Wow. Just… Wow. This book is a gem in the genre. Michael R. Fletcher, you just got yourself a new fan.
Beyond Redemption’s world is built on the premise that psychological disorders have actual manifestations in the real world. Picture it as a Schizofrenic character actually having doubles to talk to, or people that believe they are actually an animal having the power to actually turn into said animal. It’s a bit of a weird concept, but it’s fresh and really well thought out and it makes up for a great deal of the plot.
Apart from that, Fletcher paints a really ‘vivid’ picture of the cesspool this story takes place in. It’s grimdark in every possible way and it deals with death and murder in a casual fashion. I can totally see that this isn’t for everyone, but I loved it.
Where do I even start with the characters? None of them is normal, or sane for that matter, everyone of them has their bagage and their ‘afflictions’. There are not good guys here, no heroes, not even marginally good guys. Everyone we meet is damaged goods, and they act like it.
Bedeckt, Stehlen and Wichtig, our ‘heroes’, are despicable people, every single one of them. They have very little redeeming qualities amongst them and can be considered, on the whole, to be batshit crazy. Yet, I found that I liked them. I liked their banter and the messed up camraderie they have. It somehow feels more real, because of their craziness, if that makes sense.
The side-characters are equally interesting, I personally loved the emotionaly neglected, and mentally very unstable, Gehirn and the conscience-burdened Aufslag.
Overall, very well written, round characters, just not your typical fantasy-types.
The writing is solid and flows well. I especially enjoyed the fight-scenes where the author jumps POV just when the current POV character is about to act/strike, so that you see the result of the strike from another perspective. Very refreshing and it gives a satisfying weight to the flow of the story.
The only, minor, gripe I have, is the use of German-ish names, they REALLY don’t fit the flow of the english language.
Maybe this is just a personal thing, because I’m not a native english (or german) speaker, but understand both, but because I know how the words are supposed to be pronounced, my brain has to make small translation jumps everytime a german looking word pops up, and this is highly annoying. I can’t read the name / word and NOT translate to my native language, it’s nice though, that the translations are always so fitting for the character / place / thing they represent.
Plot / Story
This isn’t your typical fantasy novel, not even your typical grimdark novel. The premise is that ‘belief defines reality’, which was a first for me.
The plot isn’t very complex, but that doesn’t matter, as it’s very much a case of “the journey is what it’s all about”, and it’s a GREAT journey.
I feel like my review doesn’t cover how great this book was. It sets the bar for any future grimdark fantays I’ll read, and it already was a pretty steep bar.
Sidenote: this book DESERVES to receive an audiobook version.
added to all-time favorites
5 crazy, filthy little stars
All books in this series:
- (1) Beyond Redemption
- (2) The Mirrors Truth
- (3) Swarm and Steel