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Othella (Arcadian Heights) Paperback – June 22, 2014
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About the Author
Knite, who's been writing seriously for eight years, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, and the sort of person who spends far too much time imagining epic sci-fi battles in her head. Knite intends to publish 3 to 4 novels per year, ever year, until she runs out of ideas...which is highly unlikely, so she'll probably be writing forever.
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (June 22, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 346 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1499551258
- ISBN-13 : 978-1499551259
- Item Weight : 1.12 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.87 x 9 inches
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I am so thankful for this book. I am so thankful for Therin Knite. I have been slogging through dull, bad and slow reads - sometimes a combination of the three - for months by this point. Luckily Knite just so happened to be releasing Othella at the perfect time to rescue me from this sludge I've been trudging through.
Never before have I read a book so gripping, so intense, so literally action-packed, that I tore through the pages regardless of my audience. I'm a slow reader, and I read this 300-some-paged book in a little over a week. That's insane for me. I usually read books for like a month. And this one? 10 days?
Yeah. It's that good.
Othella follows three protagonists who are expertly balanced, each hardened in similar way by their words, but each differentiated to such a degree that I never confused their voices.
"This isn't hot shrapnel tearing fatty chunks out of my thighs or a meth lab blowing up in my face or a machine gun pointed at me from a gangster's limousine. I'm not out to wreck something I've always known as dark and nasty and unforgivable. We"re talking about a new kind of terror. The kind that wears the nice guy mask." -7% (ARC, Georgette)
This chick means business. Yeah, she may be a reporter, but she may as well be a soldier. She's been all over the world - usually in the face of danger as well - and taken it all on the chin. I wouldn't wanna ever cross her. But she's not all hardness and rough edges, either; Georgette, despite her hideous name, was my favorite character.
"Before it crosses the threshold, Salt mumbles, 'What are you going to do to me?'
"I dab at the blood pooling on my collar. 'Remove the inefficient parts. The parts that cause all the problems, all the time. That have always caused our problems. The parts that have built empires and ground them into dust. The parts that make us act when we shouldn't yet idle when we should. You know, Dr. Salt: the human parts.' " -10% (ARC, Quentin)
Tell me that quote above doesn't give you the absolute chills? I'm no scaredy cat when it comes to my entertainment - I laugh and horror movies (if they're poorly done, anyway, which most are) and seem immune to horror novels (I can't be the only one) - but Quentin could vie for his own position as a horror villain.
In a kind of way, I guess he already is. Although, he's just the protagonist of his own story - and one of three of Othella.
Watching his transformation pretty much creeped me out. I don't often get wrapped up in old dude characters, but he was definitely the exception to my rule. For the first time in a long time, I had a character that I loved to hate and hated to love. It was awesome.
"Logic. I live on it. I breathe it. So why can't I buy it now?" -14% (ARC, Marco)
While Georgette was my favorite, and Quentin was fun to hate, Marco was without a doubt the most relateable of all the characters. This poor dude is roped into the mess that is Arcadian Heights by circumstances entirely out of his control, and watching him spiral out of it - control, that is - made my tender little heart hurt at times.
It's not just the characters of Othella that are amazing, though. The entire world is multifaceted, nuanced, gradated and well-integrated into the atmosphere of the overall narrative. It dovetails perfectly with Knite's exquisite - and, honestly, enviable - handle of the language and of the craft. It drives me crazy how crisp and clean and sharp every single word is in this novel.
So why not the last 0.5 stars? *sigh* The timeline overlaps. It's nothing wrong with it inherently - it's actually executed with more precision and clarity than most - but I don't see the point of it. Yes, it builds tension and suspense and all that happy stuff, but I just don't get why. At the end, it catches up to the present (obviously), so does book two take place in different time periods between POVs, too?
Like I said, regardless of the reasons behind it, the time lapses were pretty much perfection.
Well, you know what? This whole book was perfection. Knite is quickly growing into a force to reckon with.
