#BookReview: Riebeckite by O R Lea @ORLeaAuthor @bookroar_tweets
Hi everyone! Today, I have a book review for a read I picked up via a review site. I haven’t come across this writer before, but I’ll be waiting for more >>>
About the Book:
What if you learned an environmental crisis the world thought it had under control was actually an alien invasion?
Growing up in the aftermath of an asteroid moon strike which showered the earth with deadly spores, Tahira promised her childhood friend, Zareen, that overcoming the crisis would one day unite their feuding Azerbaijani and Iranian people.
Tahira is now a biologist for a corporation constructing experimental towers which force the spores, known as ‘riebeckites’, to germinate into harmless colonies. Rumours of riebeckite colonies forming into flesh-eating, animal-mimicking monsters in the Iranian Annex are largely dismissed as propaganda from the Talafi, an Iranian militant group who oppose Azeri occupation.
But when Tahira makes a discovery linking these stories to the Skyscrubber towers, her own employer suppresses her findings and frames her as a Talafi collaborator. In a race for her freedom and her life, Tahira has only one person she can rely on: Zareen, now an Iranian freedom fighter. Together they must escape Azeri police and Talafi militants, and survive the horrifying next stage of the riebeckites’ development. Only if they expose the truth can the world unite against a danger which has been gathering at its feet while everyone was watching the sky.
I came across this author and book via a review site, and I am so glad I picked up Riebeckite to read. I haven’t read O R Lea before, but I shall be sure to check out more books from this writer.
Riebeckite is the first novel in a planned series, and I look forward to reading the sequels when they publish. The novel opens during a pogrom to expel the Iranians from Azerbaijan, and two eight-year-old girls–best friends–get caught up in the tumult. Then the story jumps ahead a couple of decades, and we see a completely changed situation. Zareen is an Iranian struggling to survive in the Iranian Annexe. Her old friend Tahira gained a university education and now works for Azkord, a mega-corporation on the mainland, as a biologist. Their lives and livelihoods couldn’t be more opposite.
At some point before the novel opens, an asteroid collided with the moon and left a blue crater, which dropped spores down to Earth. While the story has a futuristic feel, it is also down to earth and wholly believable. The writing is gritty and relevant to current times. The characterisation, world building, and plot are brilliantly done. The author has a way of describing things beautifully. Here are some lines that stood out for me …
“The sound of the crowd changed. It came in two tones now, like the sound of a river and the sound of water running through a pipe beneath your feet.”
“There was no smoke in the air, but the hate and fear were just as thick and choking.”
“In the following silence, Tahira wasn’t sure if her words were being weighed or woven into the rope from which she would hang.”
“The promise which had driven her since the age of eighteen was hanging by one last thread. If Zareen cut it, what would it all have been for?”
The ending was somewhat open-ended and leads into the next book of the series. The main story thread was tied off, and the author gives us a short bonus tale at the end of the book. This first book raises issues and resolves some battles, and it’s all too clear that the protagonists have a lot more to face yet. Riebeckite gets a solid five stars from me, and I look forward to reading more from O R Lea.
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.
I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …