Saturday, May 16, 2009

Review- InDescent by K.Z. Snow

by K.Z. Snow
May 11, 2009
Paranormal/ Gay

Buy it Liquid Silver

Being a powerful, sexually magnetic wizard has its disadvantages. Like inviting the attention of bumbling but persistent rivals. And seductive women. And otherworldly beings.

For Jackson Spey, that isn’t the worst of it. His lover-of-choice is his best male buddy. Who has a disturbing past. And a girlfriend. And feelings Jackson is afraid to return. The legendary Prism of Nezrabi brings all these elements together when it falls into the hands of Spey’s number-one enemy. No ordinary crystal, the Prism is an intricate microcosm wherein all time, space, and dimensions coexist in delicate balance. Humans who’ve been pulled into it have gone mad…or simply never returned.

Through inept or malicious magic, the structure’s integrity has been compromised. A breach has freed creatures thought only to exist in Slavic myth. Nobody but the most qualified Adept can repair the split. But if Jackson Spey descends into Nezrabi’s world, he may have to face something more dreadful than a seemingly impossible task and its potential consequences.

He may have to confront the secrets of his own soul.

I recently read K.Z. Snow’s book Obsessed and was fascinated by the psychological complexity of the characters and relationship dynamics in that book. In InDescent, the relationship between Adin and Jackson, the characters from that book, gets taken to a new level. Not only that, the magick realm in which Jackson operates is acting up and we the reader are taken on an esoteric trippy trip along with Jackson and Adin as they work out their relationship.

The plot to this story is quite complex so I’ll try and do the best to give my synopsis of what’s going on here.

Like with Obsessed, Again: Warning--- long ass K.Z. Snow book review coming. Sorry but her characters and story telling really get into my head.

Edited: To anyone who read my first posted review, I erroneously thought that Adin and Celia were married and not live-ins and thought that had been changed in this book, affecting part of what I felt about this book and much of my review. However, I stand corrected on that and have deleted those parts of the review in which I expressed my dismay about that. And my sincerest apologies to K.Z. Snow for that.

It’s been a while since Jackson and Adin have had their first real sexual encounter in which they openly expressed and acted on their sexual attractions to each other and Jackson is in a state of deep ache for Adin, who’s gone back home to his girlfriend.

Weird things have started happening though which is freaking Jackson out. A mysterious, evocative woman has shown up who Jackson feels oddly attracted to, and then she disappears. He starts having shifts in perception and weird creatures are showing up all over the place whom the average person can’t see.

Jackson shares this with his long time friend Angelina Funmaker (I love that name) who is psychic, and she mentions having strange experiences as well. They both go together to talk with another psychic who channels an otherworldly spirit and this being tells Jackson that there’s been a breach in connections inside the Prism of Nezrabi, an ancient and powerful crystal that contains the balance of all worlds and beings in the universe in it, and that Jackson is the chosen one to fix the problem.

Ivan is another wizard like Jackson. He has nowhere near Jackson’s level of proficiency and is extremely jealous of Jackson. With the help of a necromancer, he gets a hold of the Prism of Nezrabi so that he can use its power to hurt Jackson and get rid of him.

Adin decides to come for a visit and after a while admits that he’s having weird experiences as well, as in reverting back to his old vampiric ways. When these strange happenings escalate, which Jackson has been told will destroy the balance of the universe, Jackson knows that he must go into the Prism to save himself, Adin, and the world. But his chances of getting lost in the prism or dying are very high.

OK, umm… wow. K.Z. Snow warned readers that this story is different and that it might not get an overwhelmingly great reception. I myself went through a gambit of feelings while reading it. It started out as wow for me. I was totally turned on and intrigued by this story, the characters, and was very curious where it was going. Then somehow the plot got a bit convoluted to me and I got lost in a quagmire of jumpy world building and POV changes. But it got back on track for me about three quarters of the way through and I couldn’t put it down again.

The good: Jackson. I love Jackson. This is basically all about him and it’s mostly from his POV that this story is told. In this story the focus for him has changed as well. In Obsessed, Adin was the one who had such an intense need to be with Jackson and goes to him. Jackson realized at that time that he was attracted but was very reticent about really going for it, not totally accepting his bisexuality. In this story, the tides have turned and Jackson is longing so deeply for Adin but is still not totally acknowledging it. It’s pushing its way to the surface at every turn though so he can’t ignore it for long.

