Never Ends.
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Action Adventure
Note: The copy was submitted by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb (provided by Amazon)
We all die –it’s inevitable.
But what if you were offered the chance to come back? Change your ways, live life to the full, do all the things you wanted to do?
Alma is gifted that chance, and she takes it without question. Barely in her teens, her life cruelly cut short in a world even more cruel. She seizes that opportunity with both hands, jumps in with reckless youthful abandon, waves away the small print. Thank you very much.
Now, trapped between the world of the dead and the living she races against the clock, stalked by supernatural forces and even the enemies responsible for her demise –to fulfill her contract before it’s too late and is dragged kicking and screaming to the place with no way out, for the rest of time.
Greetings everyone! The Review Board here to discuss our thoughts on Doom Absolute by R.T. Worth. First with her thoughts, Wordsmith Andi.
My first point of note in reading Doom Absolute is the book’s cover art. A tri-pointed collage of the myriad characters shrouded by mist, it is appropriately allusive to the story contained within. The cover actually does more justice to the story than the blurb provided, which says nothing of the magic, mystique, and strangely alluring blend of human culture/mentality (particularly the extreme consumerism) and anthropomorphic beings, namely the greenmen and fruitmen but not to exclude animals that can speak (but only to those whom have passed on), twisted versions of fairy tale creatures like the gnomes of Peat Valley, and walking and talking insects. Worth might want to rewrite his blurb to include a little more specific detail as to the world you’re dropped into rather than giving us an ambiguous description of something that doesn’t happen (Alma’s death) until almost a 3rd of the way in.
Engaging in the reading, my immediate impression was that Worth’s imagination and style is most reminiscent of China Mieville, whose works absolutely thrills and enchant with a dark vibrancy and near-primal hook. We’re drawn in immediately by an intriguing history description of the book’s setting, a planet akin to Earth, called Illuminara, but existing in a three-star solar system. Illuminara is populated by a plethora of walking and talking plants, called greenmen, and we get to meet one of them personally through the character of FC, or Fantastic Cactus, a surprisingly surly and lethal hand-for-hire who happens to be potted yet also has a movement form in which he utilizes shadows to become mobile. Along with the greenmen we also have the fruitmen, walking and talking fruit. Worth introduces us to Sid Banana, one such fruitman, and his attention to detail in delivering this character is flawless, giving us a clear picture of what a anthropomorphized banana would be like and have concerns for, especially concerning his skin and bruising.
Along with the greenmen and fruitmen, Illuminara is also host to anthropomorphized insects (most of whom only appear in passing, serving as arena fighters or the turncoat Nexus McGurk, a 7 foot tall preying mantis disguised as a human celebrity), humans, speaking animals (not like the ones in Narnia, mind you), and wizards and sorceresses, and greedy, unscrupulous global corporate monocracies like TransAn.
Worth wastes no time in throwing the reader head first into this stunning, fully imagined world where rebel groups battle against the monocracy of TransAn. Alma, a fourteen year old girl who has been imprisoned in a maximum security prison called Axis, is broken out of prison by the aforementioned Fantastic Cactus, and it is from this point that any expectation of predictability flies right out the window. Written at an often break-neck pace that works in perfect tandem to the equally break-neck action and relentless adventure, Doom Absolute is a fantastic, riveting read.
There were points at which I wondered if I was reading a sequel to another earlier book but on further investigation this proved not to be the case, which only proves the point that Worth has one of the most vivid imaginations and knows the world of Illuminara from the inside out. Suspension of disbelief is requisite but completely natural as Worth leads the reader deeper and deeper into a world that gives us more questions about it than answers and does so without us realizing it. For instance, why is TransAn, and thereby Illuminara, ruled over by a fourteen year old boy known only as the Count? Beyond the described atrocities inflicted upon this futuristic world, what exactly were/are the Efika rebels fighting for? What roles did Alma’s adoptive parents/guardians, Jestmain and Contra, play in the revolution that led to the massacre known as Scarlet Magray? There is as much mystery to the back story of Alma as there is action sequence acting as the vehicle for her progression through the story. As such, the wealth of mystery leaves ample room for the actual sequel that follows – a book that I am eager to read in follow up.
R.T. Worth is not an author to idly dismiss. After reading Doom Absolute, I easily and gladly rank this book right up there with Mieville’s works and, accordingly, I cannot wait to devour more of this unique world and writing style.
