For those of you who have still not read something by Rhiannon Frater, you are missing out. She writes riveting tales that keep me glued to the pages. Rhiannon excels at apocalyptic/dystopian type reads, and this newest book is no exception. I couldn't put it down. I am pleased to be hosting a stop on The Mesmerized Tour today. Before we get to my review and the giveaways, let me take a minute to reintroduce Rhiannon:
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels.
She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets).
She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes. You can find Rhiannon on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google + and Pinterest.
The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater
It is silence, not screams of terror, which proclaims the end of the world…
Minji Nordim is vacationing in Las Vegas with her small family when she witnesses the beginning of a terrifying apocalypse. When humanity is transformed into mindless drones by a terrifying supernatural event only Minji appears to be immune.
Thousands die instantly, but the other affected people are drawn to the Nevada desert. Nothing stands in the way of the mesmerized. Not fire, not heights, not rubble. As the bodies pile in the streets and the relentless wave of the mesmerized plods into the deadly desert, Minji is trapped in a burning city attempting to rescue her family.
When Minji encounters other unaffected survivors, they band together to survive in a city that is crumbling all around them. With no hope of rescue and the event slowly spreading across the world, Minji and the others must decide who to save among the mesmerized and where to go before the city is in ashes.
Even more unsettling is that Minji senses that the force behind the event is observing them…
Can one woman save her family and the world?
Listing on Publisher Website
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Four and a half stars: A riveting and terrifying apocalyptic tale with a twist.
Minji corals her precocious five year old daughter, Ava, while she waits for her husband to return with their infant daughter, Bailey. The family is finishing up their vacation in Las Vegas and looking forward to doing some sight seeing today. As they head out of The Venetian Casino, something terrifying happens. An inexplicable wave of pain hits everyone, causing blindness, immobility and for some bleeding and death. Once the initial wave passes, Minji assesses the situation. Her little family is okay, but they are surrounded by scenes of horror. Jake suggest they head back to their hotel room and hole up, but before they can get there, another wave hits. This time Jake, Ava, and everyone else are left dazed and unmoving...mesmerized. Minji seems to be immune, and it is up to her to save her family. Little does Minji know, she will soon be tasked with saving the world. What or who is behind the sinister attacks? Can Minji save the world?
What I Liked:
- Okay, I admit I was a bit hesitant to go into this one because it is December and I am in the mood for light, fluffy, and feel good. I wasn't sure I could handle blood, guts, and horror. No worries, once I picked this one up, after the first chapter, I was glued. This was a riveting and thrilling tale with terrific suspense and mystery. It was a fascinating and terrifying read that kept me guessing until the end. I loved it. I highly recommend this one.
- I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the strange attacks. Wave after wave of the excruciating, nauseating pain keeps hitting humanity, extending its reach with each new attack. People immediately become mindless, zombie like creatures, pulled to walk in the same direction. Where are they headed and why? They are injured, dying even, but they rise up and walk in unison to some unknown destination. Creepy right? A few people are immune to the attacks, like Minji. Those left are desperately trying to save their loved ones. I was itching to uncover what was beyond the attacks, and when I finally found out, I was shocked. Loved all the suspense and the big reveal was a jaw dropper.
- Minji was easy to identify with. She is a fighter, a girl who has endured hardship during her life. She knows how to get up, brush the dust off and keep going. Not only did I love her fierceness and determination, but I also appreciated that she is of mixed heritage. Minji is half Korean, and covered in tattoos and she has purple dreads. However, underneath her tough girl exterior is a kind, tender heart that will do anything to protect her family. My heart ached for her as she fought to save her daughters and husband. As a mother, I could totally identify with what she endured. What I loved the most though was the way she handled the situation at the end, her compassion and bravery made a huge difference.
- Along with Minji is an interesting and eclectic mix of secondary characters. You get Arthur, who is the suspicious, antagonistic and recalcitrant naysayer. He is a huge pain in the ass, and he gets worse as the book goes on. He is the one who is always stirring up trouble. Yet, Minji sees beyond his horrible behavior and she realizes why he's behaving badly. Jessie the nurse practitioner is an all around good guy, and I love how he was so altruistic while facing such horrific circumstances. Simone is also likable with her big heart, and willingness to help. Then add in Alec. He is a bit of a mystery at first, but he plays a crucial role, and I liked peeling back his layers and understanding him. All in all an interesting and entertaining cast.
- Since this is a horror/apocalyptic type read I was expecting zombies and blood and gore, but I was surprised that this was different. This one had shades of Stephen King, and what I got was an original and creepy little book. This isn't a zombie book and there isn't a lot of blood and guts, there are scenes of death and destruction but nothing that was too graphic. I thought it was the perfect blend of horror and suspense. This is a book once you start you won't be able to put down as you will want to know the truth.
