Author Interview with Farah Naz Rishi of I Hope You Get This Message

DEBUT DISTRICT is a regular feature on Artsy Draft in which I post appreciation towards debut releases through author interview, book blitz, listopia, review, and other related content.

Hi, everyone! This week, I finished reading I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi and it’s instantly become a new favorite of mine. Farah’s genre-mixing of contemporary and science-fiction is a fresh breath of air, especially when both genres executed so well and balanced perfectly to deliver such a touching story. Today, I’m delighted to have a chat with Farah to discuss all about her debut, from the reason for choosing alien invasion to end humanity to the challenges of developing the three main characters’ arcs. Also, you can read my full review of I Hope You Get This Message here!


Q: Salaam, Farah! Thank you for chatting with me today! First of all, I want to congratulate you on your debut release, I Hope You Get This Message! Can you share what’s this story about and what inspired you to write it in the first place?

A: Thank you, Vinny! Well, I Hope You Get This Message is a story that envisions a hyperintelligent alien species that is currently debating whether or not to pull the kill-switch on humanity, which they’ve deemed a failed experiment. While these debates are happening, humans discover their plan to possibly destroy them all—a plan that could be executed in seven days—and of course, begin a worldwide panic. The story follows three very different teenagers in how they deal with this news, and what they do with their final seven days.

Q: Is there any particular reason for choosing an alien invasion to end the world in this story? Why not time-travel went wrong or AI gone mad?

A: I decided not to describe the aliens or really go in detail about who or what they are, and that’s because I wanted them to be seen more as a metaphor for our own collective Fear and Guilt and Anxiety about the current state of the world. Aliens felt like the perfect vessel for that end because to me, they represent the last great unknown to humanity that may in fact possibly exist—and therefore, possibly greatest fear of all.

Q: The three main characters in this story, Adeem, Cate, and Jesse, all struggled in some ways. What challenges you the most to develop each of their stories?

A: For me, the hardest part of developing any character is knowing how to balance how much of yourself to put in them, and how much to let them breathe on the page and be their own person. So for each of the three characters, I put a tiny piece of something I was personally struggling with at the time—with Cate, her relationship with her mother, with Jesse, his inability to open up, and Adeem, his relationship with his sibling—and then let it all loose on the page! It sounds cliché, but it really does feel like planting a seed and watching it grow, and more I wrote with each draft, the more those problems that were very much my own grew to be something more unique to the characters.

Q: In your author’s note, you shared an intimate behind the scene story during the process of writing this book. As a debut author, what other struggles that you had to face to bring this story alive?

A: Self-care is honestly the biggest and most important struggle with writing anything, but for me, it was absolutely imperative because I was also dealing with a series of losses. On one hand, there was this pressure to meet deadlines—personal and professional—but on the other, there was a desperate need to just…rest after everything that happened. In the end, I had to learn how to balance my priorities, and I was only able to do that with a lot of help from my support group. Especially as a debut, I felt a lot of anxiousness about hurrying up and getting the book out there—don’t we all want to see our name up in lights, if given the chance? But then I realized I only have one body, and nothing else mattered if I was just going to harm it in the process of trying to achieve my dreams. It was a humble and peaceful realization, honestly.

Q: One can’t deny that although this book featured the intensity of the end of the world as its main intrigue, you’ve left bits of wisdom here and there, whether it was a conversation between characters or their internal monologues. Which words of wisdom that you’re most connected with and why?

A: Honestly, I think my favorite bit in the book is when Adeem goes off at Ty and says, “Humans don’t make it easy for each other, and we kind of suck as a species, but we also do a lot of good, too. No matter how shitty things get, the moment we stop seeing the good and start treating each other like ants or some kind of failed experiment—that’s when the bad guys win.” I really believe that.

Q: Now, if these three friends are chilling during a summer break, which sci-fi movies that they’d most likely binge-watch?

A: I think Adeem would force Jesse and Cate to watch The Expanse. You know he’d totally appreciate nerd out over the hard science of the show. I think Cate would enjoy it, but Jesse would secretly get super into it and start daydreaming about traveling through space. 

Q: The intense drama about life and hope that you delivered with this story was heartbreaking, but the miraculous sci-fi bits of Alma and how they conducted multiple trials to determine the faith of humanity was also scene-stealing! Are you planning to write more stories and mix contemporary and sci-fi again in the future? What can we expect in your next book?

