Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: The Sity by Curran Geist

The Sity (The Sity, #1)

The Sity by Curran Geist

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read from March 25-April 01, 2013. Original review written April 03, 2013.

The Sity is edgy and action packed.

The story opens with Victor, who discovers he possesses a superhuman power fueled by rage. He escapes from an alien-run freak show into the sinister Sity. Memory wiped, only faint impressions of his mother and sister remain, but he's certain that they are still in the clutches of the evil alien, Zaku. Victor vows to exact revenge on Zaku and rescue his family.

Carina, a young girl who lives on the streets of the Sity, comes across a fight in a dark alley and rushes to defend the alien on the losing side of it. But it turns out that the alien is Zaku and the aggressor is Victor. Zaku repays her kindness by capturing her and putting her up for sale as a slave. Burning with anger, she too discovers a hidden power and breaks free. Too many to handle on her own, Carina quickly realizes she's in trouble, but is rescued by Victor just in time.

The two bond through their power and their hatred of the Sity and it's depraved alien inhabitants. But, Victor seems to be confused between attraction for Carina and an urge to protect her as a girl who reminds him of his sister. Separated early on, the two continue to fight against the aliens as best they can, and they never quite reconnect with each other. Still, their efforts rock the Sity to it's foundation and spawn a wave of retaliation from the President and his Medtronic enforcers.

Overall, the plot is well developed. Elements are introduced with purpose and are tied together neatly in the end. And, the action scenes are fast-paced, vividly described, and bloody. 

The characters are introduced and developed in three main ways: 1) through narrative dialog as they describe their pasts, thoughts, fears, and hopes in detail (not my favorite approach), 2) through dreams, and 3) through flashbacks. Of these, I enjoyed the dream sequences the best because they're abstract and specific all at the same time and because they reveal the true extent of the scarring and trauma the characters have had to survive. I especially like how they go from good to weird to nightmare so smoothly, and how, just like in a real dream, the dreamer accepts everything that occurs in the dream at face value.

That being said, I would have been happier with less dialog in the form of quicker exchanges and fewer mid-sentence pauses. The use of ... is rampant and unnecessary and distracted from the story. Commas or periods would have been a better choice. Besides that, the pauses seem to accentuate the repetitive nature of much of the dialog. Additionally, I found the use of all caps and enlarged fonts for emphasis to be totally unnecessary and awkward. Often, the emphasis is placed on odd words and it would totally throw me off. I think that if these issues with the dialog were cleaned up in a future edition, the reading experience would significantly improve.

I really started to enjoy the story at about 60% in when everything started coming together and the writing tightened up a bit. All the intros were over, I had a feel for the characters, and some really intriguing twists were introduced. The story leaves off in a cliff-hanger (really well done) and left me excited to read the next book in the series. I really want to find out what happens next to the humans in the Sity and their alien sympathizers. 

Overall, there's room for improvement in the language mechanics, but the story itself is captivating and edgy. 

May 24, 2013-Post review update:  I am pleased to learn the author has incorporated some of the suggestions from my original review, mostly by removing some of the ALL CAPS and "..." breaks. Apparently, those are widely used and accepted in his other creative outlet: comic books. The revised edition is expected to be released next week! 

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