“Life is valuable. Death is a necessity.”
I’m now on book review number seven for my book club, Books Of All Shades and, as each book is completed, my level of inspiration is through the roof. Each book has been so different, each story so unique in its own way. It’s so great to see so many authors building their own worlds from the ground up and their own memorable characters you can’t help but get attached to. This was most definitely the case with my most recently finished book, which, quite frankly, left me eager for more.
Regie Khemvisay’s Death’s Kiss is all about the aftermath of a virus outbreak. With Yuri and Ryoma being held in an institute with so many unanswered questions, a relationship ban and a list of rules to follow, will they ever find out the truth? And what exactly were Yuri’s parent’s keeping from her that day? This book has so much going for it and would suit fans of a long list of genres.
The opening chapter was great. Things moved quickly – there was enough action and suspense to draw you in, yet it didn’t move too fast so you didn’t have a clue what was going on. I think Regie managed to balance this really well. Our main character, Yuri, is distressed and confused as to why she’s being strapped to a bed with a mask over her head.
However, it felt like something was missing and it wasn’t until a few pages in that I managed to pinpoint the problem. The way the sentences themselves were written felt a little uninteresting sometimes, which was strange because there was so much going on. A lot of the words seemed a little unexciting to me and lacked that ‘wow’ factor. The opening scene was really good, and it’s a shame to make this point, but I really feel like there needs to be something to spark up a little excitement and suspense in the wording through the beginning of the story – something more to hook the reader in.
Saying this, there were times where I did really enjoy little snippets of description, such as where Yuri was reminiscing about the memories she shared with her mother, the smells that reminded her of wonderful times and how saddened she is that she no longer has those feelings. Using the senses for descriptive purposes is a great skill to possess and always works really well in my eyes.
As the story goes on, I feel like a lot of information is summarised and there’s a lot of jumping around here and there. I’m thinking this is to make way for the more important scenes of the story and keeping the beginning scenes this way is to accommodate this fact. However, the actual story line does begin to get more and more intriguing. When will Yuri get out of this place full of unanswered questions? What will life be like when she finally does?
“The sun had risen earlier today. Tonight, however, the sky was weeping, and I wondered why.”
In the words of fellow book clubber, Jay, there seems to be a lot of “telling, not showing” at the start, and showing the reader something is essential – it really puts the reader in the shoes of a character and makes them feel involved. Throughout the beginning of the book, I didn’t really feel any connection to Yuri. What she went through should have been very traumatic, but I didn’t really feel this. Maybe the way this was delivered could have been worked on a little more. However, I feel all this was improved significantly as we moved to the middle chapters of the story.
As we start to move more into the story, we see the use of multiple points of view. This is done extremely well in my opinion! We get to hear some of the same bits of the story again, but this time, from Ryoma’s point of view – Yuri’s boyfriend. What I really liked was how Regie had written this. It doesn’t feel boring going through the same scenes again, because it’s done in a completely different tone and, of course, from the inside of a whole new character’s brain. I really enjoyed how this played out 🙂
Regie has ensured that no description has been left out – the way our characters’ separate stories match up must have taken an awful lot of planning. It’s delivered flawlessly. I also love how there are times where Yuri is in the dark about certain details, but us as readers know a little more than she does. It’s a hard thing to explain, but as you read, you’ll understand – hopefully you’ll appreciate this writing technique just as much as I did.
I think the main characters, Yuri and Ryoma are really strong. I found myself getting emotionally attached to each of them as time went by, and it’s clear that the building of their characters was thorough and solid. Their relationship and commitment to each other was so believable and I always found myself rooting for the two of them, hoping that fate would keep them together, safe from harm – especially when times are so difficult.
The institute the characters are confined in is a great setting and again, the idea of this place has been thought out really well. Regie has covered every detail – her description of how things are run, the rules the characters have to obey as well as descriptions of the surroundings and character actions – they really complement each other. It paints a great picture and things seem so…real.
“When you tell someone not to do it, they do the opposite. Human nature never ceases to amuse me.”
The explanation of the virus and how it affects humans was my favourite part of the story – reading how a microorganism created by a scientist could kill someone if exposed terrified me! Lizbeth Bailey, the head of the Department of Science and Technology was a great character. She knew how dangerous this thing she had created was, yet the idea of it amazed her and brought her joy. What a cruel and slightly warped mind this lady has! A great, and again, an incredibly strong character.
The suspense and unanswered questions throughout the middle of the story really make this book such a gripping read. I do think that there may be a little too much to keep track of with the story line at times, but this wasn’t a huge issue for me. I still feel like the amount of detail was sufficient and we’re not left with a feeling of not quite knowing what’s going on throughout the middle of the book.
Experiencing the Shuffle and the deaths of many people really built up so much anticipation for the end of the story. I found myself wondering, will there ever be an end to the misery, or will things be the same forevermore? A very scary thought for the characters I’d imagine, and, of course, for humankind if it ever happened in the world we live in today.
I really admired the strength of Yuri and Ryoma, and the things they had to do to save each other and help their peers. The adventure was gripping and the ending was really well constructed. I loved how us readers experience Yuri’s confidence growth throughout the story, and it’s clear that she’ll do anything to protect the ones she loves. This growth gives you a heartwarming kind of feeling!
“Those you trust are the ones that betray you. Fate destroys you in the worst possible way. Until you have nothing left.”
Regie captured a lot of emotional feelings in the final few chapters. Yuri faces the possibility of losing some of the people closest to her and again, we see an incredible change in character from her. The multiple points of view at this stage worked really well, just like they have done throughout the book, but at this stage, everything comes together nicely – exactly what I hoped!
I feel like this book has so much depth and even though the beginning of the book didn’t hook me in as much as I’d wanted, the rest of it more than made up for that. I admire Regie’s writing talent and I really feel like she’s done an amazing job with this novel.
The story is solid – the plot is detailed and Regie delivers this very well in my eyes. I really enjoyed reading how the characters grew as people as if I was getting to know a real human person! I actually feel quite sad the book ended, but I’m more than excited for what comes next in Regie’s future projects.
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