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Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Land of No Angels Inspires True Self-Evaluation

Ready for another foray into a post-apocalyptic setting?

This one has nothing to do with zombies.

Instead, we're delving into the realm of demon invasion!

image via http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-77yFXYsMtj8/TdLqqDA_RGI/AAAAAAAAADw/TEI7W303eZs/s1600/Land%2Bof%2BNo%2BAngels03_500x800.jpg
Cover by Amanda Kelsey
at Razzle Dazzle Design

Welcome to Land of No Angels, the first installment in the Dark Ascension series, written by N.R. Wick.

So what's it about?

    One day, everything was fine. The next, our world spiralled into chaos as demons invaded the Earth. Many people died, and others went mad. Humans discovered by the new demon conquerors were killed or enslaved. Now, cities and homes are abandoned and left to rot.
    Rebecca and her sister Errol, however, have managed to survive with their wits intact, living in a tornado shelter and surviving off of canned goods and strange, unintelligent turkey demon meat. It's a lonely life, but life nonetheless.
    But one day, a demon attacks Errol after luring her into a trap. Errol survives, but is now poisoned. She'll die unless Rebecca can travel through demon territory and find the ingredients necessary to cure the affliction, and she only has a week to do it.

I have to be honest with you.

Reading about an awesome main character that just happens to have my name was very satisfying. I found myself thinking things like,

"Yep. Good name. All Rebeccas would make such a wise decision. 
And that one. And that one, too."

But can you really blame me for my moments of overinflated ego? I mean, come on... we all yearn to relate to a well-crafted character.


Even if the main character's name was, I don't know... Michaela Kennedy Kennsington LeBrat, III or something... even then, I'd like this book.

(Nothing against anyone with the name Michaela Kennedy Kennsington LeBrat, III, of course. 
That one is kinda growing on me...)

See, Wick managed to weave a beautiful tale of love, strength, and hope into an environment rich with hatred, cruelty, and desolation. The characters were all deeply flawed, yet still managed to overcome their personal weaknesses to work toward good, and at times selfless, goals.

How many people would be willing to sacrifice themselves for a stranger? How many would ignore a person in need in order to ensure their own survival? What would we do in the same circumstances that the characters were forced to endure?

None of those questions has a true answer. 

We know what we believe, and what we would like to believe, but since we've never actually been faced with a world in which demons have conquered and even transformed our environment, we really don't know those answers.

Wick explores these questions. 

She makes the reader question what s/he thinks is obvious. A few times, I found hope within situations and actions which I otherwise wouldn't. I also found pain. I found myself questioning what I thought I knew about the characters - especially bit characters.

This drew me into the world, and kept me there.

Even now, I don't feel I have the answers. Wick left just enough loose ends to make me crave the second installment, without leaving so many that I was plunged into frustration. I think I've stared at the cover for Land of No Mortals about fifteen times already, with my finger hovering over the 'Buy Now' button.

The pacing is great, and emotions run high. Throughout, the question of what separates us from the demons hovers above the reader's head. Wick's ability to thread the psychology of morality into her work without turning the story into a preach-fest is superb.

I found myself pondering: 

What, realistically, would I do in this same world? What choices would I make? How strong would I be? Where would I draw the line?

In all honesty, I'm a bit nervous about what those answers would be, and I think the same could be said for anyone.

Land of No Angels can be found on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

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