Thank you to the author Rebecca Crunden for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: A Touch of Death (The Outlands 1) by Rebecca Crunden
Release Date: February 23rd 2017
Tags: Science-Fiction | Dystopia | Adult | Family | Friendship | Mutants | Infections | Grief
Trigger/Content Warnings: Mentions of attempted Suicide | Wishes of Death
A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta. The rich live in Anais, the capital city of Cutta, sheltered from the famine and disease which ravage the rest of the Kingdom. Yet riches and power only go so far, and even Anaitians can be executed. It is only by the will of the King that Nate Anteros, son of the King’s favourite, is spared from the gallows after openly dissenting. But when he’s released from prison, Nate disappears.
A stark contrast, Catherine Taenia has spent her entire life comfortable and content. The daughter of the King’s Hangman and in love with Thom, Nate’s younger brother, her life has always been easy, ordered and comfortable. That is, where it doesn’t concern Nate. His actions sullied not only his future, but theirs. And unlike Thom, Catherine has never forgiven him.
Two years pass without a word, and then one night Nate returns. But things with Nate are never simple, and when one wrong move turns their lives upside down, the only thing left to do is run where the King’s guards cannot find them – the Outlands. Those wild, untamed lands which stretch around the great walls of the Kingdom, filled with mutants and rabids.
A while ago Rebecca Crunden asked me to review her book. While I wasn’t initially sold there was something that did make me accept to review the book, and I am very glad I did.
A Touch of Death is the first book in a 5 part dystopian series, set a good thousand years in our future. It is not the world we know. There is the kingdom where most of the people live and then there are the Outerlands where the mutants live. Catherine gets stuck with Nate, her complacent’s (like a fiancee) brother, as they try and help him get out of trouble. As usual. But in the forest they stumble into something and get infected. And that is the start to a wild goose chase across the kingdom. Running away from the rule and trying to find a cure.
The series has an interesting world that hasn’t quite been completely set up in this first book. There is still a lot left to discover, and if I wanted to complain I would argue that this the book’s weakest point. In that I think we could have had more world building, more background so I felt I had a more solid feel on the world as a whole. On the other hand I think we had enough world building for the plot at hand. And at the end of the day I do want to know more about this world. About the Outerlands and the mutants. A good reason to read on I suspect.
I initially didn’t care much for Catherine but as I got more into the story her narration works quite well for the story. She isn’t one for hysterics and can view a lot of things matter of factually. She doesn’t over exaggerate the situation which makes her quite reliable.
Her interactions with Nate added humor and a light note on occasion. As they were somewhat opposite each other at the start of the book it created a continuous tension throughout the book. From animosity to friendship to possible love.
I very much appreciated Catherine for how she dealt with the romance portion of this book. She was partnered with Thom, Nate’s brother, for a few years and she quite loved him. After his death she grieved him, as much as one can when running through the kingdom. When Nate let her know that he had feelings for her she wasn’t so much swayed by him. She was grieving and loved his brother. While that did grow for Nate she certainly wasn’t one to jump right on in his arms.
I also really liked the addition of the three siblings about halfway through the book. Just Catherine and Nate could have gotten quite boring at some point, and the addition of some other characters gave the second half some more dynamic. Also more heart.
So all in all I really enjoyed reading A Touch of Death and am certainly interested to read on in this series.