- File Size: 1945 KB
- Print Length: 1157 pages
- Publisher: A Red Hot Romance Novel (September 12, 2013)
- Publication Date: September 12, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00F64A1YK
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,683 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Last Hour of Gann Kindle Edition
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In the second section, we meet a man of the alien world, Meoraq, who is a kind of traveling warrior/monk/judge. Through Meoraq, we see the world he lives in, a harsh pre-industrial world where the skies are always cloudy, and - as you soon come to suspect - the culture may be the tattered remnants of one that suffered a great catastrophe. When Meoraq, who is very devout, sees what he believes is a sign from God, telling him to go on a pilgrimage, he soon stumbles on the shambling human survivors, and becomes their unwilling and super-grumpy protector. He and Amber slowly learn to communicate, and Meoraq can't help but become involved in her life, and vice-versa, as they continue on his pilgrimage together. (If you are imagining this as full of cute moments and him magically producing hot baths for her in the wilderness: NO. This is gritty and real, survival by the skin of their teeth.)
Pros: First of all, this book made me totally, 100% believe that Amber fell in love with a dude who looks like a lizard, and vice versa. I mean, I BELIEVED it. And this is not the kind of book where the alien is slightly alien but mostly really hunky, either. Meoraq has a snout and scales. Amber initially looks, to him, like she has multiple deformities. They are not especially physically attractive to each other - even by the end, they can still see the ways in which their species have very different bodies - so the author is selling you on a meeting of souls. And the souls are meeting in an unimaginably harsh setting, and having to learn to communicate across a language barrier, a species barrier, a barrier of religion - everything. So this is no mean feat, that by the end I understand that they have found and forged a great love between them. I'd go so far as to say that this is one of the only books I've read in recent memory where the author is able to authentically show two people falling in love - not tell me, show me. By the end, Amber and Meoraq were completely real people to me.
Second, the characters and world-building are incredible. Spending as much time with Meoraq as you do before he meets Amber lets you understand the shape of his moral universe in a way that drives the emotional and theological climax of the story hundreds of pages later. I don't want to give any of that away, but whether you are an atheist or a believer, I think you will be moved.
Third, I loved reading something that had a really crisp adventure plot and wasn't "just romance". You could basically take out the romance scenes between Amber and Meoraq and still have an incredible sci-fi novel. That says something, to me, about the quality of the writing.
Fourth, the prose is lovely.
Fifth: Amber is a Survivor with an uppercase S. Her character is incredible. She gets beaten down (metaphorically and literally) over and over, but her drive to survive is unstoppable. There were so many moments in the story where I thought "Surely now she'll just want to give up", but Amber is driven to go on, to make it, to live another day. She is also initially a kind of unlikeable character, at least in the sense that you totally understand why other people find her abrasive. It was so interesting and refreshing to read about someone who is the opposite of the "I need saving" kind of heroine. I mean, even when Amber does need saving, she is still the captain of her own fate as much as possible.
Cons: There are so few! I want to say here that when I read about this book initially on review blogs, I felt kinda worried by all the "Trigger warning for rape!" stuff, and "There is a lot of nonconsensual stuff and it's really brutal!" and so on. Also, from reading about this book in reviews, I got the impression that it was a kind of very dark sci-fi erotica/romance. And I think that is... well, I think that's not right. I think this book is basically right on the cusp of serious literary sci-fi (you can quibble about whether or not it truly falls in that category, or if it, uh, is too well-plotted for that) but either way I think that pitching it as dark sci-fi romance is not the whole story. I'd say that this is more of a space opera (I mean that in the best way) with a strong romance plot, and heavy theological overtones.
And I have problems with unresolved non-consensual sex storylines, like many people, and also I am a grumpy feminist, and I can say honestly that this book did not use ethically dubious sex to titillate. Or at least I did not find it to be that way. In fact, I'd say that I did not find the sex especially titillating in general, which is not meant as a criticism. It was more that any sex felt very much like it was integral to the story, and integral to Meoraq's journey from hyper-devout warrior/monk/judge to the person he is at the end of the story.
The bottom line: I try not to give five stars freely. For me, five stars is not "This was really good". Five stars is more like "This book moved me deeply and I think about it frequently after finishing it."
So for me, giving this book five stars kind of holds some weight. I don't know what other praise I can give it, except to close with saying that one of my all-time favorite authors is the great Ursula Le Guin, writer of literary, character-driven sci-fi, and I would rank "The Last Hour of Gann" with some of her works. If you've ever read The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, this reminded me a good deal of that, dealing with similar themes of theology, God's love or non-existence, faith in the face of truly immense challenges, and cross-cultural exchange.
