Book Review: A Touch of Death

A Touch of Death is the first book in a Dystopian pentalogy with a unique world full of technology as well as ancient practices that create a fascinating back drop for the characters to navigate.

Title: A Touch of Death
Series: The Outlands Pentalogy Book 1
Author: Rebecca Crunden
Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure, Romance
Goodreads: Here

Thank you to the author for sharing this new cover with me! Check out the covers for the whole pentalogy here: https://rebeccacrunden.com/2021/01/09/the-outlands-pentalogy-new-covers/

A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta. It is only by the will of the King that Nate Anteros, son of the King’s favourite, is spared from the gallows after openly dissenting. But when he’s released from prison, Nate disappears. A stark contrast, Catherine Taenia has spent her entire life comfortable and content. The daughter of the King’s Hangman and in love with Thom, Nate’s younger brother, her life has always been easy, ordered and comfortable. That is, where it doesn’t concern Nate. His actions sullied not only his future, but theirs, and unlike Thom, Catherine has never forgiven him.

I am so thankful that Crunden made these characters the way she did. The main characters Nate and Kittie (Catherine) are very well fleshed out, their relationship is strained (rightly) and their reactions are appropriate to the tense situations they are in. I do think Nate was more likely to overreact but I understand why. His character was intended to be passionate but at times I didn’t care for his outbursts. I was so happy that Crunden gave us some GOOD GUYS in this book. I’m getting tired of books that are relentless against their characters, turning every side character into an enemy. Crunden gave a good balance with good guys, bad guys, good luck and bad luck which felt more realistic.

I don’t read a lot of dystopian or Sci-Fi books (I’d love to read more) so I may be missing some knowledge in this area but I found the world Crunden built to be VERY unique. The idea of old patriarch principles surrounded by hoover cars was really mind blowing for me. It felt like a mix of the wild west, the far future and royal times. I felt the settings were very well done.

I could easily summarize the book in about 6 sentences, but even with that simplicity in the overall idea of the story, Crunden does an amazing job making such a plot feel full and unique. For instance, the idea of two people with contrasting personalities traveling together is not new, but the relationship between Nate and Kittie and the journey that they take is so mind bending thanks to the world Crunden built and the side characters who they interact with. I enjoyed the twists and turns of this story and despite the wild world it was in, the story still felt realistic and grounded.

Crunden’s writing style is good and easy to read. There is very little repetition (a pet peeve of mine), and Crunden does a good job keeping things moving along without dragging the reader along. Crunden is very good at injecting information into the story. She uses multiple techniques (flashback, memories, monologue) in order to give us what we need, and then she moves on. No info dumps, no awkward, forced sections. The whole read was really smooth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I am VERY happy with the way Crunden ended this story. There is an art to ending a story that is presented in parts and she nailed it! Recommended!

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