A: I absolutely love playing around with genre, and my heart will always belong with sci-fi, but for my next book, I’m doing something a little different and writing an unapologetically Muslim rom-com. 😊

And that’s the end of my interview with Farah! If you’re looking forward to reading her book, you can find all of the details and information about it below!

43699608. sy475 I Hope You Get This Message
by Farah Naz Rishi

Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days.

When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.

For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance.

With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart.
 
Thank you HarperTeen for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Title: I Hope You Get This Message | Series: N/A | Author: Farah Naz Rishi | Genre: Science FictionYoung Adult | Publication Date: October 22, 2019 | Purchase Links: AmazonBook Depository

Trigger Warning: Active shooter, anxiety, depression, homophobia, mention of suicide attempt, racism, violence.

Are you thinking about adding I Hope You Get This Message into your next reading list?

Blog Tour: Beyond the Black Door by A. M. Strickland

Some secrets weren’t meant to be discovered. Some doors not meant to be opened.

42642042. sy475 Beyond the Black Door
by A. M. Strickland

Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom … 

 
Thank you Imprint & The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Beyond the Black Door | Series: N/A | Author: A. M. Strickland | Genre: FantasyYoung Adult | Publication Date: October 29, 2019 | Purchase Links: AmazonBook Depository

Trigger Warning: Attempted self-harm/suicide, birth control manipulation of a partner, emotionally abusive/manipulative romantic relationships, internalized acephobia, misgendering of a trans, physical violence

what is it about?

The story started with Kamai, and the rare ability that she inherited from her mother to explore the souls of other people while they’re asleep, commonly known as “soulwalking”. The soul of each person takes a different shape of houses, ranging from a cold, dark, small shack to a grand, vibrant, warm palace. Despite of these differences, one thing always remained the same when Kamai visited a soul. There was always a black door lurking on her as if it was a breathing and living creature. Although her mother keeps reminded her to not open the black door, after a life-changing incident, will Kamai be able to still resist the urge?

what do I think about it?

Don’t you just love it when you’re being able to read a story which exactly promised on its blurb, even better than what you’re expected in the first place? That’s exactly the case with this mesmerizing book of Strickland. Starting the book, I love how we are immediately thrown into the two main plots that built this story without getting overwhelmed about them. First, the magical yet dark concept of soulwalking, an ability that Kamai and her mother owned. I completely adore the explanation behind this concept and how it works. The reasoning behind why everyone has different soul houses called Nehym, the boundaries of what soulwalker can or can’t do when they’re exploring someone’s soul, and the description of how the souls should look like was incredibly vivid to me.
 
Second, the coming-of-age journey of Kamai ever since she was a child and how she tried to understand herself, and as she grew older, it evolved to an attempt to understand her sexuality. This second plot was extremely important and inclusive, and again, Strickland did a wonderful job at writing Kamai’s character arc and her struggles to fit in, especially by combining the mythology with gods based on the sun, the moon, and the earth as a metaphor to narrates the asexual spectrum. I truly appreciated this part of the book, especially since I’ve been trying to grasp the actual concept of asexuality and not just I’ve learn a lot from it, but I also managed to peek at Kamai’s feelings and study her internal monologues.

But while Razim seemed unenthusiastic about the particular people at hand, I was uninterested in… any of it. With anyone.

And while we’re still talking about the matter of representation within this book, how could I not mention Nikha? Her struggle as a female warrior described painfully real, but one moment that really stung my heart was when she finally came out as a gender that she always felt at heart, not a gender that she physically lived in. She reminded me of Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones ever since her first appearance in this story, both physical-wise and attitude-wise.

She didn’t want to be treated better. She wanted everyine to be treated the same.

The other major plot that started to rise in once Kamai grew older, is how she fell into a romantic relationship. Not just any romantic relationship, but a manipulative one. I personally found the addition of the gray character in this story as Kamai’s partner and also a villain to be gripping. I kept guessing whether to trust this gray character or not as if I was there following Kamai’s journey for real. Obviously, this isn’t a light issue, and therefore, I appreciated the warnings that the author facilitated for her readers, and might I quoted her, “If this strikes you as too much, I understand; it’s not going to be for everyone. […] So, despite all the content warnings, I hope the book helps, not hurts—or at least entertains!—but first and foremost, please take care of yourselves.” proving her deep concern regarding the mental state of her readers.
 
