3 out of 4 stars
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Immortality enables one to gain as much knowledge and accumulate as much wealth as he wants. However, despite all the perks that come with it, immortality is not always that convenient. And in Price of Life, author David Crane further explores both the good and bad sides of immortality.
Twelve thousand years ago a treacherous attack from enemy warriors annihilated Ru’s tribe. He was the only survivor and would have perished together with his tribe, if not for the blessing sent by the gods. As Ru tried to escape from the enemies, a meteorite crashed onto the ground. Encased in this meteorite was an immeasurable power, the power of immortality. And when Ru held the meteorite, he became the very first immortal—the ‘Magnus Prime.’ Ru also gained the power to steal a human’s life essence and consume it for his own benefit or use it to heal other humans.
Today, Ru and his descendants are living with mortals, blending secretly within the society. And when a group of mortals and immortals threaten mankind, Ru and his descendants now need to fulfill their duties and prevent the bleak future that awaits all.
Price of Life depicts the lives of various immortals and the mortals they happen to interact with. The book also discusses some of the characters’ difficult pasts as they witness the darkest moments of history, such as the World Wars. In every chapter, a character and his past or present experiences are portrayed. The book starts off like a set of separate parallel threads, never touching each other. And it is fascinating to read how and when these threads—the lives of the characters—start to intertwine. Please note that patience is needed to read this book as the pacing is a bit slow in the earlier chapters. The multiple perspectives will also start making sense in later parts of the book, so you’d have to endure the shifting points of view for a while.
This book presents a paranormal fiction story, layered with historical facts and topped with a sprinkle of romance. Any fan of paranormal stories and historical fiction would definitely enjoy this. The romance is not a big factor in the narrative and only serves as a side story. The book also contains a lot of references to historical events, such as the Holocaust and the Cold War. Moreover, there are some fights scenes, so expect scenes depicting violence, torture, and death. If you are not fond of these, then it’s best not to read this book.
Price of Life will definitely make readers ponder on certain ethical issues. The immortals, at least the ‘good’ ones, have a code wherein they are only allowed to take the life force of evil humans. They can even opt to kill these evil humans if they wish. This now leads to the debate whether immortality immediately makes one superior to others. The author also offers criticisms on some political constructs that readers can argue for or against.
The book features an ensemble of remarkable characters. Some of the immortal characters include the traveling musician Laura who fell in love with a mortal, the brilliant financial consultant Dina who has the gift of foresight, and the Holocaust victim turned Nazi-hunter Rachel. With these intriguing characters, I understand the author’s desire to recount all his characters’ stories. But as much as I enjoyed most of the characters’ flashbacks, there are some back stories I think the book could do without. Or perhaps, since the book is subdivided into three parts, the author could have left the recollections in the first part only. Sudden flashbacks tend to hamper the story’s pacing, especially toward the end when the climax was already starting to build up.
Moreover, as much as I enjoy stories with historical references, the author’s narrative was a bit too factual and plain at certain points. I felt like I was reading an excerpt from a history book instead of a historical fiction story. Nonetheless, this only occurred in a few parts of the narrative and not all throughout the book.
Due to the entertaining premise, notable characters, and well-researched historical facts, I am giving Price of Life 3 out of 4 stars. The book is also very well-written with just a few typos and one pronoun error. If only half points were allowed, I would have gladly given this book 3.5 stars.
Price of Life
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