This book was SO GOOD I feel confused about how it seems to have gotten grouped with "romance", which naturally can tend to make romance readers feel like - but wait, where is the romance? Why is there so much violence and raping? While meanwhile the more hardcore sci-fi fans aren't finding it, because space romance is not their thing. And I feel like that's a shame, because man, this is a good book. A great book. If you have read and enjoyed literary sci-fi like Le Guin, The Sparrow, and James Tiptree, I think you might want to give this a try!
Amber Bierce's mother is dead. Not that she was much of a mother to Amber or her little sister, Nicci, but now they're being evicted from their apartment. Options are few and Amber signs herself and Nicci up for a five year contract on a maiden voyage to colonize a new planet. Of course things don't go as planned and the planet they crash into is not their original destination. Things can't possibly get any worse, and then of course they do, and Amber and her sister are left with a small band of humans to try to survive on this unknown planet.
Uyane Meoraq - a Sheulek and Sword of Sheul, is a priest-type warrior who's main focus is to mete out judgement to lawbreakers (usually death) and settle disputes (usually by killing one of the parties). He's been out visiting various cities for the last year, settling disputes and praying, and is planning on journeying home when he sees a fire in the sky and knows it's a sign for him to travel instead to the temple of Xi'Xheoth where he hopes to hear the voice of Sheul (God). Little does he know how long this pilgrimage will last or how much it will change him.
My thoughts are so jumbled up about this book; I have no idea where to begin. I first heard about The Last Hour of Gann on twitter, and was looking for something different, so I looked up reviews on Goodreads. There weren't many, but the first thing to pop up was an enthusiastic review from Jill Myles. After reading that, I knew I had to read this book. I've got to tell you, I am on a pretty strict book budget and wouldn't normally pay $6.50 for an ebook by a new-to-me author, but it's a really, really long book so I took the chance. All I can say is, "Yay for taking chances!"
What is so awesome about The Last Hour of Gann, you ask? Oh, so many things! (I had written down notes to use in my review, but I lost them, so my apologies if this is all over the place) As I mention in my PJV Quickie, the story is epic. Ultimately, it's a beautiful love story, but the journey is full of anger, hope, betrayal, despair and perseverance. The hero is a lizard man and the heroine is human, and they are both kind of wierded out by the other's appearance. The way that they fall in love is so well written, it takes it's time and builds so slowly that the characters are surprised when they realize it's happened. It's sweet and touching and wonderful.
As I was trying to describe the story to my husband, I told him it reminded me of several books: First, Lord of the Flies by William Golding - the similarities are obvious as the crash survivors are trying to create a colony and the struggles for dominance that go along with that. (The characters themselves discuss this similarity in the book). I was also reminded of Steven King's Dark Tower series - the physical descriptions of the land and the religious imagery and rituals of the planet natives had the feel of this series. Also, it kind of reminded me a bit of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Really, you say? I know, but bear with me... Amber, our heroine, is on a postapocalyptic planet full of abandoned cities and run-down machines and she is from a time where people used machines. She knows more about technology than the planet's inhabitants, who are primitive and have a society based on survival and strength. She doesn't understand the rules of society and it puts her in danger.
Now, on that last note, be warned that there is rape in this story, and it's not glossed over. It's painful to read. At the beginning of the book, even our hero engages in it as part of his religion/culture, and I didn't like that at all. But it's part of the story and the end will make the reader's journey worth it. Every single word: Part of what I love about the story is Meoraq's journey from beginning to end - he was such a rigid character at first, then he meets the humans and they test him at every step of his pilgrimage (if he had a dime for every time he had to stop and draw six breaths to calm down...). By the middle of the book Meoraq had won me over, and by the end of the book there was a special place in my heart for a certain lizard man.
I thought Amber was a great heroine - she wasn't wimpy, didn't put up with anyone's shit, and even when it looked like there was no way things could get better, she doesn't give up and she fights for what she believes in. The secondary characters were wonderful foils for both Amber and Meoraq and, at times, rage-inducing. So much of this book brought out so many feels for me. Besides the relationships, the suspense as they journey across Gann was physically affecting me and I wanted to read faster to see what was happening but also wanted to turn away because I just knew something awful was going to happen.
Just in case you haven't figured it out yet, there are sexytimes in this book - between a lizard man and a human. But don't let that turn you away from a great story. Seriously, it's so well done, you forget, because you're focused on the story and the characters and by the time it sneaks up on you, you're really hoping it's going to happen.
(I'd also like to add that I read Heat after finishing The Last Hour of Gann. If you read Heat first and are hesitant to read The Last Hour of Gann - they're totally different. Heat reads more like Natural Born Killers where Gann is more like The Dark Tower. So very different.)
This book is going to be hard to peg - I think fans of romance, sci-fi, and maybe general fiction will enjoy The Last Hour of Gann. It's a genuinely interesting story that happens to have some steamy scenes in it, not the other way around.
Most recent customer reviews
It's long. But that's how you get a good character build. I loved that the author took time to introduce the Heroine AND the hero.Read more