Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Review: 'Other Than' by Mia Jo Celeste

Wisconsin author Mia Celeste comes from a family of teachers and has followed that same path - after 15 years as an English (for Language Learners) teacher, she has turned to writing, having completed four fantasy novels. She is a member of Wisconsin Regional Writers, Wisconsin Romance Writers, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Special Interest Chapter, From the Heart Romance Writers, and The Romance Writers of America.

Mia loves zombies, science fiction, suspense and fantasy and all things dystopian. For this, her first published book on Kindle – OTHER THAN - (love the title!) she leads us into a zone of the undead and does it with such ease and grace that she instantly makes believers of even the most disbeliever! She opens her story in 1774 along the New England Coast – a perfect place for stories of this genre to begin. ‘Sometimes illness wheedles life away like a wave pilfers sand, and sometimes, greedy as a forest fire, illness devours life. So it was with Evangeline’s fever. Healthy during the day, Evie felt weary in the evening and died with the dawn. Much later, her body cold, she came to herself. Flat on her back, arms heavy across her waist, she blinked in the thick-starless black. A coffin? She rasped, tried to draw breath and got none of the moist air inside the box with her. The sob she couldn’t quite contain broke free. She was dead, but this was no afterlife she’d ever fathomed. Let alone wanted. She’d died, yet her soul hadn’t departed. She tarried, stuck in flesh, as if her fervent desire to stay with her father held her. Like all other moments in her life, he’d been beside her just after dawn when her fever-blistered skin chilled and her heart sputtered to a halt.’

The only way to offer an adjective to describe Mia’s artistry is that she is a Wordsmith. The description of her characters and the derring-do that happens within the covers of this book capture the genre of vampires securely.

The plot? Mia’s summary describes it well – ‘It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh. Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Lord Victor Lowell, the man of her dreams and darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess. Trapped in an ever-escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass, blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight.’

A balanced mixture of romance and dystopia (‘a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding’). Mia has the medium down to a fare-thee-well. Excellent book and a fine opener for a series….Grady Harp, February 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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