As you guys may remember I reviewed a book by Rebecca Cruden a while ago called Haze and I had such an amazing experience reading that book that I decided to pick up another book by her. This one is called A Touch of Death and is a part of a dystopian romance series. As you guys may know romance is not my favourite genre but I do love dystopia so I decided to give this one a try.
About Rebecca Crunden
Rebecca Crunden is a writer and fellow blogger. She has written multiple books over the years all of which you can check out by clicking here. She also has an amazing blog where she writes reviews and you can check that out by clicking here. If you want to read Haze by Rebecca Crunden you can find it on Amazon and Goodreads.
A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta. The rich live in Anais, the capital city of Cutta, sheltered from the famine and disease which ravage the rest of the Kingdom. Yet riches and power only go so far, and even Anaitians can be executed. 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.
Two years pass without a word, and then one night Nate returns. But things with Nate are never simple, and when one wrong move turns their lives upside down, the only thing left to do is run where the King’s guards cannot find them – the Outlands. Those wild, untamed lands which stretch around the great walls of the Kingdom, filled with mutants and rabids.
On the one hand, as mentioned above, romance is a genre I tend to avoid except the occasional cheesy romance I like to read once in a while. On the other hand dystopia is a genre I fell in love with in high school as we had to read dystopian books for our exam and write dystopian stories of our own. Ironically, even as a history student I tend to really enjoy reading books about the future and I always think it’s interesting to read about what other people think the future will be like.
I was a little unsure whether I would enjoy this book or not but I decided to give it a try since the last book I read by the author was from a genre I usually tend to avoid by all means possible and I still ended up really enjoying. This one did not disappoint either and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book- even the romance parts of it. So, I’m just going to go ahead and discuss the plot now. I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there may be a few ahead so just giving you a heads up.
The story takes place a thousand years in the future where under a totalitarian kingdom the rich thrive while the poor are left to suffer. We are introduced to the main character- Nate, Catherine and Thom. Catherine is Thom’s fiance and Nate is his brother. Nate has always been a trouble maker and has often caused trouble some of which involved Catherine and Thom. Although Thom forgives Nate for everything including openly dissenting Catherine does not and holds a grudge against him for making her and Thom’s life more difficult.
“In all her memory, Nate had never been scared of – or reasonable about – anything.”
Catherine has always enjoyed a sheltered and privildged life- one that she quite enjoys the perks of. She is a stark contrast to Nate who although eccentric is much more aware of what is going on politically, socially and economically. I enjoyed the contrast between the two as it was often used by the writer as a symbol/metaphor for the contrast between the rich and the poor in their society.
“Small, elegant taps on the wall were filled with soaps, softeners, moisturisers, scents, dyes, delouser, thickeners, straighteners, curlers, and other various puddings,jellies and potions which would do anything desired to the hair or body.”
Unfortunately for Catherine, she is forced to leave behind her privileged life and go on the run with her much hated nemisis, Nate, to the Outlands. I just want to pause her and say that I love the way that the author described everything in this book. Personally, I feel that it takes a lot more work to describe things in dystopian novels because the vision that the writer has may not be the same thing the reader imagines as a very large chunk of things in dystopian books are the writers imagination. Therefore, description can really make or break your book and in this case the writer did a wonderful job with description which was one of the most enjoyable parts of the book for me. It really helped me imagine what the writer had in mind and it also really helped paint a more accurate picture of everything going on.
“Thunder boomed in the distance, and a crack of lightning brought a cold rush of wet wind and a streak of blinding brightness across the horizon, giving her a brief glimpse of the terrain.”
While on the run they end up contracting a disease and they are not able to touch anyone but each other. Their lives were already in danger and now the situation has gotten much worse. I admit, this twist was a really good idea because it kept me on the edge of my seat. I don’t know about you guys but I really enjoy books with lots of twists and turns otherwise I end up getting a bit bored after a while.
“…We’re not sure why. It hurts her if anyone touches her.”
The plot in general is quite interesting. As I mentioned it does have a good amount of description, twists and turns and also some quite emotional moments.
“The world did not care that everything had gone terribly sideways for Catherine and Nate”
I wanted to end this review by talking about the book in general minus the plot. Before I begin I wanted to say that I saw someone say in the comments on Amazon that the start of the book was a bit slow. I just want to address that because I know a lot of us readers like faster plots where things instantly start to happen. However, that is very difficult to do with dystopian books because you need to first introduce this world you have created to the reader in a organic way that’s not just a bunch of details showed in their face. As someone who spent months working on dystopian stories (maybe just one story- I’ve forgotten how A levels work but if anyone is doing their GCSE’s let me know in the comments) I can say that it is insanely difficult to write a very fast paced dystopian plot. With a dystopian story line you do not get the privilege of the reader knowing exactly what you’re talking about. That being said, I personally felt the writer handled it quite well and I did not think the story started out slow because I found it helpful that she took the time to give a description and explanation of what was going on. I think in the end it kind of depends on your personal preference.
I also enjoyed the writing very much. I feel like the author has a very unique style of writing and she has this gift where she takes genres that are generally not for everyone and gives them a twist and that ends up making a very specific theme/topic/genre interesting for a much more diverse audience. I don’t know if I explained that well but all I meant to say was that she writes genres that I personally don’t generally read because from prior experience I personally don’t find them interesting but the way she combines them with other genres it makes them much more interesting for me and I’m guessing for other people too. Plus, it creates a very unique combination which I love.
The characters were great- I definitely felt a connection with all of them. I found Catherine to be a little annoying to be honest but she did grow on me as the book progressed. I was definitely a little emotional when events took place that effected the characters.
I also thought the whole idea of the rich living a sheltered/privileged life and going out of their way to maintain this life by crushing all opposition was quite fitting because we see that in the past in history, we see that currently and I am pretty sure it’s not going to change anytime soon- although we should keep trying to change things of course. I love it when dystopian books take inspiration from historical events or current events.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed the book- even the romance parts which as I have mentioned is not always my favourite. I thought the idea for the plot was a really good one and it was written really well too which helped bring the authors dystopian world to life. If you are a fan of dystopian books I would highly recommend giving this one a go and even if you are not a huge fan of dystopia I would recommend checking it out because you may still end up liking it. This is part of a series so I am currently reading the next book and of course the review for that will be up as well as soon as I’m done reading it.
Do you enjoy dystopian books? Are you a fan of romances? What book are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below- I always enjoy hearing your thought!
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