Beyond the Black Door is an evocative dark fantasy mix with a gripping mystery. The diversified characters, inclusive representation, and twisted plot will leave you craving for more.

what’s the verdict?

about the author

 
AdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, her pugs, and her piles and piles of books. She loves traveling, dancing, vests, tattoos, and every shade of teal in existence, but especially the darker ones. She is the coauthor of SHADOW RUN and SHADOW CALL (Delacorte/Penguin Random House) and author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR (Imprint/Macmillan).

what did others say about this book?

  • Ashley @ Part Time Book Nerd said: “I knew vaguely what ace was going into this but the detail and how well it was explained made the book an amazing learning experience for anyone (including myself) who is not totally familiar with the term. We learn alongside Kamai on her self discovery and acceptance journey.”
  • Justin, Nikole, and Stacy @ A Court of Coffee and Books said: “Beyond the Black Door has an atmosphere that’s captivating yet peppered with darkness and mystery, and that’s what truly drove this story home for me.”
  • Tay & Missy @ Frayed Books said: ” The world-building was so fantastic and it didn’t feel like there were any strings left untouched. I appreciated that because it appears to be a standalone but I could totally see more books in this world!”

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Are you thinking about adding Beyond the Black Door into your next reading list?

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

Your pain is where the light enters you.

DEBUT DISTRICT is a regular feature on Artsy Draft in which I post appreciation towards debut releases through author interview, book blitz, listopia, review, and other related content.

43699608. sy475 I Hope You Get This Message
by Farah Naz Rishi

Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days.

When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.

For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance.

With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart.
 
Thank you HarperTeen for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Title: I Hope You Get This Message | Series: N/A | Author: Farah Naz Rishi | Genre: Science FictionYoung Adult | Publication Date: October 22, 2019 | Purchase Links: AmazonBook Depository

Trigger Warning: Active shooter, anxiety, depression, homophobia, mention of suicide attempt, racism, violence.

what is it about?

It’s seven days before the world ends because of an alien invasion as our three characters tried their best to deal with it in their own ways. Adeem tried to seek for his runaway sister. Cate tried to seek the shadow of a father she never met. And Jesse tried to seek for a way to get him and his mom out of debts. But maybe, these three strangers weren’t that different, as the three of them seek nothing but the truth for their unanswered questions. And maybe, they weren’t a stranger to each other after all.

what do I think about it?

I Hope You Get This Message is one of the most heartfelt books that I read this year, and I swear that I’m not being overdramatic when I’m stating this. What really piqued my interest at first to start reading this book is the urgency behind ‘the world is ending in seven days’ as the three characters tried to redeem whatever it is that they’ve been struggling with. It is really interesting when you’re thinking about it. What you’re going to do if you know that you only have seven days left to be alive? What’s your deepest desire? What’s your unanswered question?
 
Obviously, just from its short blurbs, this book is very heavily centered on its characters and their relationships. Although not going to lie, the science-fiction bits of the alien invasion was also very well-written and detailed, and I really enjoyed that they did trial after trial to determine the faith of human being. I certainly didn’t expect the aliens to be highly considerate, but I was touched. If Rishi’s going to write sci-fi for her next book, then I can assure you that I’d be the first in line to pre-order it.

But the thing about the end of the world was this: either everything mattered, or nothing did.

Even days after I read this book, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. As I mentioned before, human interactions and relationships were the highlights of this story. I thoroughly enjoyed each journeythat the characters went through in order to face the end of the world. Adeem is the character that I could relate to the most, as we’re both Muslims and we both have siblings. His back and forth intention for looking at his runaway sister was understandable, and I applaud Rishi for being able to convey the complexity of brother-sister relationships. As for Cate, I feel deeply upset about her struggles. One is too young to deal with a mother who suffered schizophrenia while also at loss for a figure of a father. Her guilts for not doing enough, either for taking care of her mother during their last days on Earth or for not seeking her father, was heartbreaking. And as for Jesse, his daily struggles to simply stay alive with his mother while also dealing with anxiety and depression were too much to bear for a young man, or even for anyone, really.

Be kind, Adi. Life’s too exhausting as it is to hold on to anger so tightly.

The message that really shined through this story that also has been sitting in the back of my mind for the past couple days, is how people going to fully lean on hope when they realized that they don’t have anything else to lean on. And that they are willing to give their everything to brings up their hope as high as possible. Although it might seem foolish at glance, but it’s the reality of human beings.
 