While the text was intermittently strewn with editing misses (misplaced punctuation, misspelled or misused words – ie, span the car instead of spun the car, you’re instead of your), these misses weren’t so numerous that they negatively affected my review.
I easily and gladly give Doom Absolute a 10 star rating!
I wasn’t sure what to say about this book at first, not because it is bad, but because it is so odd – in a good way. I loved the concept of writing about a place almost Purgatory like, where the dead abide, but have the opportunity to escape. In this strange world, some are given the chance to live again. A young girl, Alma, is offered this opportunity and we are transported into a dream-like universe where plants are people, people are plants, gnomes are evil, insects are huge and some even friendly, and everything is not what it seems. For Alma to return to the land of the living, she must honour the contract she made, but time is running out for our confused heroine and she must battle against other-worldly forces and those responsible for her untimely death, before it is too late.
I really enjoyed reading this odd book. The author, RT Worth, has a vivid imagination. I loved his ideas and the strange occupants of this dead/alive world are truly original. Alma has many odd creatures that help her with her quest to become one of the living again. One of my favourites is The Fantastic Cactus character, or Greenman. He not only speaks, but also helps Alma to escape her death prison and pops up now and then when she is in peril. My other favourite is the cat, Black Knight that Alma saves from Shindy’s Arena. This animal becomes her bodyguard and has some very useful supernatural powers that aid Alma in finishing her quest.
Vision Verdict: 8 out of 10 Stars
The only thing that bothered me and kept my rating from being a 10 is that there weren’t enough detailed physical descriptions of these weird locations. There were times when I couldn’t visualise the setting, which is important in a narrative like this, where places are alien to the reader. Other than that, a great book! The ending does not disappoint either and I was happy to see that there will be more escapades for this unusual heroine. I look forward to reading more from this fine writer.
Doom Absolute is the type of book where you have to definitely give full undivided attention, along with an exertion of a certain level of alertness. In addition, you have to tell reality to take a hike. I know those reading this wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing. By the end of this review, I will let you come to your own conclusion.
As a reversal of sorts, let me start off with the things that could have been improved, or can just be chalked up to an Unleashed quirk. For brevity, we will just say CONS.
Chapter Length: For me, the chapters felt lengthy, although there was a lot of pertinent information that was provided.
Attention to Detail (as it pertains to location): The focus on the action in Doom Absolute was incredible. However, I just wish the author took additional time to invest that in the locations where Alma and the rest of the revolutionaries traveled. In certain parts, I felt like that distinction was skipped over and would have added more flourish to where the chapter lengths would have been justified.
**That’s about all for the cons. The following are things I noted but did not factor star wise in my rating.**
Lack of illustrations within the book: The cover illustration I absolutely adored and I would have liked to have seen some in the book as well. Not necessarily in every chapter but I would have loved to have known what some of the settings were like in the mind of the author.
Slight syntax misses: Even after a second look, the most careful of eyes can miss a few here and there but some of the strange placement of punctuation and spelling distinctions were not significant enough to deter from the read.
Refreshing originality: What a gem I have discovered! I have never read a book quite like Doom Absolute. Nothing is as it seems and you find heroism in the most unusual places and treachery in the most unlikely spots. At the end of each chapter, I was anxiously awaiting what would happen in the next due to the subtle inclusion of new information along the way.
Engaging characters: My favorite character was not even the main one, not to say that I didn’t like her maturity and real life situational drama. It was the twist and turns of the plant Fantastic Cactus, the “ride or die” dedication of the Knights, and the gentle nature of Moto. The strength of the supporting cast made me respect Alma the main character that much more and gave credence to the intensity and “never say die” persistence of the villains and others who you weren’t sure were truly friend or foe.
Non-stop action: Each chapter of Doom Absolute had a bit of action. Although the fight sequences may be a bit too gory for some audiences, I definitely appreciated the levels of connectivity and realism. The vivacity made my skin prickle with goose bumps in some area.
Witty dialogue: Some of the dialogue did serve a bit of relief to counteract some of the doom. No, it’s not the type that will make you roll on the floor with laughter but a bit of a chuckle from time to time.
Unique cover: I do have a lot of admiration for someone who can create art. The cover for Doom Absolute is a work of art. It embodied all of the major players that had a role in the action of the book. To do that in a way that is balanced makes me smile.
Unleashed Verdict: 9 out of 10 TRB Stars
For nontraditional characters and non stop action, I highly recommend Doom Absolute and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Now taking all of the ratings and dividing my three, Doom Absolute gets 9 out of 10 Stars from The Review Board.
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