I couldn’t let Read an eBook Week go by without reviewing at least one ebook, so here goes!
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Wake Up With the Kimellians by Zoe E. Whitten
While I’ve read other work by Zoe E. Whitten, including the supernatural horror Haunting Sins (my review here), Kimellians is the first of Whitten’s science fiction that I’ve read. And I must say that Whitten has a strong grasp of the differences between these genres, not only in terms of plot (the most obvious), but also in terms of language, of style. She is a versatile author — something to be commended for.
Roger Maple wakes up after a five-year coma to an Earth that is completely changed from the one he remembers. Gone are the world governments, human freedom, individuality — for aliens have invaded the world and subjugated the human race, killing anyone who dares defy them. Set loose in a world he doesn’t understand, Roger is the only person left with the will to fight, the spark to live. Will he manage to change the course of human fate?
With only five parts, this novella is a pretty quick read, and draws the reader in immediately (I had clicked on the link just to have a peek and ended up reading it all in one sitting).
Overall, the writing is very strong and atmospheric; I really got a sense of the utter alien-ness of Earth, of the desolate landscapes, of fear. The story may be a short one, but it doesn’t lack in depth.
The setting is perhaps the best part of the story. This is Earth unlike anything you could imagine. I love the world-building: the 1984-esque big brother feel, the security systems, structure of society… all of it.
The plot is for the most part strong, especially in its uniqueness. Roger doesn’t react in the big-hero way you might expect, but his actions — whilst simple — make a difference. However, I did think the plot let down the setting a little; Whitten goes through the trouble to make a truly intriguing setting, but only scratches the surface of it throughout the story. In other words, I wanted to read more about that universe — there really is potential for a bigger story here.
I suppose the plot wouldn’t have left me feeling unsatisfied if it weren’t for the ending. The ending felt a little rushed, a little too simple; so much of the story is spent building up the climax, that I was led to expect a bigger final bang or twist. I guess you could consider this a backhanded compliment of sorts, as I wish there had been more to read!
As for the website itself, one of my main complaints the last time I reviewed a work of Whitten’s was the website design, in particular the blockiness of the text. Whitten has listened to feedback and Kimellians features an extra line between paragraphs — much easier to read!
In sum, I’d recommend this story to science fiction fans who enjoy exploring new settings — the premise is unique, and the story is well worth reading for that alone.