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- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
RECEIVED FROM: The Author For Review
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
In this Futuristic or possibly Alternate Reality tale a vampire-like species called Superiors are the rulers of the earth and have been for the last 200 years. Draven Castle is a third class superior, a being created for a war he never had to fight in who's at the bottom of the social ladder because of when he was made. He barely ranks above the humans, though since the humans are considered animals, a source of food while any class of superior is not, he's still above them on the chain of social hierarchy. When he catches a young human named Aspen attempting to escape the confinement he begins to question the general population's belief that all humans are stupid and without feelings. When he runs into her again years later as almost an adult working as the meal at a restaurant his insatiable thirst for her blood in particular creates within him an attachment to the young girl. Through repeated visits with her he learns more about the human race and the girl, now called Cali, in particular. Her actions, thought and speech make it difficult to deny that she is in fact a sentient being, albeit under-educated Throughout the course of the story his views of her grow from interesting animal, to desired possession to possibly even caring about her as one would a child or friend. While developing an interaction with Cali, Draven also connects to another class of being he never previously understood, a Superior Second Class named Byron Kingsley whom he saves during a raid on a restaurant prostituting humans. The story follows Draven's path as he opens his mind and learns about the world and beings around him.
Before I begin I'm going to say two things, first this is the type of story that would be better served being reviewed by a professional reviewer or college professor. It begs for the type of literary analysis only someone with that type of credentials can give, though I do plan to make my best attempt in this review. The second, this is the type of book I think would have been better served going through traditional methods with an agent and mainstream major publishing house. I feel this way because the major publishing house would have a better ability to get the book out to a larger audience of educated readers who might otherwise skip an indie novel because of the small faction of indie writers that don't feel the need to edit their work before publishing and therefore give the rest a bad name. Even though it's a vampire type novel, it's filled with allusions to real world occurrences and greater meaning beyond the plot. It's more of an entertaining fictional social study than a read for entertainment plot. I personally don't believe it's reaching it's target audience as well as it should because of the method of publishing. Don't get me wrong, I adore a lot of indie authors, but unfortunately because of those few that are better skipped, the rest don't have the reach they should to the general public and educated readers. That said, onto my review.
Reading this I wonder is there even a genre for this? The Superiors is a breath of fresh air, a story so original and well written, that can't really be cookie-cut into a genre. I don't claim to be a genre expert but usually you can read a book and say this is romance, this is fantasy this is this or this is that. I'm not quite sure what The Superiors is. The writer has combined elements I would have never imagined possible, and blended them so seamlessly that it's hard to imagine you don't see them daily. She blends the seedy feel of 1920s noir with the futuristic setting of what I guess would be called a dystopian society. She then liberally adds the paranormal elements by making this society a world dominated by Vampire like creatures called The Superiors and those groups are then divided even further into classes of Superior. What's left for the humans? They've become slaves in their own world existing only for the sustenance and pleasure of the Superiors. While typically I'd say there's just too much here for this story-line to work, Hillbrand pulls it off with brilliance.
The story isn't one that grabs you on page one, it starts a little slowly and I'll admit I did set this book aside once after reading only a few pages because at the time I was in the mood for a book that would grab me the second I began to read. When I got a reminder that I'd had the book for three weeks and not reviewed it, I set aside the series book I'd been planning to read to open this one back up and give it another try. To my dismay I'd left off right when the book starts pulling you in, if I'd but turned a couple more pages I wouldn't have set it down.
It's not a fast moving plot and at the beginning you do wonder what the plot is at all. What keeps you turning the pages is the desire to learn more about this odd society and the strange connection between the young girl Aspen aka Cali and the Superior Third Class Draven. It's not attraction, he views humans as little more than animals, but yet he can't walk away and ignore her like every other human he feeds from either. She's like his favorite flavor of ice cream and the odd puppy at the pet store you can't help but stare at all rolled into one. The story doesn't have your typical plot of goal established, challenges to meet goal and goal achieved. It's more of a social study on the culture of these people and the differences between classes within their social structure than it is a story. It's not a book you read for entertainment value, it's one you read when you have the desire for something that includes some heavy thinking. That said I'm more of an entertainment reader so it wasn't something I would typically read.
The people in this novel are so blind to the other beings and classes in their world that they've become completely uneducated on the needs, wants or even abilities of others. It's a futuristic society where humans are being treated by Superior doctors for blood infections by using leaches instead of medicines like are common in today's society. The Superiors have convinced themselves that humans don't even have the ability to feel pain. While humanity is not as educated as they are today, they certainly haven't lost their nerve endings which recognize pain. The Second Class Superiors don't have a much higher opinion of the Third Class Superiors. Intelligence in a Third Class Superior actually surprises them. No one in the novel seems to view people in a different social caste as an individual rather than just a piece of a larger group. While some behaviors by both groups display actions that could be compared to how you'd picture cavemen acting, the violence born of both lack of higher learning and necessity, neither group can really be classified as unintelligent. A friend of mine on Goodreads mentioned that some scenes with the Third Class Superiors on the South End remind him of a pack of wolves fighting for a meal, I have to say I agree with that statement, it pretty much falls in with where I was going with the caveman like behavior. There are many scenes like this one, things that don't occur in the real world, that can easily be compared to things that really do happen in today's society.
The books seems to address the issues of animal cruelty, prejudice born of misconception, and social classes or structure that can still be found in today's society. I'm sure there are many more illusions and points the author wanted to make within this novel that I've missed simply because I haven't voluntarily read anything that wasn't for entertainment value alone since my attempts at college. I'm out of practice at picking out themes and allusions to the real world which reinforces the idea that I'm not the target reviewer or audience.
The book does have a full, but slow moving, story arc that also has a cliff hanger type ending. However, I think the cliffhanger fell a little flat with me as a reader because it wasn't a plot driven story that needed that sort of ending. It still feels complete without a second novel to come even though you don't exactly know what's going to happen between the three leading characters. What's happening in the story seems less the point than the characters within the story, but then again maybe that's just me.
Overall it's an excellent novel if you're looking for a book that's going to make you think. It's extremely well written and encompasses an extensive vocabulary of vastly underused words. It did take me longer to read than I typically spend on a novel, but for me it got so heavy at points that I just needed a break in a purely entertainment read. Lena Hillbrand has entered the writing world with a stunning literary piece that I think readers will talk about for years to come.