The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith
Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
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.
TRIGGER WARNING: THIS BOOK, AND THEREFORE THIS REVIEW, HAS NUMEROUS MENTIONS OF RAPE
DNF @ 82%
And I swear to Gann, if anyone shows their face in the comment section and tries to pull that “You can’t rate a book until you’ve read the whole thing” malarkey with me, I will go absolutely apeshit.
Because in reading 82% of this book, I’ve read 510% of any other book that’s ever been published.
Okay, fine, I’ll allow that there are exceptions to that. Like the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, of course, because ain’t no one figured that thing out out yet. Sure, there are translations. For the known languages he used. But what about the ones he made up, huh? And you’ll never get me to believe that the poliam frater franciscvs colvmna peramavit acrostic is the only code in that crazy ass book.
Wait a second. I’m off topic, aren’t I?
Blame it on the wine.
That I had to consume.
To keep from turning my kindle into a hate-frisbee.
Because of this book.
What I meant to say is that this book is long. Really long. But that is not where my rage comes from. I’ll get to that part of the review later.
Surprisingly, up until about 72%, I really enjoyed this book. Could an editor have hacked about 250k words off of it? You betcha. But I was really happy that they didn’t. Because I don’t suffer from a short attention span. My most re-read book of all-time is the 1500 page behemoth unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo.
Give me a rambling, well-written book filled with commas, colons, commas, semi-colons, and still moar commas, and I’m a happy reader. Especially when, like in this book, there is very little down time. Every page was infused with action or emotion. Every scene had me on the edge of my seat. Every character made me feel things. Okay, so most of them just made me feel murderous, but that’s probably more of a personal issue I need to work through.
Short synopsis: Amber Bierce has run out of luck and options. Her whiny little shit of a sister can’t take care of herself, so Amber books them both passage on a spaceship bound for a new colony on an alien world. Something goes horribly wrong on the way there, and they spend 200 years asleep while the ship drifts until its navigation system finds a habitable world and crash-lands there.
Welcome to Gann. Home of the dumacq. A lizard-like people not so different from humans. You see, they’ve already had their apocalypse. They bio-engineered it themselves. And guess what?
It’s not over yet.
What follows is one hell of a story. Complete with desperate, frantic, assholic human survivors, a lizard warrior/prophet/priest, a desperate flight through wastelands, some smexy times after they get snowed in for the winter…
Yup. From about the 72% mark this book gets suuuuuuuper rapey. Which I knew going into it, but I kept reading, because people assured me that it was handled well.
This is my surprised face:
*WARNING: UNMARKED SPOILERS*
So, Amber ends up “married” to this lizard warrior-priest, and they get down wit it. Every day. Sometimes multiple times. But then “the fires of Sheul” take him. Remember how I told you that their bio-engineered apocalypse wasn’t over yet? Yeah, this is what I meant. They rage-fucked their planet to death. Literally. And they still are, but have more control over it than they used to.
Anywho, Sheul takes him and he takes Amber. Rough. Rougher than she wants. But she’s able to talk him back from the abyss, so that’s cool, right? Even though he hurts her? Even though she tries to get him to stop?
Oh, you’re telling me that is cool? Okay, then.
Then Amber gets kidnapped by bad guys. And made into a sex-slave. Raped multiple times every goddamn day. Does Amber ever display the psychological symptoms of this abuse? Nope. Does she ever mention or even think about how much pain she’s in from BEING RAPED MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY???
Does she go on to kill her attacker? OH HELLFUCKYEAH.
Just before her husband shows up to save her. But the fires of Sheul have him. And so instead instead of saving her, he pauses first to rape her. Violently. Nearly breaking her hip. Nearly killing her at several points. She fights, she thrashes, she screams, she begs, and he rapes her. Because the fires of Sheul have him.
So it’s not his fault.
Because the fires of Sheul have him.
Is what the book tells you over and over again.
And Amber? Is she horrified? Traumatized? Hurt? Nope. Perfectly fine the very next day. Even though she was nearly raped to death. But don’t tell her that, because within ten minutes after the rape, she refers to it as sex and doesn’t have a problem with it. I shit you not. I’d include the quote, but in order to do that I’d have to open this book again, AND I FUCKING REFUSE TO DO THAT.
I read the next 10% (roughly 50k fucking words) in utter disbelief, thinking that she was repressing. That she would at least MENTION IT TO HIM. Nope. Nothing. Instead, SHE apologizes to HIM for getting captured and raped. While sobbing. And begging for HIS forgiveness.
If a strange man kidnaps and “gently” rapes you multiple times a day for a week straight: KILL HIM.
If your husband nearly rage-rapes you to death: APOLOGIZE???
Yup. I’m done.