Jen reviews Odder Still, the second book in the These Treacherous Tides Fantasy series by D.N. Bryn.
Thank you to the author, D.N. Bryn for the ARC in exchange of an honest review!
|Series: These Treacherous Tides #2||Genre: social fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: June 9, 2022||Trigger Warnings: |
Animal testing, experimentations, racism, death
|Page count: 390||Publisher: Self-Published|
Rubem of No-Man’s Land was content keeping to his wine, his pets, and his extensive collection of fishnets.
But since a sentient, fuel-producing parasite bonded to his brainstem, every morally-depraved scientist and hardcore rebel for a hundred miles wants to ruthlessly dissect him. The parasite itself is no better, influencing his emotions and sassing him with his own memories as it slowly takes over his body.
The only person offering Rubem help is Tavish K. Findlay, a dashing and manipulative philanthropist whose mother’s fuel company monopolizes their corrupt underwater city with an iron claw. She desperately wants to tear Rubem apart for the parasite before those who oppose her can do the same. Her son is irresistibly charismatic though, and after a lifetime of being kicked out and disavowed, Rubem is desperate to believe in the friendship Tavish offers.
With revolutionary plots and political schemes tangling his every choice, Rubem must soon decide whether or not to trust Tavish in his fight against the parasite’s growing control.
I fold my free hand into my lap, trying to ignore the way the black gashes that crisscross the skin mimic my fishnets so well. “I won’t exist as background noise for its life. I’ve already felt left out of my own far too often.”
F**kin’ Perfect by P!nk
When I set out to summarize Odder Still for my review, I wasn’t really sure where to begin because it encompasses a lot of ground in a small space.
The story is about Rubem, a depressed, alcoholic, previous head of a cartel. A falling out with a past accomplice, has him on the run with an even bigger issue in the form of an Aurora (a type of parasite) attached to his neck. While searching for help to remove the parasite, Rubem meets and falls in love with Tavish.
Tavish happens to be a gorgeous, aristocratic selkie, whose super-rich, and unethical family is responsible for most of the research and advancements, that have come from the Auroras, and is probably not the best choice for someone in Rubem’s predicament to approach for help or to be attracted to. And heck, the timing kind of sucks too, because that parasite is slowly taking the lead in Rubem’s body. But love is never convenient, is it?
Odder Still is again part of The Treacherous Tides series. Though Rubem is a character from Once Stolen, I don’t believe you need to read that book to know more about him because he is but a small part of the last book, and most of his growth is in this book. Though reading the previous stories would definitely help to fill in the gaps of this unique world, and its characters.
This story took me a bit longer to warm up to because Rubem wasn’t a character I liked much in the previous book where he was introduced. He had done a lot of nasty things before we discovered how much manipulation was involved behind the scenes, and so this feels very much like a redemption story, mixed-in with a personal growth arc.
I did warm to him a lot by the end of the book. I also found it interesting how this sour, melancholy man became happier and more animated as he grew to love Tavish, and grew to love himself – accepting the good and the bad parts of himself, as one.
Each book in this series expands on the world a little by introducing more races, and cities. The setting, while still in the same world, felt a lot less charming this time around, as the cover is pulled-back and the inner workings of the city of Maraheen are explored.
There is a distinct line between the upper and lower classes, with an over-board of opulence in the higher levels, contrasted strongly with the bottom of the barrel opposite of the lower class, and the poor. (Much like shown in the movie Parasite)
We also gain more of an understanding of how the ignits (one of the cooler things in this world), are utilized to power things, and other fuel sources that the city and its surroundings use to maintain their infrastructure.
A little romance, some action, a twist on social issues, and to stir the pot – a whole lot of self-love. Like all of Bryn’s stories, representation and finding understanding within yourself, and each other, is at their core making these stories more about healing and acceptance. The rest is just the icing on the cake.