Paranormal World, #1
This book has been low-key pinging on my radar for ages, or so it feels. It was published almost two years ago, and the cover’s been popping up here and there ever since. I even tried reading it once a while back, but I wasn’t in the right mood, and something else came up and caught my interest.
This time, though, the stars aligned, and I got into it.
By the series title, I expected this to be a paranormal romance, and while there’s definitely a romantic element (and a paranormal one), I’m not sure it’s purely PNR. Rather, I’d describe it as dystopian fantasy.
The world’s gone to shit, half of humanity has died in the sickness, and two thirds of those who remain have gained paranormal powers or turned into monsters. It’s a royal mess, but here and there, people have managed to carve out little enclaves of relative safety and normalcy.
Now, I have to admit I’ve not read much in the way of dystopian fiction, so I don’t know if this is common for the genre or not, but I quite liked it. For me, it was new and interesting, and it gave rise to a whole lot of new questions and ideas. This is a setting I’d like to explore further.
I’m not sure it’s all about the setting, though…
At the start of the book, I found a preface which explained why the author had decided to release a second, revised, edition. This really resonated with me (and not just because I’m revising my own books at the moment). I feel like this says a lot about the author’s attitude to her stories, her characters, and her readers, and it speaks well for the rest of the series.
Anyway, to tie this in with the story…
After nine years of living in the post-normal world, Amina isn’t some rookie pushover. She has her powers, and she knows how to use them, but at the same time, she’s still not explored the full extent of her abilities, and she has a lot left to learn.
She’s uncertain, full of doubts and suspicions, and she doesn’t always make the most rational decisions, like people do. I believe that this, together with the setting, is what really gave the story its vibe. It’s not just a new world to explore, there’s also an intriguing character to explore the world with.
Sure, I don’t always agree with Amina’s priorities, but that’s what you get with people. She probably wouldn’t agree with mine either.
What I’ll whine about:
In the first third of the book, there are a lot of explanations about the various aspects of the new world. It’s not quite what I’d call info-dumps because they sort of fit with the narrative. It’s more that there’s a lot of them, and I feel like a lot of it would have been fun to piece together on my own.
There are sometimes a lot of names at once, and I was not always able to keep track of who was who.
What I’ll gush about:
The world building. As I mentioned above, I really enjoyed the setting, and I’d like to enjoy more.
The conflicts. There’s a definite distrust between normals and paranormals in the world – humans without powers, and those with. Neither side trusts the other, but for quit similar reasons. This rang true with me as it speaks to a lot of real-world disconnects that can be traced back to bad communication, preconceived notions, and cultural differences. There’s more than one case of the many being judged by the actions of the few.
This is a solid, well-written dystopian fantasy with a romance element. I’ve not read enough in the genre to compare it to other books of the same kind, but I know that I enjoyed it.