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Sci Fi Review: The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith

The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith


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Synopsis from Goodreads
It was her last chance:

Amber Bierce had nothing left except her sister and two tickets on Earth’s first colony-ship. She entered her Sleeper with a five-year contract and the promise of a better life, but awakened in wreckage on an unknown world. For the survivors, there is no rescue, no way home and no hope until they are found by Meoraq—a holy warrior more deadly than any hungering beast on this hostile new world…but whose eyes show a different sort of hunger when he looks at her.

It was his last year of freedom:

Uyane Meoraq is a Sword of Sheul, God’s own instrument of judgment, victor of hundreds of trials, with a conqueror’s rights over all men. Or at least he was until his father’s death. Now, without divine intervention, he will be forced to assume stewardship over House Uyane and lose the life he has always known. At the legendary temple of Xi’Matezh, Meoraq hopes to find the deliverance he seeks, but the humans he encounters on his pilgrimage may prove too great a test even for him…especially the one called Amber, behind whose monstrous appearance burns a woman’s heart unlike any he has ever known.

From R. Lee Smith, author of Heat and Cottonwood, comes an epic new story of desire, darkness and the dawn that comes after The Last Hour of Gann.

WARNING: This book contains graphic violence, strong sexual content and explicit language. It is intended for mature readers only.


 Amazon kindle US/UK

9/10

* * *
The good thing, ladies and gents, is that this book will blow your mind. The bad thing, - it's not for everyone. 

This is a pretty epic sci-fi romance; a hefty tome, at 1000+ pages, with quite a lot of world building and various trials and tribulations for the main group of characters, which at times are very hard to stomach, but the whole experience is absolutely addictive.


In not so distant future, Earth is how we imagine it would be - overpopulated, overpolluted and drowning in its own misery. Amber's mother just died, and she and her younger half-sister Nicki have to get out of their apartment, because even with their two jobs they can't afford the rent.

The only logical option as practical, overweight, plain Amber sees it is to sign a five year contract to become first colonists on a distant planet. The hitch in the plan? A meteorite shower on the way to the colony shreds the ship, and Amber, Nicki and few others wake up from their suspended animation few years later in a wreckage on a very different planet from their destination. Unknown, unexplored, with not many supplies and no way to contact Earth.

What follows is a very difficult journey of the surviving colonists on an alien planet. Amber in her practicality and almost brutal honesty is not liked, barely tolerated and constantly bullied by the rest of the group and especially by its leader, Scott. He is a typical politician who tells people what they want to hear and ignores the truth even if it bites him on the arse repeatedly. In fact, Scott comparing to Amber is almost a perfect villain. You can not not hate him, and that disturbed me a little as I prefer my villains with at least a hint of redemption.

Amber is perfect too but in the opposite way. She is extremely stubborn, insanely brave and determined to always do the right thing even if it pits her against everyone else. Her saving grace however is her practicality. She is by definition a survivor and will do whatever it takes to get through shit.

The characterisation in the book is fantastic. The characters are so alive, you either love them or hate them, but what you don't feel is the indifference or boredom. What really makes it though is the monumental clash of cultures and larger than life figure of Meoraq.

The main hero of the novel is, pardon me, a lizardman. His race lives in a strictly regimented religious, feudal society, and he is some sort of a higher ranking warrior-priest who discovers human survivors on a religious pilgrimage.

Funnily enough, Meoraq finds us humans very ugly. So his fascination with Amber stems not from physical attraction but from her amazing spirit. He is very insightful, but stubborn and set in his ways, and the chemistry between him and Amber develops very slowly and against all odds until it reaches its boiling point.

Another interesting thing is that throughout the whole book Meoraq speaks in his own language and Amber converses with him in English. They learn each other languages, but Meoraq refuses to speak anything apart from his own language due to religious beliefs, and Amber can't reproduce the sounds of his language correctly because her physiology is very different.

There is a lot going on, and I mean A LOT. Apart from the twist of the story, there are a couple of villains that will give you chills (and I'm not talking about Scott). There are nasty dynamics which will happen in any human group when the flair of civilisation will crumble, but there will be some amazing shit happening as well that will make the whole experience for the lack of better word seem... profound.

I'm intentionally vague, but believe me, - this was one of the best reads for me this year, and I wholly recommend it without giving you too many spoilers. If and when you read it, come back and comment. I would dearly love to know if you enjoyed it as much as I did.

* * *
Верьте мне или нет, это ваше дело, дамы и господа, но вот книга эта вышла какой-то совершенно эпичной и оказалась одним из лучших романов, что я прочитала в этом году.

Последний Час Ганна - это научно-фантастическая романтическая сага длинной в более чем 1000 страниц, с великолепной характеризацией главных героев,
тщательным изучением человеческой психологии, особенно когда с людей спадают покровы цивилизации, ксенофобии и основ веры.

Главные герои - Амбер, одна из колонистов, потерпевших крушение на неизвестной людям планете Ганн, и Меорак - челове-ящер из цивилизации, населяющей Ганн и живущей в подобии военно-религиозного феодального государства. 

Амбер - очень упрямая, некрасивая (и я имею в виду, простенькая, с грубыми чертами лица, полноватая) и просто брутально честная женцина, до невозможности практичная и без капли дипломатии в её крови. Такой характер сразу же противопоставляет её остальным колонистам, которые не хотят слышать правду и предпочитают слушать сладкие речи типичного политика Скотта, которого они выбирают как лидера.

Меорак - священник-воин высокого ранка своей расы, который уходит в пилигримаж когда узнаёт, что его правитель-отец умер, и что теперь ему предстоит сложить свой меч и начать управлять государством, доставшимся ему в наследство. Когда он натыкается на странных существ в дикой глуши вдали от цивилизации, он решает узнать их получше и дождаться знака от бога нужно ли ему их убить или нет.

Отношения между Амбер и Меораком развиваются очень медленно. Он вообще считает и её и остальных людей очень уродливыми, поэтому сказать что его к ней привлекает физическая красота нельзя. Она завоёвывает его своим несокрушимым духом, и неожиданно эти двое несмотря на такие непохожие образы жизни и физиологию находят, что они родственные души.

Оба проходят очень много испытаний перед горько-сладкой концовкой, и эти испытания их глубоко меняют и закаляют. Пара злодеев в книге настолько роскошно выписаны, что аж холодок по коже проходит. Сам по себе сюжет интересный тоже. Единственное, что меня немного доставало это два персонажа, что выписаны настолько чёрными, что не испытывать к ним неприязнь было ну просто невозможно. Я всё-таки люблю разносторонние персонажи, и люблю находить в них что-то, что хоть чем-то но достойно симпатии.

Кроме этой мелочи, книга волшебная. Оторваться невозможно, настолько интересно и увлекательно написано. Кому-то конечно придётся не по душе, но мне безумно понравилось и я очень её всем советую.


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