Friday, July 12, 2013

Kain (Sex, Drugs, and Cyberpunk),by Brie McGill

Once again we are daytripping (and I do mean tripping) into the realm of science fiction, this time a cyberpunk treat, Kain (Sex, Drugs, and Cyberpunk) by Canadian author Brie McGill.

The Blurb:
Counting days is irrelevant in the life of a well-to-do man, unless he counts the days passed in total service to the Empire. Salute. Submit. Shut up and scan the wrist. Therapists armed with batons and brass knuckles guide the derelict along a well-beaten path to Glory.

When human experiment Lukian Valentin escapes the Empire to save his crumbling sanity--through a grimescape of fissured highways, collapsing factories, putrescent sewers--he realizes the fight isn’t only for his life, it’s for his mind. Torturous flashbacks from a murky past spur him on a quest for freedom, while the Empire’s elite retrievers remain at his heels, determined to bring him home for repair.

Lukian needs one doctor to remove the implanted chips from his body, and another to serve him a tall glass of answers. Lukian attempts a psychedelic salvage of his partitioned mind, gleaning fragments of the painful truth about his identity.

A scorching, clothes-ripping rendezvous with a mysterious woman offers Lukian a glimpse of his humanity, and respite from his nightmarish past. It also provides the Empire the perfect weakness to exploit for his recapture.

To rise to the challenge of protecting his new life, his freedom of thought, and his one shot at love, Lukian must reach deep into his mind to find his true identity. To defeat the Empire, he requires the deadly power of his former self--a power that threatens to consume him.

My Review:

Wow! Where to start? This book had me up to 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday night, making for a rather cranky Monday morning.

Lukian is a compelling, deep character. As what he believes he knows about the world begins to crumble around him, Lukian finds one really good friend, one person he can trust, Aidan. Underneath his veneer of compliance Aidan, just like Lukian, is a rebellious citizen, and Lukian is drawn to him against his better judgement.

The evil characters are not simply evil, they are depraved. Brigham is cold, intent on his own agenda, even to sacrificing his own family with little thought or compassion. Skirra is Cruella deVille on steroids. Krodha—what can you say about a sadistic mental health professional in love with his cattle-prod and endowed with the tender mercy and empathy of Heinrich Himmler?  The psychopaths are running the asylum!

There is a real atmosphere in this tale, and depth to both the characters and the two environments Lukian finds himself in.

Glorious Empire Daitya is a complete reflection of those who built her—cold, eternally dark and rigidly unforgiving, a teeming slum built on an arctic continent where the elusive sun rarely breaks through the smog.

Jambu is a tropical paradise, rather like a post-apocalyptic Jamaica, full of chaotic life and free spirits. Both countries on this world are vividly drawn without the author devolving into excessive detail.

There are ample quantities of intense sex, drugs and violence in this tale, balanced by an incredible plot and compelling characters that carry this book beyond sci-fi-erotica. Kain is a stellar example of the indie author breathing new life into the genre of science fiction. It is over the top, and wildly entertaining. There is a quality of plot and environment that reminds me of an immersive rpg. That sense of immersion is what I loved the most about this book—it was an rpg on my Kindle, with all the cutscenes and good parts and none of the grinding.

This is an adult novel, and it is not for every reader. This is a thinking person's sci-fi novel, deep, violent, erotic, and occasionally hilarious. All in all, Kain is a breath of fresh air in a genre that frequently takes itself too seriously.


Alison DeLuca said...

WOW - this looks amazing!

Carlie Cullen said...

A great review, Connie, and another book to add to my TBR list!

Carlie Cullen said...

Another great review, Connie, and yet another book to add to my ever-growing TBR list!