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Crucible Zero: A House Immortal Novel Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2015
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Praise for the House Immortal Novels
“Devon Monk’s writing is addictive.”—Rachel Vincent, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Stars Never Rise
“[Monk is] a powerhouse.”—A Book Obsession
“Original and intriguing.”—All Things Urban Fantasy
“House Immortal brings Frankenstein into a new world, and Devon Monk puts it together excellently!”—Drey’s Library
“An excellent story. Devon Monk is incredible at weaving a tale that makes the reader excited, crazy and astonished all at the same time.”—Fiction Vixen
About the Author
Devon Monk has one husband and two sons, and lives in Oregon. She writes the Allie Beckstrom and Broken Magic urban fantasy series and the Age of Steam steampunk series. She also drinks too much coffee and knits silly things. To find out more about her novels or short stories, visit her online.
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Infinity Bell ended with a bang, literally, and also left Matilda Case in an alternate world, as going back in time and changing events is wont to do. Crucible Zero pretty much picks up right after Matilda wakes.
In this world, all those that Matilda love and care for seem to be alive and…well they’re alive. The differences being that the galvanized body Matilda inhabits in this time remained Evelyn Case, Matilda’s personality and mind never “woke up” after her brother Quentin transferred them. Naturally, Quentin is surprised when the sister he’s grown up with is suddenly gone and Tilly is in her place. Also, in this world, the galvanized are murderers and mercenaries. A far cry from the heroes they are considered in the original timeline. So, yes, that means Tilly’s Abraham is also not the same person that she loves. But is this new Abraham beyond redemption?
Tilly has to put that aside and deal with the main problem at hand. It seems as though her travels through time didn’t correct all that it should and Tilly finds herself experiencing various time ripples where she is in both the new world and the original world. Things get even worse when she discovers Slater Orange (evil head of House Orange who, in House Immortal, got himself transferred over to a galvanized body) has also traveled through time. He remembers all the things Matilda has done to thwart him and he’s looking for revenge (along with world domination).
Devon Monk was pretty bold ending Infinity Bell the way she did and then planning on having everything wrapped up in Crucible Zero, which is the last book in this trilogy. There’s a lot going on and a lot to get finished. Add the fact that all the characters, minus Matilda, are basically new versions of themselves, meaning readers have to learn to like these characters again, and you’ve got a full plate. True, some of their more inherent traits blend over to the new world but said traits aren’t immediately apparent.
For example, Tilly and Quentin’s relationship is strained largely due to the fact that she’s not the sister he grew up with. Evelyn was more complacent than Tilly and Quentin is having a difficult time processing that fact for all that he still loves Tilly.
Then there’s Tilly and Abraham. She immediately notices all the differences between her Abraham and this ‘new’ one. But she can’t forget the love she felt (feels) for him either. She struggles through the majority of the book trying to figure out if she could love this new version of him.
Ever practical though, Matilda doesn’t let her lovelorn feelings get in the way of the big plan: kill Slater Orange. I loved that Matlida could separate these things and remain levelheaded, but because her feelings for Abraham are still important, Monk did great in making time for Matilda to ruminate on her feelings without them overshadowing the big picture.
Overall, this has been a very strong trilogy. There were some little details I felt were glossed over because the plot was so fast-paced. I don’t know if this could have been corrected with slowing things down a bit and adding another book or not. As it goes, those things will be left up to reader conjecture and sometimes that’s okay too. The main plot threads were all tied up and Crucible Zero left me smiling at the end.
Urban fantasy involves placing fantastic or paranormal features in a modern setting. The House Immortal trilogy places fantastic creatures-- the Galvanized-- into a "normal" fantasy world, requiring Ms. Monk to create both the fantasy and the fantastic, so to speak.
She is skilled at world building. Here, she creates two similar timelines, two separate yet overlapping worlds, and (with the exception of the protagonist), the characters of the book twice each, differentiated by their having come up in slightly different worlds. It's remarkable for the genre, and Monk stitches it together beautifully.
Warning: Spoilers for the first two books!
Full of action and drama, CRUCIBLE ZERO is a satisfying conclusion to the House Immortal. However, if you have not read the first two books in the series, I would not recommend CRUCIBLE ZERO as one to just pick up.
CRUCIBLE ZERO follows in the footsteps of the first two House Immortal books, starring Matilda Case, with the same crew of characters, but since her return from going back in time, everything is flipped on its head. The world and characters we thought we knew have completely changed. Despite this new landscape, the previous "time stream" was referenced enough, along with the events that led to the creation of the world Matilda found herself in, that I was mighty confused at the beginning of the book. There was just a lot going on - and with a new world to learn, and most characters completely changed it was at times, a frustrating experience.
But once I got into the flow of things, I was really invested. I got to feel the new fluttery feelings with Matilda when she interacted with Abraham, and the surprise when the people who were previously familiar to her were different than she knew. It was an interesting experience, something I'm not sure I've ever had happen in a book or series of books.
I would recommend the House Immortal series to anyone who is a fan of post-apocalyptic, science fiction or time travel stories. There's a lot to like in this trilogy, and the ending is definitely worth it.