Saturday, September 16, 2017

Book Review: 'Integral' by Adam Thielen

New Kansas author Adam Thielen studied Philosophy in college and he has always written stories and now book influenced by action movies and role-playing games. Though his subject matter for this series VISCERAL is cyberpunk, magical realism and paranormal themes, he makes his story more poignant by referencing the condition of the world we are witnessing today.

For example, he sets his book in motion with the following – ‘In the year 2029 governments had buckled under the pressure of financial debts and dwindling natural resources. In a chain reaction, one state after another declared bankruptcy and ceased providing services. Attempts to print money resulted in all trade agreements breaking down, and as the crisis dragged on, much of the world’s populace declared their governments illegitimate. For a month it was Armageddon. No police to protect property, most hospitals shuttered, fires raged with no one to put them out, and rioters filled the streets. While America’s collapse wasn’t pretty, Europe’s was far uglier. Their people, either less complacent or more disgruntled depending on the perspective, razed cities to the ground. Much of Western Europe was in ruin for years. While the western world imploded in on itself, the eastern world exploded outward into conflicts, their generals seizing power and waging campaigns over resources with neighboring states. Any nation spared conflict and unrest simply slumped into a new era of economic depression. But as quickly as America had collapsed, life returned to perceived normalcy with a relatively quick and convenient reinvention of government. Mega-corporations that practically printed their own money already, convened a summit to determine how best to provide law and order to the country. Territory was separated into districts, each one assessed for taxation value, then split up among the largest publicly traded corporations.’

From this somber opening his story proceeds with his vampire theme as follows – ‘Alive since before the Great Collapse, Matthias and Frank are coasting through life as agents for the Noxcorp investigations division when a strange murder jeopardizes nocturnals’ place in the new world order. Polar opposites, the two vampires must work together to find the real killer else face the wrath of the council. Charles is a warden of the university tasked with recovering one of its students, one of its prisoners, one of its mages. But Sandra is no ordinary mage. Her body defies the laws of physics, and she has been preparing for this moment for her entire life. Paths cross when the university requests the assistance of Noxcorp. But when the agents discover that Sandra had outside help, a simple fugitive recovery quickly turns complicated, and all four find themselves caught in the middle of a deadly power grab. All the while, a darker malignancy grows, showing itself only in strange dreams and machinations, waiting for its moment to rise again.’

The writing is dark and in need of polish, but the moods are impressive and one expects subsequent volumes of the series will be more satisfying. A fine start for a new writer. Grady Harp, July 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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