A Touch of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy #1)
Author: Rebecca Crunden
Rated K for a kiss of death that leaves an aftertaste of dread
A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta…
The rich live in the capital city, Anais, but wealth isn’t always a savior. For Nate Anteros, son of the King’s favourite this is the case. Thought sent to the gallows he is spared and sent to a prison camp. When he’s released he disappears altogether.
It’s two years later when Nate returns and with his return, trouble. His brother, Thomas and his brother’s complement, Catherine, will do whatever it takes to help him, after a mistake that endangers all three of them is made, even go to The Outlands where deadly mutants and rabids roam. Nate is on the run and a dark secret that changes everything he and his loved ones know.
A Touch of Death was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Filled with a roller-coaster of emotions from enraging heartache to crushing despair. The journey to survive and rise up against power was incredibly bleak for Nate and Catherine. The moments of relief shined in spots but were certainly nothing compared to how dark this story got. From the discovery of how mutants came to be to admitting true feelings of the heart, I was left hurdling. It took some time to truly get into the story, but once I did, I was stacking some serious hope for Nate and Catherine. They deserved it and still do. Same for their friends by the way. Just saying.
The setting of the wealthy city of Anais was glittering compared to the stark and desolate travels for the main characters. Granted I really liked the little place they stopped at that was seriously out of touch with the rest of the world. There was a peace and beauty to it that couldn’t be touched. The drastic differences in each place and moment during the novel really showed the care Crunden took with detail. Utterly stunning in all honestly. I even got a little needy for more in which I wish I could’ve seen more out of the places and dystopian world, if anything, to fill it out more.
Speaking of detail, the cover of the book really reached out to me. Coming across as brutal and rough, the brushstrokes were sharp and thick, giving way to desolate mountains, making me think of those Outlands. Though it seems simple, I take great appreciation for cover-artwork. Those who work on the cover work just as hard as those who wrote the novel. They work on that art so that it can give beauty and help entice the reader. The expression of the art, as well, is to be truly desired since it can help make or break a book in most cases, though readers hate to admit it. In this case, I find the cover so fitting. Left feeling the struggle and raw vulnerability and grief, the cover touches on not only the journey I feel but the tethered emotions as well. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I have an appreciation for an artistic cover such as this one.
While I found parts of this book needs a little more to it because I felt a little shorted, I found it curious and alluring, especially with how it ended. The title truly lives up to the story, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t mind finding out what comes next sometime in the future.
“…Morality doesn’t hold a candle to curiosity.” (Nate, p. 106)
“There’s something to fear from everyone.” (Catherine to Evander, p. 189)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Dark Rider by NINA.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!