3 out of 4 stars
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What if you had the ability to live forever? What if there were others around you that were not given that ability? What if those that lived a natural life served those with immortality? Having been blessed with immortality, would you live out your life in happiness never questioning why you were one of the chosen? Or would you perhaps try to find a way to grant everyone this never ending life?
Those are some of the questions in The Girl from Avignon by Bradley S. Compton and Praveen V. Arla. Ansley is a scientist working in the Institute. He is one of the lucky few that receives nanocyte treatments to keep him alive and healthy. Though outwardly he appears to be only 35, he is in fact much older. The Overseers control who receives the nanocyte treatments and thus control everything. Ansley is unhappy that there are only a select few who are able to obtain immortality. He has been developing a way to change all of this.
Arian is a young professor at The Institute. He idolizes Ansley as one of the most brilliant scientists to ever exist. When Ansley approaches Arian about helping in this project, he is intrigued. However, he is happy in his life. He enjoys being a professor and does not want to buck the system. Will Ansley be able to convince him that this is a gift best shared by all?
The first thing that I would say about this novel is that the premise is very intriguing. Those that are not graced with eternal life (and have not been specifically created by The Institute) are known as Natural Borns. Natural Borns exist merely to serve those with eternal life. This is a theme that has been explored many times, but these authors put their own unique spin on the story.
I will say that the science in the novel was overwhelming for me. The authors do a good job at making these fictional ideas seem like something that could be realistic. There is a great deal of scientific explanation included in parts of the novel. I admit that, for me, this simply caused my eyes to glaze over as I went into a kind of daze. I appreciated the fact that the authors were trying to make this seem plausible (and I know that there are those who will enjoy this), but it didn't add much for me.
The characters were quite realistic. As in life, there were some that I enjoyed and some that I didn't like quite so much. I think the thing that I found most intriguing is that the bad guys weren't necessarily all bad and neither were the good guys all good. The authors almost seem to blur the line between good and bad in their characters. While I knew which side I stood on, I empathized with characters on both sides. This is the mark of great characterization, in my opinion.
The plot of the novel moved along at a steady pace. I wasn't on the edge of my seat the whole time, but I didn't find myself bored either. This is one of those rare novels that I believe had a happy medium between the two. It also manages to build to a climax that makes you want to keep reading.
The ending, however, left much to be desired; it was a cliffhanger. I tried to find information on whether this was planned as a series, but I found nothing on OBC or Amazon. I hope that the authors are planning to continue the story. If not, there will be a lot of disappointed people out there once they reach the end of this novel.
In the end, I rated The Girl from Avignon 3 out of 4 stars. I felt that the story was good, the characters were lifelike, and the pacing was steady. The cliffhanger ending kept it from getting the last star. I also feel that I must issue a warning that there are adult situations and graphic violence in this novel. Therefore, it would not be suitable for a younger audience. Still, I would recommend it to those that enjoy a good dystopian, rebellious read and don't mind having to imagine your own ending.
The Girl from Avignon
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