First off, Othella doesn't suffer from the usual stylistic issues that self-published or indie novels can have. I had zero problems absorbing Knite's prose. The style is clean, descriptive, and flows very well using first-person, present tense - like The Hunger Games. There is no info-dumping dropped on readers, a common problem with newer speculative fiction writers.
Othella starts like a young adult thriller with some sci-fi elements, then takes a violent turn. You realize everything about the story is dark: the setting, characters, and plot. There is no shining light at the end of the tunnel. There are no good guys. It reminds me a lot of Reservoir Dogs in terms of portraying a collection of despicable characters at odds with one another.
The three narrators are cold-hearted cynics, accepting the end of the world as inevitable. Their only motivations are within the narrow confines of defeating or killing one another. Quentin acts to protect Arcadia Heights and its dark secret from Marco and Georgette. Marco wants Q dead, blaming him for the mysterious disappearance of his daughter. Georgette is ambitious, desiring fame, professional accolades and the satisfaction of knowing she took down one of the biggest corporations in the country. No lofty goals here. There was also no real change in the three narrators as the story progresses, which was a little disappointing.
To me, there was nothing redeeming about any of them. In comparison, Tarantino's films have the ability to make you like some of the characters with a lot of thoughtful, even philosophical conversations between the low-life personalities. Knite managed to put together some intense exchanges but many came off as fairly conventional good guy/bad guy posturing, taunting, and sarcasm.
The dialogue dripped with sarcasm. I think this is what Knite means, when she says her writing includes a lot of "snark." Sarcasm can be entertaining when clever and well-placed. Knite overused it a bit, in my opinion.
Like Tarantino, Knite utilizes plenty of violence, gore, with a few bits of gratuitous nudity. What makes it unique is that it is the female character, Georgette, that is preoccupied with her own body, willing to use her physical attractiveness to her advantage. Of the three, she's the most impressive main character.
I'm curious where Knite intends to take the series.
Top reviews from other countries
The book is written from the pojnt of view of three main characters: Quentin - a spokesman for Arcadian Heights, Georgette McClain - a hard-nosed investigative reporter, and Marco Salt; each tied to what is happening in Arcadian Heights for reasons that become clear as the book progresses. The first two-thirds of the book switch not just between the different character's points of view but also varying timelines, so I would recommend you pay attention. However, this structure worked perfectly to draw me into the world and lives Knite created.
This book works on two levels. On the one hand it is a fast-paced, science-fiction thriller, on the other a treatise on the moral grey area of the good of the whole over the good of the individual. Knite's writing style is tight, hard-edged and uncompromising; as if Raymond Chandler decided to have a go at re-imagining Hunger Games. I was hooked from first page to the brutal finale.
I've read and enjoyed many self-published novels but this is the first one I wish I'd written. I cannot wait for its sequel.
Knite has a punchy, readable writing style that scooped me up and swept me along from the first page. Action-packed and full of incident, there is nevertheless an interesting conundrum he poses regarding the moral dilemmas in such an extreme situation. Quentin – the main antagonist – is not just some two-dimensional hate figure. In many ways, he is something of a mirror figure to Marco, who is also capable of ruthlessly using other people to achieve his own objectives. He is also utterly convinced that Arcadian Heights is Humanity’s only hope for survival – and if he is right, then surely securing this single bulwark against our species’ impending doom, even if the cost is heartbreakingly high.
The narrative timeline dots around, often jumping back to fill in the background in the viewpoint of the main characters so you do need to pay attention. But as Knite clearly indicates the changes in viewpoint and time, it isn’t too difficult to follow. While the overall story arc soon became apparent, there are all sorts of twisty little surprises that kept me engrossed and engaged in the book.
Any niggles? All the main characters seem to have an insanely high tolerance to shock, pain and major injuries – to the extent that I found myself wondering in the middle of the action whether it was credible to keep functioning with the level of damage they sustain. However, the same can be said for many other action adventures so it isn’t a dealbreaker – and I could visualise this book being made into a successful and entertaining film. If you like your action fast and furious, set in an intriguing if bleak future scenario, then give this one a go. I’ll guarantee an incident-packed ride that raises some interesting moral issues along the way.