Review: The Last Stratiote by LeAnn Neal Reilly

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Publisher: Zephron
Publishing Date: September 2013
ISBN:9780982687581
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.4/5.0

Publishers Description: Elira Dukagjini, a mysterious partner in a firm specializing in blood law, teams up with James Goodman, an American ICE agent, to save Mirjeta Gjakova, the woman James loves, after the Albanian mafia snatches her. Drawn to Mirjeta through her desire for James, Elira struggles against an unknown, pernicious virus and the control of her senior law partner, the sinister Dr. Aconcio, who has his own agenda. A group of grieving mothers and wives calling themselves Code Red and a Kosovar imam, fanatics in the U.S. and the Balkans, propel the trio into a private reign of terror from which there can be only one end.

Review: Contrary to the authors claim that there are no zombie-like virus’ in the world, there are quite a few. Toxoplasmosis, rabies, sleeping sickness, leprosy, necrosis, lyme disease, mad cow disease, dysarthria and worst of all, Nodding Disease originating originally in the Sudan and spreading recently into Uganda. At least their wasn’t any bad firearm descriptors and their use in a presumptive manner.

Fug me, this was both the best novel I have ever read, and the worst. Why is it so good you ask? In one word, the main character, Elira. Holy shjt balls, what a finely crafted character. The intensity coupled with a past rife with history, pain and love, held within a vampire waif whom is engaged in blood debt killings that started in Albania. The angel (or so I assume) Zophie, provides this engaging weirdness that creeps around at the edges of sanity. Both there and not, she is a great addition to the complex cast.

For me this novel was riveting until you got to the pages and pages of filler that mainly focuses on religious disparity and their contribution to the mental whimsy of one character. This is the authors pundit, I presume, in airing her knowledge and subsequent take on that particular arena of interest. While it provides some context to our characters situations and subsequent story-line, it tends to diminish the overall movement of the novel.
While Shakespeare may be interesting to some and of little regard to others, Elira’s fascination with his plays and her ability to recite anything at a moments notice is kind of a neutral for me. I get that the author is trying to draw a parallel with Elira and develop her as a complex character, but it was really not needed.

So, I found myself completely absorbed and loving Elira’s character and her story-line, then in the next instant I found myself flipping through quite a bit of historical religious filler. This novel needed a really good editor, or at least someone with an objective viewpoint whom could stand back and say, ” you know, while this is great and all, there is just too much information to hold the interest of the common generalist reader.”

I thought that the sex scenes, while explicit, really added to the story-line and her character. I was surprised by some of the sexual additions in the midst of the story. There is one instance when James is looking for Elira at a drama theater, and sees her sitting in the back row. As he comes upon her he finds that she is otherwise engaged with another. The author just bops you in the head all of the time. This novel does not follow in a classic structure. Even the dialogue can be weird and stilted, given the situation…just like in real life.
The cover art is ok. Lets get a close up of her with the eye brow and lip piercings. Her blue hair and makeup was described in detail, repeatedly, in the novel, yet there is no artistic rendering.

Get this novel, the author is definitely a refreshing talent, whom excels at riveting and drawing readers into a broad tapestry of the fantastic.

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