The Nephilim were on the earh in those days – and also afterward-when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
Genesis 6: 4
Back in August I received an email from a Rob Reaser asking if I would be willing review the novel that’s the subject of this post. I had never heard of Mr. Reaser, but the synopsis sounded interesting, not something I’d seen much of before. I replied that I would, but I had about half a dozen other books I had committed to review that were in the queue ahead of his novel. He replied that was fine, he would appreciate the review when I could get to it.
Well, it took a little longer than I had anticipated (my apologies, Rob), but I finished the book yesterday while sick in bed. (No, the book didn’t make me sick; being sick allowed me to finish the novel sooner than I thought I would.) I wondered when I agreed to review the book if I was making a mistake, reviewing a first and self-published novel. I’m glad to say I made no mistake.
While very different in style and content from Tisarian’s Treasure, this is another example of a well-done ebook independently published by the author.
The situation is this: the Nephilim are back. And they’re not nice. Through a genetically engineered plague, they’ve wiped out most of the human race. The few survivors left are either kept as slaves and breeding stock, or they try their best to survive in small tribes. Some occasionally mount a weak resistance; these are known as raiders.
I found this to be an interesting premise and not one that’s been used much. Reaser does a good job of making the scenario believable and realistic, at places later in the story delving into possible scientific explanations for the existence of the Nephilim and mechanisms to defeat them. It was hard to decide whether this was fantasy or science fiction. I was tempted to review this over on Futures Past and Present, but I decided to review it here because this site gets more traffic, and thus the book would get greater exposure.
The central character is a young woman named Nora, who is leading two of her companions on a raid when the story opens a couple of generations after the Nephilim have taken over. Things don’t go well, her two companions are killed, and Nora and a freed slave, Stu, manage to escape. When they return to Nora’s home, they discover that most of her tribe have been taken captive in a Nephilim raid.
Nora, Stu, and a young woman named Gayle set off in pursuit to rescue the captured raiders. Of course, it isn’t going to be that simple.
The plot is fairly straight forward, but there are a couple of surprises. I’ll not spoil them for you. I’ll only say that not everyone who has the same goal will agree on the best way to achieve that goal. Some people forget who they’re fighting for in their efforts to accomplish great good.
Mr. Reaser has twenty years experience as a journalist and magazine editor, and it shows in his writing style, which is sparse and lean without a lot of flowery prose. I found his style suited the story he was telling, adding to the tension.
This was a fairly short novel by today’s standards, just over 200 pages. I’m fairly certain Mr. Reaser intended it to be for an adult audience, but there’s nothing inappropriate for younger readers, especially teenagers. The protagonist is barely into her twenties, and the book shares many of the themes of classic YA science fiction and fantasy. (I don’t know about contemporary YA because it seems to be mostly marketed to girls.) With the new Kindles hitting the market, the predictions for ebook sales this holiday season are high. If you’re considering giving a younger (or older) reader an electronic reading device, this book would be a nice thing to include with it. The book is well formatted, it has an interactive table of contents so you can go directly to the chapter you want if you didn’t set a bookmark, and it tells a good story.
I’m looking forward to the next volume.