Where Honesty Never Ends.
Note: This copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Greetings! The Review Board here to share our thoughts on the second installment of the Doom Absolute series, Heretic. To share her thoughts, Nikki Vision.
I loved Doom Absolute and its weird world and creatures, so was excited to read Heretic. In the second book our heroine, Alma, is alive and back in school, coping with all the stuff that teens go through. Except that she is different. She has been dead and is now finding being alive again hard. But she soon meets up with others not too dissimilar to herself. Her transition and those of her friends, is not easy, as they need to be medicated in order to stay alive. Their bodies seem to be their enemies now and strange poisons and life threatening weaknesses are hampering their difficult existence in the normal world.
Although it is well written and believable, I was getting a bit fed up with these initial chapters, thinking that this was going to be just another teen book, but to my joy, the weirdness kicked in again and the author let loose his marvellous creations. For me, RT Worth excels when he writes about the quirky and surreal in his books. More myths and magic unfolds and our heroine discovers that she has a secret inside that she doesn’t want at all. She battles with enemies that are truly bizarre in a struggle to understand who or what, she really is. There are some wonderful characters in this story, but a particular favourite of mine was Pepsi, the cat guardian. I was heartbroken when he disappeared, presumed dead.
There were a few too many POV changes throughout, but not enough to detract from a great narrative, once the supernatural side of things kicked in and the talking cactus arrived, and The Powers that Be took control again. Dream worlds mix with reality and our heroine struggles to live a normal life surrounded as she is by creatures from another world. These crossings from reality to otherworldly settings are often jarring and confusing, but they do add to the overall feel of strangeness and disquiet that heightens the sense of alienation. I assume this is to reinforce the fact that Alma feels uncomfortable in her reanimated body.
The novel seems to be in two parts, and the second part – Marc v Alma – had me quite confused. As always I enjoyed the narrative and its quirkiness, but the jumps from POV had my head spinning. Heretic is packed with detail, miss a sentence or two and well, you’ve lost the plot. I did find parts of it a little repetitious and I think the novel could be improved with some pruning and editing to make it snappier and less overstocked with storyline, which is a bit complex.
Sometimes it got a bit confusing going between the real and dream/imagination, and I had to stop and think what was what several times before continuing. Maybe RT Worth could have let the POV stay with the main character throughout the narrative. I was often tempted to flick past the school passages and onto the more strange episodes that are truly readable, but I persevered with them in case I missed something.
Vision Verdict: 7 out of 10 TRB Stars
Having said all that, I did really enjoy this book and truly believe that RT Worth is a talented storyteller with an amazing imagination. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a quirky and darkly humorous fiction. There are some wonderful descriptions that bring the narrative alive and keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I eagerly await the next installment.
Now, thoughts from the Unleashed One.
In my opinion there is enough recanting of the central parts of Heretic to where I can say one does not necessarily have to; however, I do feel that the reader would be missing out on the magic and mystery of the characters and some of the twists if he/she does not read Doom Absolute first.
Now with that being said, let’s take a look at the strengths.
The artistic look of the cover: Similar to Doom Absolute, the author used his own illustration as the cover which works to give a crack at the happenings within.
Lots of action: There is plenty of conflict to go around as Simone/Alma attempts to live a normal life at the college she is attending. From dealing with her inner demons to trying to be there for her new friends, there’s no room for any downtime here.
Characters that address real life issues: In Heretic, besides Alma’s predicament, she and her group of friends (Kaisa, Grigory, and Donna) did experience their share of bullying from Imogen and Dooley. Each person reflected the end result of what could occur with the greatest travesty happening with Grigory—which angered me and brought me to tears. Yet it is a very real thing that can happen if it’s not acted upon fast enough.
Great Maturity in the Main Character: I really love the pace of Alma’s development. It matched with her growing responsibilities.
Tidying in POV and scene shifts: In Heretic, there were a lot of different shifts in POV as well as between flashbacks and settings. The way that it was constructed, at moments, proved to be very confusing and at moments I did have to re-read what I just read. There was not enough clear separation to keep things from meshing together.
Side Story Threatened to take over Main Story: Although I appreciated the extra layer of conflict provided as it pertained to the college, it almost (and at many points) succeeded in eclipsing the main story. I was involved in the Donna/Dooley saga, who Grigory was receiving love letters from, why Imogen was just a horrible person—while all that is fantastic, I tended to forget the rest of it was buffer for Alma.
Not enough description of various locations: Heretic is definitely more action centered, to the point where little to no emphasis was given to some of the locations. For the spots where there was description, it was staccato as if the author couldn’t wait to return back to the action. More balance in this area could have definitely been beneficial and served for a more filling read.
I am in agreement with Nikki Vision as it pertains to verdict-
Overall, I am a fan of the concept and am interested to see the full development of Alma as she continues her adventures.
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