“She could still remember the very first E-day, the day when the Estranged first showed up in the city. One had shown up on their doorstep in the form of a young man, and that man had taken her life away from her with a hug.”
I really wanted to like this one more. The premise is fantastic — a different approach to zombie-mania. Estranged are effectively dead and mostly immortal, surviving on the high of a touch. Well, most of them. The virus that releases a darkness within each person separates the world into the Estranged and the Untouched. Of course, these things are never that simple. There is always a patient zero or a tinkering madman who brought the whole thing about. And Estranged is no different in that regard.
For the first few chapters I was saying to myself, “Self, I would love to write the screenplay for this!” The book was set up with definite scenes, and I could just picture the young, tough cop, Kalei, played by Daisey Ridley (or anther up-and-comer).
So, good premise…check!
The first quarter of this book is really great, and had I given it a rating at that point, it would have been four coffee cups. However, as soon as the character Shenaia is introduced, it’s like a different writer takes over. The change is gradual at first:
“Hiii, Kalei! How’s it crackin’, sista!”
Okay, Shenaia is full of personality and confident in her own skin. She provides a nice counter-balance to Kalei’s semi-uptight countenance.
Around the 50% mark, this seemingly-new author’s voice is in full swing. It likes street slang, large breasts, and bad action films.
“Eh, good guys, bad guys, they all’s out fo’ us now. Whatevs, let’s jus’ get outta here.”
Where was my dark, gritty, post-apocalyptic novel that tugged a little on my heart strings? Why was it suddenly replaced by a B-rated action film with bikini clad heroines…whose slang and forced dialogue gets worse and worse as time wears on?
I have to be honest, around this half-way point I started to speed read just to get through the book. Things evened out around the 80% mark, but inconsistencies like saying a person’s room is on the third floor in one chapter, and two chapters later saying it’s on the fifth floor…are sloppy and easily avoided.
I fear what happened here is what happens with a lot of creative works. The first sections of something are the best because they are the ones that have been edited, revised, rehashed the most…because they are first.
That said, if you like immortalish creatures, post-apocalyptic worlds, urban fantasy, sister drama, etc…this might be a book you’ll enjoy.
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.