Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: From the Ashes

Reviewed by Shelly
I fell in like with this book because of the cover – the geometrical shapes of the skin wrapped in wire just fascinated me. The blurb got me further, how interesting and different would it be to have an anti-hero as the main character? How promising a concept that someone could rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains’? Pretty on the outside doesn’t fix the inside…

Twenty-five year old, aberrant Tobias Rutherford, aka Spark, masquerades as a graduate student at UC Berkeley while he’s on a mission from his father, Michael Cornelius Rutherford aka Lord High General Infernus Blaze -- aka Blaze. Unfortunately, that name doesn’t lend credence to this being a non-comic book or manga style story. But moving on…part of Tobias mission is to prevent the advancement of a biogenetics research being conducted by Professor Langdon at the college. While Tobias is there, he meets professor Sean Archer who had some secrets of his own.

Tobias is convinced that he’s a killer by nature, and nurture has no impact on his ability to make a choice, be it good or bad. There are some morality and ethics thoughts/concepts/dialogue that I wasn’t sure of their purpose within the story line, so I kept reading. Known as an aberrant by society’s standards – aberrant genetics, aberrant psychology – Tobias talents lie in his ability to control and manipulate electricity.

I had a lot of trouble with this story. Tobias is a straight up killer – he didn’t kill a few people, he killed a whole lotta people. He proudly acknowledges himself as his father’s son. He’s killed three million people, half the population of Laos, when he was younger. This is just one example of his killing. Am I supposed to feel sympathetic or empathetic towards this guy? Am I supposed to feel for him because his mother was killed when he was younger? Ummm – hell no, I’m not. Folks, when I read a story, for me to have enjoyment I expect to care about the character(s). Sadly, I found myself completely dispassionate about Tobias, Sean, or the LHGIB.

Sean was lacking in development. I don’t know what made him tick. I don’t know what made him like Tobias. I didn’t know anything about him except he’s got to have something going on to like somebody like Tobias. LHGIB was just some voice on a phone that I knew through the thoughts of Tobias. I thought there was a moment when the story line would have given more about him but that didn’t happen. So I kept reading. When his father contacts him with a change in mission, Tobias has to make the decision if he will continue to follow in his father’s footsteps or become the hero.

The end was quick, forced and make me a bit uncomfortable because I was sure that Tobias would redeem himself. I’m not okay with the killing folks especially because they’re human and they’ve done you no harm. If I saw evidence of cruelty and inhumanity, I might have a different thought to that but I didn’t. (*spoilers*) I absolutely did not see how the killing of Congress progressed this story line. How do you go from killings millions without mercy or impunity and claiming that you have no feelings for three fourths of the book to falling in love and all is right with the world? WTF?

Overall I didn’t like this story, it felt more like a comic book read primarily because of Tobias’s complete lack of remorse.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: D

*ARC Provided by Entangled for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
From the Ashes
by Adrien-Luc Sanders
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Publisher: Entangled

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