I’ve noticed lately that I love the reluctant hero; that guy who knows what needs to be done but is “why me?” and “no way, I just want to live my life” resistant, but steps up to the plate anyway. That’s what Jackson is in this story. He’s forced to go through some trials and face personal demons and fears to rise to the challenge of his true wizard capabilities to save the world and face what he feels emotionally to Adin.

He’s so complex as well. When Adin shows up, all of Jackson’s insecurities come up when normally he’s in total control. He’s jealous of Celia, Adin’s girlfriend, jealous of Adin looking at other men, jealous of other men looking at Adin and so on. It’s something foreign as he never felt that with the women he’s had relationships with. He’s also forced to deal with his “gayness,” which he’s been avoiding.

I will say that I loved that K.Z. Snow did not blow off Jackson taking responsibility for what he feels and how he acts. He goes through a major huge personal growth spurt in this story and he’s very much concerned about not pushing Adin to choose, but stays respectful. He’s very conscientious about everyone involved while at the same time grappling with his overwhelming need and desire for Adin, and I totally loved that. He really is an amazing character.

I’m still very curious how it will work out as this story was left open ended, meaning more can come and Celia is still somehow in the picture as she didn’t die or anything and it’s clear that Adin still has strong feelings for her.

The secondary characters are pretty delicious as well in this book. Ivan, who’s supposed to be this evil dude trying to mess with Jackson using his wizardly abilities, is constantly pooing his pants as his plans, which are not well thought out, go awry and the power of the Prism is too much for him to deal with. Mikaela is one deliciously intriguing character as well. She, along with Christy, the intellectually challenged coven high priestess and Ivan’s unwitting lackey, and Bothu, Ivan's freaky necromancer sidekick, add much to this story’s intricacies and entertainment value.

The not so bad: You know, there wasn’t really anything that I can pinpoint in this story that was really bad. Most of it was a very positive experience. The plot and paranormal part of this story got a bit overwhelming at times with so much going on. I didn’t understand, or it wasn’t really explained how the Prism got messed up to begin with or why only beings from Slavic folk lore escaped except that this takes place in Milwaukee, a city founded by Slavic descendants.

And quite often I didn’t see the point of a lot of it until actually towards the end when it does become very clear. But, meh, those issues were minor to Jackson’s growth and his relationship with Adin, so it was easily glossed over

One thing that really did throw me out of the story and which I didn’t get or like was the sudden POV shift with Jackson’s guide in the Prism. Most the book is written in third person, but suddenly shifts to first when this being is talking. It was jarring and a bit confusing to suddenly have first person POV from someone who wasn’t really telling the whole story, or even a big part of the story. But maybe others will like that as it does distinguish between the “real” world and the “Prism” world since Jackson relives some of his “real” personal history in the Prism, which could get confusing.

Altogether, InDescent was a fine, if unusual, read. Yes, it is a bit different. What I liked was that it didn’t really fall into any established paranormal subgenre. It’s a unique and unpredictable story, which was a huge turn on for me. As for characterization, K.Z. Snow has become an author for me who I think writes exceptionally complex and multi faceted characters whom I can’t stop thinking about long after the story is over.

Sex rating: Commando- Oh yeah, smoking hawt, intense m/m lurving in this book.

Grade: B++


K. Z. Snow said...

Again, thank you so much, Leah, for taking the time to read and review one of my books. I've learned from this!

Just a factual correction: Celia was never described as Adin's wife in Obsessed (or in Plagued, the book that precedes it). She's always been his live-in girlfriend.

K. Z. Snow said...

Forgot to add: Jackson and Celia meet again in the next book (not without some preceding difficulties, though) and have quite an interesting private talk.

MB (Leah) said...

K.Z.-- You know, I really don't know how I got the idea that Adin and Celia are married? I'm pretty sure that I even checked that before posting this review because I wanted to make sure and I thought I had found were that was.

I'm very sorry and stand corrected about that. I must be really loosing it! LOL

I will fix the review to reflect that and again, I sincerely apologize.

I appreciate when an author corrects me on an erroneous assumption. Thanks.

And... oh yummy, I can't wait to read the next installment of as Jackson's World Turns. :)

Sarah said...

Beautifully written review as always! Honest, interesting and nicely put together. Blog is looking nice too!!

MB (Leah) said...

Hey Sarah! Thanks. It's a good book, loved it and so complex. And yeah, I'm messing with my blog.