I Hope You Get This Message is a sincere and powerful debut that will tear down your emotions. Among its intensity, Rishi also successfully served witty banter and words of wisdom among its characters that will be hard to forget.

what’s the verdict?

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what did others say about this book?

  • Angela @ BookPage said: “This nuanced and realistic story (with a twist of science fiction) is driven not merely by Jesse, Cate and Adeem’s journeys, but by the moments where those journeys intersect.”
  • Lili @ Utopia State of Mind said: “I Hope You Get This Message is quiet, introspective, character driven. It’s about family and forgiveness in the shadow of the end of the world.”
  • Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight said: “The story itself is powerful and moving, even hopeful in spite of the circumstances.”

Are you thinking about adding I Hope You Get This Message into your next reading list?

Blog Tour: The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Fear has immobilized us. And it might be turning us into monsters.

DEBUT DISTRICT is a regular feature on Artsy Draft in which I post appreciation towards debut releases through author interview, book blitz, listopia, review, and other related content.

Hi everyone! I’m so excited today to post my review for the blog tour of The Light at the Bottom of the World! I was lucky enough to be chosen as the part of the street team to celebrate the release of this incredible debut from London Shah. Be sure to check out the full schedule of this tour at the bottom of this post and feel free to visit everyone’s posts!

43885674The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.

 
Thank you to the author for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Light at the Bottom of the World | Series: The Light at the Bottom of the World #1 | Author: London Shah | Genre: FantasyScience FictionYoung Adult | Publication Date: October 29, 2019 | Purchase Links: AmazonBook Depository

Trigger Warning: Abduction, claustrophobia, violence.

what is it about?

Set in the post-apocalyptic underwater London, The Light at the Bottom of the World follows the story of Leyla McQueen, sixteen years old British/Afghan Muslim racer who was seeking for the truth about his falsely charged father by the government. With the belief that her father was innocent, she joined an annual marathon event to win the first place and trade her winning with freedom for her father. Unfortunately, with the continuous attacks from genetically modified humans, corrupted government, political intrigues, and only a little to almost no clue about the truth, Leyla must risk everything if she wants to reunite with her beloved father again.

what do I think about it?

The first impression that came into my mind when I started reading this book is Shah’s eloquent and grace for building, describing and developing this daunting future of London after the world got hit by an asteroid. So, we might as well start the review from that aspect. I wouldn’t be the one to criticize much about the writing in this book. It was cinematic and incredibly vivid. Although I was having difficulty to percept a few things, especially all about the technical bits from the buildings that people used as their home, to the subs that they used to transport underwater, I’d say that it’s a personal issue of mine due to the case of unfamiliarity. Other than that, I was having an exceptional time, exploring the underwater London and its long-gone monumental buildings with exciting creatures swam in between it.
 
Shah captured the perfect balance of portraying the vast ocean as something that — of course, mesmerizing — but also frightening. I personally share a common phobia with Leyla, the fear of the deep, unknown water. The terror of not knowing what’s lurking inside the ocean will always make me anxious. But, lucky me to be living in the land. Well, not so lucky Leyla to be living exactly within her own fear.
 
Now, moving on to the characters and their quest in this story. Leyla was definitely a young, naive teen, yet it was the reason why I’d find her characterization as highly relatable. She was your typical stubborn heroine who loved too much, and for that, willing to risk just about everything for her love. In this case, her falsely charged father. She was also incredibly brave for her age, although some might perceived her courageous acts as being careless. But, I’d say that it wasn’t the correct term for her case. Can you imagine to be living deep underwater, when you’re not supposed to as a human, as a sixteen years old girl who lost her father for a vague reason that not even the minister can answer it for you? I’d for sure lost my mind.
 
The other things that I enjoyed from this book come from various aspects, from the fun fact that Leyla had a pet named Jojo, a goofy white fur ball who’s too cute to be living in the deep, dark ocean, the mysterious Ari aka Leyla’s companion during her quest of finding the truth, to Leyla’s freshly installed housemaid/navigator in the form of holographic Osca Wilde which seems to be even more confident than me!
 
The Light at the Bottom of the World is a story of hope and unrequited love, twisted within truths. If you’re craving for an original underwater dystopian universe that meets corrupted politics, then you don’t want to miss this terrific debut.

what’s the verdict?

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what did others say about this book?

