You probably know by know that the CSFF Blog tour is supporting the release of Fearless by Robin Parrish. You probably also know that I haven't read it, because not reading the books is my adopted role in the tour :P .
But Fearless, as you also know, is A Sequel, and I have recently finished the first volume of the Dominion Trilogy, Relentless.
The story begins like this:
Collin Boyd stepped off the Metro bus on his way to work, and across the street he saw himself strolling down the sidewalk.
Collin, it seems, has been 'shifted', and in addition to losing his own body, it transpires that he now inhabits the body of a total stranger. All of which seems faintly ridiculous, as does the apparent ease with which Collin Boyd accepts his new identity, even insisting that his sister calls him by his assumed name, Grant Borrows.
Perhaps I'm being a bit unfair. The body-swap thing is a bit comic-book for my taste, and is never adequately explained, but since SFF fans are accustomed to a degree of suspension of disbelief.
As for how easily Collin settles into Grant's identity, well, so much is going on in this guy's life that he probably hasn't got a minute to worry about who's face he is wearing. From the first assassination attempt, the pace is indeed relentless, helped along by the rapid passing of chapters - Parrish packs no fewer than 64 chapters into 442 pages (presumably that stems from its beginnings as a serial?). Which, in theory, I like because that makes it easy to pick up and read in odd minutes here and there. In practice, I could always find time to squeeze in another chapter before going on to whatever else I had to do.
The story follows the new Grant Borrows as he tries to figure out what has happened to him, and why so many people are so intent to destroy his new body. Along the way he discovers that he has the power of telekenesis - the ability to move, and frequently destroy, stuff by the power of his mind. He comes across a group of Shifted individuals - the Loci - who have also inherited various super-human abilities (as well as, presumably, new bodies, which none of them seem to talk about). He even does a spot of amateur genealogy. And then, towards the end of the book, the action steps up a gear as it builds to the climax, which was not exactly where I thought it might be (although I was clipping through the story so quickly I didn't have much chance to worry about what might be coming).
Relentless fills an odd niche in the world of Christian SF & Fantasy, somewhere between superhero sf and Whedon-esque urban fantasy. There was at least one scene straight out of Buffy, some very Star Wars moments, and the superhero premise somewhere between X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Heroes (which admittedly I know by reputation only, as it arrives on the BBC tomorrow). And, oddly, only a single passing mention of God, about 400 pages in, although the characters all seem to swear like Christians, leading to one slightly jarring occurrence of the word 'frightfully'.
I usually like my Christian fiction a bit more obvious than Relentless, but I can honestly say that I found this book to be a page-turner, and I will be reading Fearless soon.
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