Title: Green Death
Author: Madeleine Ribbon
Length: 394 Pages
Category: Alt U/Dystpoian
At a Glance: Green Death is fast paced and smart, the tension and trials are complemented by the intrigue and betrayal, and the sharp dialogue adds to everything that worked for me in this book along with the premise, the desire to right wrongs and to find redemption, and the simple promise of good triumphing over evil.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: For ninety years, the Exclusion Zone has been walled off from the rest of the country. The neighborhood—once a hotbed of political revolution—is now crumbling. Poison from the great catastrophe still hangs in the air. It taints every living thing that breathes it in. It causes rages, great bursts of violence that can’t be controlled. And that makes living within the walls incredibly difficult. But the descendants of the catastrophe survive, and the resistance hasn’t died.
As poison master to the Oligarch, Tryg Sant knows a lot of things others shouldn’t. But when he discovers his family’s darkest secret, his brother tries to kill him.
When Tryg’s lover pushes him out of a helicopter and into the Exclusion Zone, Tryg finds himself trapped in a dangerous new world, entirely different from the one he expects. Now he has to learn to survive nearly-feral humans and his own disintegrating mind. Luckily, he’s found an ally in Riot, a potential lover and one of the victims of the Green Death…
Review: At some point in the future, democracy falls and the government is overtaken by the Oligarchs who seized power and have since held their seats as the ruling party of what used to be the United States. The Sant family’s rule goes back several generations, passed down from father to son. But for as long as the Oligarchy has stood, so has the resistance. A revolution is coming. For poison master Tryg Sant, it will be a time of reckoning and betrayal. And, ultimately, of making restitution.
Author Madeleine Urban has created a dystopian landscape in her latest novel Green Death, and it is fantastic. Forsaken by his own flesh and blood, beaten to a bloody pulp, and then jettisoned from an air transport into enemy territory by his brother’s bodyguard/assassin—and the man who fucks Tryg when he feels the urge—Arris, Tryg comes face to face with the consequences of a poison developed by his great-grandfather years before, in a place known only as the exclusion zone where the Green Death causes the infected to succumb to violent rages when triggered. Urban’s imagination flourishes in the creation of this world where some humans are overcome by their baser animalistic instincts, but there is a community known as the disciplined who have worked hard to manage, if not fully contain, their rages, knowing what their triggers are, what the warning signs of an oncoming rage are, and if not being able to meditate through them, to isolate in rage rooms until they are in control again. This is Tryg’s new world order and what passes for civilization inside the walls of the exclusion zone.
The wild are the feral danger that lurks ‘out there’ in the zone, and they are precisely what their name conjures. On the occasion that Tryg encounters the wild, the scenes give readers the full scope of how dangerous his life now is, and how much his knowledge of the exclusion zone was shaped by a media slant that doesn’t give the people of Eastrend an honest account of life among those known as the Greenies. This story shows how the human condition allows for adaptation to fit the society these people have created, and how, although they’ve learned to manage and cope with the little they have, they are not thriving. Loving, intimate relationships aren’t the norm unless two people’s rages are compatible, and while Tryg had already determined he was going to find an antidote to the Green Death even before he was dumped into the exclusion zone, he becomes even more determined to do so when he meets a healer called Riot.
Riot has never known life outside the exclusion zone, but Tryg’s arrival has triggered something in Riot, something more than his rage. Riot longs for a relationship but has never allowed himself to hope for one because of the nature of his rages. He would rather keep Tryg at arm’s length than risk hurting him, even if it means they can’t be together in a meaningful way. The denial and longing add to the slow simmer of what they want versus what they can have, and I love how their growing friendship drew out alongside Tryg’s race to find the antidote that would not only reverse the effects of the Green Death but would also allow he and Riot to be together. Tryg has never had anyone who was his own, and I wanted him to have that with Riot. That want was made sharper when betrayal and danger struck once again.
Green Death is a standalone novel in a solidly built alternate world with characters who enriched the story as well as the sense of place. The writing is fast paced and smart, the tension and trials are complemented by the intrigue and betrayal and, in the end, while I wouldn’t categorized this as a genre romance, per se—if I’m being honest, I liked the book for so much more than the building of Tryg and Riot’s relationship—their happily ever after is clear and present. Sharp dialogue adds to everything that worked for me in this book along with the premise, the desire to right wrongs and to find redemption, and the simple promise of good triumphing over evil.
You can buy Green Death here:
[zilla_button url=”http://books2read.com/GreenDeath” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon & Other Booksellers [/zilla_button]