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TPG’s Tasters: Othella, by Therin Knite

July 6, 2014

So, now that my schedule has finally settled down, I thought it high time to start doing these “taster” posts again. Today’s book comes thanks to Justine Allen, who reviewed it very recently, and I was very much expecting good things after reading her thoughts on it.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

The Cover

OthellaYou may recall that I like to nitpick when reviewing covers – particularly those for indie books (all of them, so far), since authors have direct control over the covers in such cases. Many covers which look good at a glance start to look worse over time, and I’ve been quick to say so when this occurs.

Here, though, there is virtually nothing to criticise. The text stands out nicely, as do the colours, and that broken fencing is a particularly nice touch in my view. In fact, the only thing at all that bothers me is the sky at the top of the image: I might be wrong, but it looks distinctly as though the dimensions of it have been skewed. Take a look at the smoke to the right of the biggest tower and decide for yourself.

Looking good? – Yes

The Blurb

Georgette 

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Georgette McClain can’t resist a juicy tip. So when a rumored crazy ex-CEO gifts her evidence of a vast conspiracy involving the world’s premier scientific community, Arcadian Heights, she sets her sights on the story of a lifetime. And all she has to do to grab it by the reins is sneak into the most secure facility in the world—and expose it for the slaughter house it is. 

Marco 

Tech company CEO Marco Salt has it all. Fame. Fortune. Family. But not long after Marco’s beloved genius daughter is invited to join Arcadian Heights, a rogue agent reveals to him the horrifying truth about the revered scientific community. Forced to flee for his life, Marco finds himself on the run with a deadly secret in his grasp and a single goal in mind: destroy Arcadian Heights. 

Quentin 

Quentin Belmont has been the Arcadian Heights spokesman for the better part of two decades, and his singular motivation is to keep the community safe at all costs. So when an internal incursion leaks vital information to an outside party, Quentin preps a “cleanup” without a second thought. But what at first appears to be a simple task turns out to be anything but, and Quentin comes face to face with the unthinkable—a threat that could annihilate the community.

Yay! Three blurbs for the price of one!

Individually, all of these work nicely: each is nice and streamlined, introducing their character’s conflict with a minimal amount of fuss. Together, they work even better: we can see that Quentin will be at odds with the other two, and I think it’ll be interesting to see how these three characters end up interacting. So far, I’m on board.

Looking good? – Yes

The Opening

The opening of the book is titled “A Record of Events”. This, I’d say, is an apt description; it’s essentially the book’s backstory, given in the form of a speech by one Quentin Belmont. War, disease and climate change has pushed the word to the brink, it seems, with no solution in sight.

And then, Quentin gives us this:

“But I stand here today to tell you, you twenty-five brave souls, that the end is not upon us, no matter how bleak the future seems. The end is not upon us because you are here…And so, it is with great honor that I invite you inside Arcadian Heights”

Well, this all sounds dandy, doesn’t it? What could possibly go wrong?

Looking good? – Very much so

The Rest

Much of the remaining extract follows Georgette and Quentin in alternating chapters, which are stated to take place 6 months and 5 years ago, respectively. I’m…not exactly sure what the present time is in this book, mind. Quentin’s speech, perhaps? Who knows.

Both sets of chapters are good in their own way, moving slowly yet suspensefully. Georgette, a Pulitzer-winning journalist, navigates a ruined, crime-ridden city on a mission to investigate Arcadian Heights; Quentin, within the heights, prepares to address a fresh batch of recruits while clearly hiding something sinister. Character and world details trickle down in a steady and paced manner, in ways which feel entirely natural.

Of the above two characters, though, I’d say Quentin was my favourite here. I’m assuming he’ll be the villain (of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety), which makes him downright fascinating as a viewpoint character.  I particularly liked the opening of his last chapter, which gives up a good look into the man’s mindset:

I call it the “last supper”. I’m morbid that way. But it’s an accurate enough description.

After greeting the recruits as a group, I lead them to the temporary dormitories where they’ll be spending less than a night, nervous and excited for the orientation program that doesn’t exist. They have most of the day to unpack belongings that will trashed by the end of the week, get acquainted with fake orientation class schedules, and get a taste of the spa and gym area I had cleaned and prepped two days before their arrival.

Nice, huh?

(And yes, in case you’re wondering: the whole book is written in first person present. I’m…really not keen on this style, personally, but at least it seems to be pulled off well here.)

The only (slight) disappointment here was that we don’t get to see more of Marco. His opening scene is right at the end of the extract, and serves pretty much solely to exposit on a past tragedy from which he has yet to recover. Still, judging from the rest of the extract, I’m sure this character will be developed in good time.

Did I Buy It? 

Yep, I certainly did. One more for the reading list, then.

Have you read this book yourself? Do you plan to? Any opinions on the book or this post? Feel free to share ‘em down below!

 

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3 Comments
  1. The sky was skewed? Definitely a nit-picker! 🙂

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