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Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater

I've been a fan of Rhiannon Frater ever since I read her As the World Dies zombie apocalypse trilogy a few years back. THE MESMERIZED may not be my favorite novel of hers but the writing is on par with her other books. In this novel, the apocalypse has arrived in a weird plague like storm but instead of zombies, most of the population become entranced, or mesmerized, and start walking in one direction, as if they had only one purpose but no control over their body. They become mindless shells which leads to destruction of cities and the crumbling of societies. The main character, Minji, is one of the very few that is still conscious and able to control her own body. She sets out to save her family, her daughter and her husband among the many mesmerized.

Personally, I find this idea of the apocalypse very frightening. At least with zombies you know what you're dealing with but in the case of the mesmerized, it's very difficult to see who you're fighting against. An act of terrorism or a supernatural plague are theorized but nobody really knows what is going on. The mesmerized hordes don't seem dangerous. Many are dying but deaths are all self-inflicted because the mindless drones don't know what they are doing or walking into. The unknown is very frightening but for Minji, finding the cure is the one and only thing that's on her mind. One of my greatest fears is to lose my mind or lose my memory so an event like this would probably be up there on my list of worse apocalypses ever.

As mentioned earlier, the writing is amazing. The descriptive narrative is very well done. Rhiannon Frater is a genius when it comes to describing horrible scenes, and I mean that as a compliment. One can only think of her opening scene in First Days, the first book of her zombie trilogy, where she describes a child's little fingers trying to scratch their way out from under the front door of a house. In THE MESMERIZED, obviously the situation is a little different, but the intensity and the emotion felt in the first minutes of the plague is due to the wonderful writing. I could feel Minji's horror and her intense desire to assemble her family and keep them safe. It's strange that for a good part of the beginning of the plague, Minji was literally on her own, despite being surrounded by the mesmerized. This part should have been difficult to read because of the lack of dialogue but fortunately, Rhiannon's strong narrative allows you to overlook this lack and become absorbed in the story. Eventually, Minji finds other people that are immune, like her, but for the time she was alone, we obviously had to rely on Rhiannon's great narrative.

A strong female lead is typical for this author and I wouldn't expect anything less. I love how Minji is a no nonsense character and deals wonderfully with the apocalypse. Her fear is very real, and you can see how she fights to stay strong for her family, but you can also tell she's often moments away from a breakdown. The other characters are not as well developed but their own unique story has you sympathize for them and their situation.

The setting for the majority of the novel was perfect. "This was Las Vegas, a place that never slept, but it now appeared empty and abandoned by the living." Vegas is the city that never sleeps, the city of sin and you would think if one city needed to be purged of sin, it would be Las Vegas. Unfortunately, Vegas isn't the only city affected. The mesmerized seem to be appearing in different cities, at different times, in different waves.

Overall, the characters were wonderful, the writing exceptional and the story original. Fans of Rhiannon Frater will be pleased to read something completely new and new readers will be stunned by the impressive, yet terrifying novel.

stephsig hallow

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Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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