This is another exciting YA book from a debut Irish author. In this case, the author is Charlie Pike and it was such a privilege to receive a copy of this book to review. Jacob's Ladder will hit the shops on the 1st April 2019 and has been published by The O'Brien Press in Ireland. It's a brilliantly written dark fantasy story that will hook you from the very first page. Set in the year 2203 (dystopian style vision) the earth is dying, birds are falling out of the sky and people are living in fear of what is to come.
The story is very brutal and hard-hitting with some scenes that would be more appropriate to late teen/adult fiction, in my opinion. It has an epic fantasy landscape which is incredibly well written. The imagination certainly draws the reader into the world of war, destruction, and chaos. The story takes you into a mission of salvation based on a series of mystery messages, which go like this...
We have heard your call
You no longer need to fear
You will receive five messages, of which this is the first.
The last message will inform you of the time and place of your salvation.
This sets up the story leading the reader into a tangible feeling of what might lie ahead. The main character Leon is to come of age in his warrior culture and sets out into an unknown world. The climatic adventure starts from here. However, it is impossible to predict what is going to happen in the story. You'll hurtle through the bizarre plot whilst being showered by a world of dark fantasy and violence. The main characters are devoid of empathy (almost brainwashed) which makes the plot very edgy and intriguing. Interestingly, the narrative changes the more that you travel into the complex world, as the character's perspectives change through the course of their dangerous adventures.
I really enjoyed this book due to the creativeness of the story and the complex feelings of the characters. Ulya is my favourite character as she is mysterious, resilient and very loyal. It's both heartbreaking and emotionally challenging for the reader to follow her. I was on tenterhooks hoping for a better outcome throughout the story as you are led into an immersive dystopian adventure that becomes a living nightmare. You will journey through a world of chaos and maggots in this action-packed thriller that you will not be able to tear yourself away from.
The ending was not the one I was hoping for. However, the story went in a new direction and the encounters with the worms made me run for cover. So, if you like chaotic dark Irish fiction with a big dollop of Sci-fi fantasy this is definitely a book for you. I loved every page of this book and would highly recommend it. Don't delay - make sure you find a copy to read and experience this thrilling adventure.
Synopsis: We have heard your call You no longer need to fear. You will receive five messages, of which this is the first. The last message will inform you of the time and place of your salvation. Two hundred years from now, the earth is dying, scorched by powerful flares from the sun. A series of messages from an alien civilization sent to humanity over two centuries promise rescue to those strong enough to survive on their planet. Initiate Leon is a member of the True Path warrior culture and preparing for his Rising. But when his test comes - to kill in cold blood - he cannot do it. To redeem himself, he must journey to find the earth's fifth and final message from the Saviours, with the help of his resourceful servant, Martha. Out in the wild, Leon discovers alarming changes in his body - he can drink water through his skin and has poison barbs buried deep in his flesh. Martha reveals to him the secret that the True Path has kept from him all this time: Jacob's Ladder, an adaptation for life on the alien planet, has lain dormant in his genes and is now being activated. He is part alien and part human, and he is in grave danger from those who wish to take what is in his body.