Thank you very much to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
This was a tough review for me to write, because there is clearly a lot of imagination and a lot of passion that went into this novella. Unfortunately, the story just didn’t hold my attention.
Kylie Lauder awoke one morning to a dead world, her friends and family butchered, wondering why she alone had been spared. That was when William and David arrived. They told her of the planet Himagus, of it’s plan to conquer Earth and terminate all of mankind. And of the part they played in this mission.
When the other Himagusians arrive, Kylie has no choice but to allow William and David to hide her away. There they tell her that there is a way to undo the death of mankind: the magical locket that their Emperor wears has the power to grant three wishes, or so the legends say.
Can the three of them manage to snatch away the locket? More importantly, can Kylie really trust the word of the men who slaughtered her people?
It’s always hard when I come across a story like this, because I never want to discourage anyone from writing. The author wrote this while she was still in high school, and regardless of my opinions here, the fact that this story was completed and published is a fantastic accomplishment.
This story is absolutely filled with imagination and style, with a lot of hard work and dedication clearly being displayed by a young talent. The summary seemed very enticing: a dark romance, a destroyed Earth, a blend of science-fiction and pure fantasy sounded like a wild ride from start to finish. Unfortunately, the elements simply didn’t pull together into a cohesive, engaging narrative.
What I Liked
- The Humor – While I can’t say that I expected this kind of humor in a novella with such a dark tone and atmosphere, there were a few times that Kylie’s inner monologue and observations managed to make me laugh. I’m not sure it really works perfectly with this kind of story, but I can’t help but love a bit of sass and sarcasm in between the serious moments.
What I Didn’t
- The Characters – Unfortunately, I could not connect with any of the characters, particularly the main cast. Overall they all seemed far too casual, considering their situation, and there were a lot of times when decisions or reactions made very little sense. Kylie’s instant trust and attraction towards the two Himagusians, is especially baffling considering they are very upfront about the fact that they were the ones responsible for all the horror she experienced.
- The Romance – This aspect felt particularly flat for me. I can tell that the author was trying to make Kylie feel conflicted about the fact that she is attracted to William, the men who killed her family, but it never goes far enough. They are instantly in love with each other, despite everything I noted above, but the reader is never given any real reason why they are so devoted to each other so quickly. And this is particularly true for Kylie in the beginning, as she appears to instantly brush aside the whole ‘mass-murder’ thing as soon as William confesses.
- The Pacing – This is a short story, coming in at just under 200 pages, but it races from plot point to plot point so quickly it was hard to keep up. Because of this fast pace, there was almost no time for the characters, the romance, or the world to be fully developed, so everything ends up feeling very shallow and surface level.
Himagus is a story with a lot of promise that just couldn’t come together in the end. I applaud the author for writing and publishing her first novella and I really do hope that the author continues to move forward on her writing journey. There’s a lot of potential here, it just needs a bit more work and polish before it can truly shine.
Author: Kerat Kaur Jhaj
Publisher: Independently Published
Date Published: July 18, 2020
Warnings: References to rape, child abuse, grief, graphic violence and death.
Thanks for reading everyone!