DISCLAIMER: I was given an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Now that we've got that out of the way, I'm so excited to share my thoughts regarding this story with you all.
The story evolves in a fictional place called "New Haven City, Westernmost Province of the Iron Gate on the Pacific Coast." That's a mouthful right?
Well, there's a reason for that.
The date is April 17, 2210 -- 198 years since the apocalypse of December 21, 2012. Yep, the world was supposed to end on that date, remember? No one believed it would happen, but it did. And there were survivors, some who claimed leadership and quickly established the new hierarchy. But not all survivors were human; some were supernatural beings - vampires who, for a time lived harmoniously with humankind. But then things started to change and the vampires became slaves to the humans in power.
Mira is one of the survivors. She is an enslaved vampire who's survival is dependent on how she performs in the arena where she is obliged to fight for sport at the whim of her masters and other spectators as a Gladiator. She is well known for her fighting skill as well as her attitude. She is definitely a non-conformist who frequently dreams of escaping from her cell and finding sanctuary outside the walls of her prison.
I will not divulge spoilers of the story here. Instead, I want to focus on Katie's writing style and world-building for this story. These two aspects are Katie's strength.
Katie has a knack for character development and world building. She has a talent for taking a simple idea and building momentum for a story throughout the book. In DISSENSION, this skill is showcased in her prologue. In five short pages, she sets the tone for this story by stating openly how the idea of the world ending on 12/21/12 had been dismissed. But then it does happen and the world as it had been known until then, did indeed end. When it was all over, it WAS a different world and those who survived -- both human and non-human -- had to find ways to recover and adapt. They had to learn to live in harmony as best they could. As a result, humans climbed up the food chain allowing ego to rule. In addition, a misunderstanding and ignorance as to the needs of the vampires became the breeding ground for prejudice. Hence, the targeting, jailing and enslaving of these creatures ensued.
Katie did a great job with Mira's character development. Early on, you get a real good look at who she is; what makes her tick. As a fighter she is the best gladiator in the area. However, she is also a woman with drive and determination. She is spunky; she's smart and she is mistrustful of her jailers. But she's always thinking and generally one step ahead of them. As you read through the story, you're always aware of what she is thinking.
Then there's the world building. For me, reading this story made me feel as though I were a spectator; an unseen character in the book. I could vividly see the arena, the cell that Mira lived in. I was a bystander watching her interactions with other vampires jailed alongside her as well as the opponents brought into the arena to fight her.
The fight scenes were very well depicted and choreographed. Sometimes you read a fight scene and you don't quite grasp what is happening because the writer will simply talk about blows connecting. I can almost see Ms. Salidas practicing these moves before using them as she writes these in such a way that you feel you have a front seat to the action. She is not overly graphic but you know exactly what is happening as it's happening; to the point that you almost hear each blow as it lands, each grunt that escapes the fighter's mouth.
This story is really about human nature and what one may be willing to do to survive an apocalypse. Toward the end something happens that I didn't see coming but the camaraderie that developed between Mira and three other characters is one of those things that makes you go "Hmm...." and moves this story along.
The book ends in a cliffhanger but I am confident that everything will work out...eventually.
To celebrate today's release of this fast paced, intriguing story, Ms. Kalidas is offering a discount of 25% via Smashwords for a copy in the format of your choice. Just use the code on the coupon below.
And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…
Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.