  • Ashley @ Cromulent Book Review said: “I love this – it would be easy for a YA protagonist to become cynical and bitter (adolescents, am I right?) but Leyla perseveres, despite her fears.”
  • Nadia @ Headscarves and Hardbacks said: “Shah’s writing is captivating in a way that allows the reader to fully submerge themselves in a unique underwater world and be swept away by the characters and the story.”
  • Olivia @ One Mused said: “The world-building here is top notch, and I really felt like I could imagine this future and the people in it.”

tour schedule

October 20th – Utopia State of Mind
October 21st – Tomes and Textiles
October 22nd – Reader Voracious
October 23rd – Hollibrary Books
October 24th – Julia Fleur
October 25th – YA Book Corner
October 26th – Headscarves and Hardbacks
October 27th – Artsy Draft (It’s me!)
October 28th – The Tsundoku Chronicles

Are you thinking about adding The Light at the Bottom f the World into your next reading list?

Blog Tour: The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco + Wallpapers

A demon is what they call a goddess that men cannot control.

Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

 
Thank you Caffeine Book Tours for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Never Tilting World was published on October 15, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

what is it about?

The Never Tilting World follows the story sets up in the land of Aeon, seventeen years after an incident between the goddesses who caused the world to stop spinning and leave two separated realms as the result. The one is Aranth, cloaked in endless nights and stormy sea, while the other is Golden City, scorched by the unrelenting sun and burning desert. Odessa, the daughter of Asteria who ruled Aranth, suffered from a mysterious disease yet firmly believed that her power is coming and she could save the dying world. Accompanied and guarded by Tianlan, a healer/warrior who suffered from PTSD after surviving her previous mission, they both headed o the Great Abyss. On the other side of the world, Haidee, the daughter of Latona who ruled Golden City, interested in everything mechanic-related, crossed her path with Arjun, a nomad amputee, and they also both headed to the site of the Breaking.

what do I think about it?

The premise sounds a bit controversial in my opinion, but I couldn’t help but wonder what could I expect from a story that pitched as Frozen meets Mad Max? Although I feel decent about Frozen (yet you might find me humming Let It Go on random moments), I’m a massive fan of Mad Max and its terrifying world. And I’m glad to tell you that the universe of Aeon that Chupeco brings into papers, is very much a resemblance to those two contrast universes.

The elders would tell us how the Sun Goddess Latona had ripped the sky in two and feasted on her twin sister’s heart, dooming us to a lifetime of wasteland because she could not stop craving the light. We were born hating them. We had every reason to.

Dare I say that I just want to stan Chupeco for delivered such an original universe full of extraordinary beings and creatures that I could never imagine before. Although I was completely blown away by both of the realms in Aeon and I could sense all of the intriguing details that Chupeco tried to bring in this remarkable world, I often caught off guard by the inconsistency of the plot, resulting in unbalanced narratives. One scene might be full of action, people’s lives are at stakes, and monsters are roaming around, but it ended abruptly and a bit too easily. I was craving for more explanation especially during these particular moments, yet it couldn’t be fulfilled and it brushed off onto the next scene. Meanwhile, there were a lot of side stories that—yes, it was quite interesting—but they were overly explained and this led me into boredom.

People don’t think much about the truth when the lies sound more interesting.

However, I truly enjoyed all of the characters featured in this story. The dynamics between Odessa x Lan and Haidee x Arjun are entertaining and fun to follow. Although I’m leaning more towards Haidee and Arjun just because I’m always a fan of snarky commentaries and witty banters (and enemy to lover, obviously), the evolving relationship between Odessa and Lan was also charming in its own way. I wish that the story also emphasized other characters more, especially Asteria and Latona, as I couldn’t help but keep wondering about the history between the two. At last, I’m quite sure that there will be more answers and revelation regarding the history of the universe itself, the goddesses, and the twins on the sequel. And also, I couldn’t end this review without giving Chupeco an appreciation for bringing such diversity of the disabled, the mentally ill (PTSD), and the queer (f/f romance) in this fantasy tale. I couldn’t speak much about the representation as I’m not a part of any groups that mentioned previously, but I salute Chupeco for  putting them all as the leads in her story!

what’s the verdict?


about the author

Rin ChupecoRin Chupeco has written obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and done many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fantastic worlds but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and the Bone Witch trilogy.
 
Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.
 
 

Author website | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter


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Have you read any of Rin Chupeco’s books before? Are you thinking about adding The Never Tilting World to your next reading list?