Title: Blood for Love
Author: Chris M. Finkelstein
Length: 357 pages
Jan, a young D'otian, grows up in a society that outlaws love, and helps lead an underground love organization into a poisonous outlands to escape the government that forbids love.
(from Goodreads)This is the story of the life of Jan, a gifted male D’otian living on a violent, predatory planet. His mother Martha is part of a love-preservation network, outlawed by a world in which love is punished by DeathBT, (Death By Torture.)
When the underground network attempts a daring escape into the poisoned wildlands, they inadvertently cause a catastrophic explosion.
The explosion draws the instant wrath of the now doomed NOV, the only remaining nation on D’ot. The escapees take off into the wildlands, with stolen vaccines that they need to survive out there. The wildlands are aptly named.
Jan is guided to a five thousand year old hidden temple, which holds treasures and knowledge never before seen. The escapees begin to hope for a brave new world of peace and freedom, but the NOV continues to haunt Jan’s dreams.
Can the reptilian humanoids overcome their violent nature?
What will they do with freedom?
Can they control what they have found
in the hidden temple?
Martha is one of the two characters the story primarily focuses on. She's a member of the underground love society (called LERN), and struggles with concealing her feelings of love for her son and husband from the government, while teaching her son about love, and helping to further LERN's goals. She's very well-developed and interesting to read, and it's very fun to see her quick-witted ways of escaping certain doom.
Jan is the second of the two 'primary' characters, Martha's son. He's more the main character than Martha as, as the story technically focuses around his growth, from birth to helping lead LERN from their home to escape oppression. He's very much a religious figure, experiencing visions and hearing a voice that helps him. Unfortunately, he's also somewhat less interesting to read, as he sometimes seems to switch moods and motivations in an instant without reason. It also feels as if he is more just a vessel for the voice, at times, which may be the author's intent, but it weakens the character, I feel.
There are a number of other characters, including Jan's father, childhood friend, and others. They do all receive a good amount of characterization, and are excellent support for the leading characters, helping bring the world to life and showing the conflict they all suffer through well.
The book follows Jan's life, with each chapter touching on a different point in time, starting with Martha being pregnant with him in the first chapter, to in the end of the book, the year or so following his graduation. Each point of time along the way shows the struggle between feeling love, and belonging to a society which advocates and promotes love, and the necessity of hiding it from the government which has outlawed it, and will kill anyone caught feeling love in a horrible way. It culminates with the members of the society leaving their home, and running away to live in the abandoned wildlands, all the way to an abandoned city. At the same time, during all this, it also follows Jan's spiritual growth, and how he brings others to that same growth.
The story itself reads well, and is actually somewhat engaging. The trouble, unfortunately, lies in the world building. As a very different, and definitely alien world, a lot of things are referenced that do require some explanation, and it tends to break up the flow of the story. These could have been handled better, and more gradually. It's most prevalent in the first few chapters, and as a result, they early portions of the book suffer, while the last third of the book reads quite well. Unfortunately, while the story is moving along quite well, it ends rather abruptly, and the ending left me... wanting. There didn't seem to be a real climax to the story, which is okay for a setup for a sequel, but still doesn't leave one very fulfilled.
As with all the books I've reviewed thus far, I have only the cover image, since I read this via electronic media. It's all right, but doesn't give much in the way of hints towards the story itself.
As with the story, the early chapters suffer a bit. Too much time is spent trying to explain various terms and bits of the world, and so the writing is somewhat disjointed, particularly in the first chapter. Once the world itself has been explained sufficiently, the writing settles down and becomes much better. Mostly, it's just a matter of getting past that first chapter.
3 stars on Sarah's Star System
Anyone looking for a unique setting and odd premise, who also enjoys religious overtones.
Blood For Love (Volume 1) - Amazon Paperback $14.95
Blood For Love - Kindle version $0.99
11 hours ago