- The ending delivers with a climatic and terrifying scene that reveals all. Shudders..... then the epilogue ties up the loose ends, but it leaves one big, nagging, jaw dropping line that leaves you on edge. This appears to be a stand alone, and I loved that I got the full story and wasn't left wondering and worrying. For those of you looking for a solid stand alone, get this one.
And The Not So Much:
- This is probably just me, but I felt like it took a tiny bit too long for the story to take off. Frater takes her time introducing Minji and her family. I appreciated the details, but I was on edge waiting for the apocalyptic event to strike. It finally hits around the twenty page mark. Once it does, I never looked back. I think it was a case of me just wanting the big, bad event to arrive, and I was impatient.
- As the devastation unfolds, there are these snippets in between of other people experiencing the event throughout the country. When the view point shifts to these random characters, it was a bit jarring, and at first, I thought I was meeting new players, but nope, they are just quick random glimpses to show the devastation. I didn't care for these interjections, even though I realize they were inserted to help illustrate a point. At least, there is a follow up on them at the end.
- I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't clearer as to how the attacks radiated out. I pictured them as giant circular waves extending outward like a bomb blast. Yet, I still didn't understand the timing, how frequent were the hits? How far did they extend each time? Furthermore, once the source was revealed, I was still a bit confused as to how some people were immune and why. Were they immune to both or just one? Not clear on that part. Why were some immune and then suddenly not? I am not sure on that.
The Mesmerized was a creepy, apocalyptic tale with a strange twist. I loved uncovering the source of the attacks and following Minji, a brave mother, who fought to save her family and the world. Once I picked this one up, I didn't want to put it down as I was sucked into the terrifying, suspenseful story. For those of you who enjoy a good apocalyptic tale and want something different, grab this one immediately. I loved it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
As part of the tour, I am able to offer you a crack at the grand prize: a signed hardcopy of The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater. To enter please fill out the Rafflecopter below. Please note, this giveaway is not hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings, and I will not be responsible for distributing the prize.
Rhiannon is graciously allowing me to host an individual giveaway for a chance to win an Kindle (mobi) copy of The Mesmerized. To enter fill out the Rafflecopter after reading the Contest Policies. Good Luck!
Finally, if I haven't convinced you yet how awesome this book is, check out this short excerpt:
Excerpt from The Mesmerized
“Okay, the tigers are at The Mirage. So that’s our first stop,” Jake decided. “Then we can head to the Hard Rock. I want a t-shirt from there.”
Minji looped the end of the leash a few times around her wrist before taking Ava’s hand. “Perfect. Let’s get this show on the road.”
“It’s really crowded right now, so everyone stay close. I’m looking at you, Ava.”
Ava gave her father a plaintive look while tugging on her leash. “I can’t run away!”
“Good! I’d like my little girl to not go splat in the road.”
Minji winced at the memory of her daughter dodging into the road to greet Jake when he’d returned from an evening run. Luckily their neighbor had seen her in time and jerked her car onto someone else’s lawn, avoiding Ava completely. The mere idea of losing any of her family was enough to make Minji sick to her stomach.
Shoving negative thoughts away, Minji kept in her husband’s wake as he threaded through the crowd toward the escalators that descended from either side of the waterfall. The atrium loomed ahead filled with bright sunlight that reflected off the creamy walls and pillars.
The first sign that something was wrong came when her brain was assailed with what felt like millions of cold needles burrowing into the gray matter. With a whimper, Minji pressed her fingertips to her temples in a futile attempt to stave off the pain. Then the sensation intensified.
Screams echoed through the vast resort in a horrifying chorus. All around her, people flailed about, or gripped their heads in their hands. Jake grunted and stumbled as Bailey let out a shrill cry. Woozy, Minji reached for her screaming baby just as another stab of unbearable agony tore through her brain, blinding her. Rapidly blinking her eyes, she desperately attempted to restore her sight.
“Mommy! Mommy!” Ava wailed. “Mommy, my head hurts! I can’t see!”
Howls of agony reverberated through the mall corridors. Minji tugged on the child leash, dragging Ava into her arms. Unable to see, she clutched her daughter close. Paralyzing fear churned in her gut. The pain diminished, but the blindness remained.
“I’m right here.” A familiar, warm hand floundered against her back then found her shoulder. “I’m right here, hon. I got you.”
Again there was a flash of icy discomfort, then the world returned to sharp focus. To Minji’s horror, blood streamed down the faces of some of the shoppers close to her. Bubbles of the rich liquid formed in their eyes, noses, and ran from their lips. Swaying slightly, the bleeders stared blankly past the faces of their frightened companions. Minji swiftly checked Ava, Bailey and Jake. None of them were bleeding. Lifting Ava onto her hip, Minji pressed against Jake’s side.
“Jake, are you okay?”
“My head is killing me,” he answered. “Check the baby.”
“She’s not bleeding, just crying. What the hell is happening?”
“I don’t know. Keep Ava close!” Jake wrapped his arms around his wife, pulling her toward the far wall.
Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour. See the schedule here.