- Books Lacuna (Lacuna Chronicles Book 1) by A.M. Daily
Lacuna (Lacuna Chronicles Book 1) by A.M. Daily
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AL Amy Leibowitz
About the Author
A.M. Daily is a LGBT writer who lives with her human partner and her feline partner in beautiful Arizona. She writes queer fiction within a variety of genres including (but not limited to); contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and science fiction.
October 01, 2015
The ascension of the Terah has ravaged the Earth and plunged humanity into a horrifying existence. Humans struggle to survive in the few remaining cities beside Mechi, artificially intelligent beings whose most recent models are indistinguishable from their human creators, and the Ezri, a race of humanoid alien life whose descent to Earth changed the future of humankind forever.
Caden is number 508349, and has lived a comfortable and privileged life as the son of a wealthy corporate bigwig, kept safe from the dangers of life outside of Belen. An inexplicable restlessness leads Caden to pursue Earth’s lost past in cities other than his own and in the dusty words of suppressed history books.
Together with his streetwise friends, Mikas and Blue, Caden learns to navigate the shadowed world of the Underground Streets as he searches for answers to the questions left by his recurring nightmares.
When a series of catastrophic events leads to an encounter with a mysterious stranger, Caden is drawn unwittingly into a decades long war for freedom. As he struggles to accept his place in his rapidly changing reality, Caden is given insight into his true nature, allowing him to finally take the leap of faith he needs to reclaim his identity and freedom.
An excellent start to the series
While I wouldn’t call myself an avid reader of science fiction, it’s still one of my favorite genres. This novel is, on the whole, a well-executed and satisfying work. There’s a lot to love here, and fans looking for a thought-provoking look at a futuristic society should be pleased.
I found the world-building to be excellent. It can be a little challenging to figure out the structure of the society at first, but I see this as a point in the author’s favor. There aren’t pages and pages of exposition explaining just how Earth got into its current state. You get a few lines of text, and the rest is built on it through the storytelling. There are some wonderful details, like the way everyone is given breather masks due to the poor air quality. It’s not explained in depth, and yet there’s still a good sense of the environment.
The reason this works so well is that the story is heavily character-driven rather than world-driven. We see all of this through the eyes of the three main characters: Caden, Mikas, and Blue. Caden is my favorite, and I felt he was the most fully formed of the three. His story is utterly captivating, and I kept wanting to know more. Mikas is interesting as well. His friendship with Caden is beautifully written and expands as the story goes on. We’re only given tidbits of their history, but I didn’t feel as though I was missing any important details.
Blue was a troubling character for me. While I loved his personality, I really struggled with the fact that he’s a stereotype. He’s a transfeminine sex worker, and for me, that’s too much of a trope. It felt like exoticizing and sexualizing people of non-binary gender (and transfemmes in general), especially when Blue alludes to being able to fulfill people’s fantasies. It’s become trendy lately, especially in science fiction, to write non-binary characters as sex workers, and I’m ready for better representation. I don’t find it compelling or interesting.
I did have some difficulty getting fully into the story for about the first third. There’s a lot of explaining the characters’ histories and personalities rather than letting them unfold. It picks up the pace just before the halfway mark, and the rest of the story is more engaging. Some of the phrasing and word choice is a bit odd in the first part too.
The other thing that put me off somewhat was the lack of decent women characters or any representation of transmasculinity. I didn’t necessarily feel that the treatment of women was full of tropes or stereotypes, but it did feel lacking. For a book which got so much right and had otherwise good representation of queer men (I saw gay, bi, and ace in there), I’d have liked more. This isn’t a romance, which means there’s plenty of room for more genders. I’m hoping that since this is only book one, there’s more in future parts.
Speaking of it not being a romance, that by itself is a selling point for me. I felt that the romantic aspects of the book (which mainly belonged to Blue) were exceptionally well done. They’re not the focus, and they served the full plot rather than being a side element.
It’s a testament to the author’s storytelling skill that despite my couple of reservations, I can still give this a good rating, and I want to read more of this world. The first book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, but it wasn’t the type which left me frustrated. I can’t provide specifics or it would spoil the surprise. The big reveal is so beautifully and perfectly done that it makes everything else in the story worthwhile.
For excellent world-building, some excellent characters, and a thrilling conclusion, this gets 4 stars.
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