Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Arrivals by Melissa Marr

Published: July 2nd, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 274
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

The Arrivals is the second novel for adults by internationally bestselling author Melissa Marr.

Chloe walks into a bar and blows five years of sobriety. When she wakes, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world, The Wasteland. She discovers people from all times and places have also arrived there: Kitty and Jack, a brother and sister from the Wild West; Edgar, a prohibition bootlegger; Francis, a one-time hippie; Melody, a mentally unbalanced 1950s housewife; and Hector, a former carnival artist.

None know why they arrived there--or if there is way out of a world populated by monsters and filled with corruption.

Just as she did in Graveminder, Marr has created a vivid fantasy world that will enthrall. Melissa Marr's The Arrivals is a thoroughly original and wildly imagined tale about making choices in a life where death is unpredictable and often temporary.

The Arrivals was a really welcome change from what I've been reading lately.  Very hard to pigeonhole, it is a bit of a space-operatic romance.  Not urban fantasy, but more like an alternate universe western, with magic and mayhem.  In many ways it reminded me of the TV show Firefly, which I absolutely adored (curse the networks that cancelled it after only 12 episodes.), but with wormholes instead of spaceships.

The Wasteland is a well thought out world populated by beings that, at best, bear only some small resemblance to humans.  I loved the insect like bloedzuiger, Garuda in particular, with their very strong sense of protocol.  With traces of vampire-like tendencies (bloedzuiger means blood sucker), their alien shape and strict moral code was very intriguing.

Jack, Kitty, Chloe and Edgar are nicely developed and in a short while I became very fond of them.  You can't help feeling sorry for Chloe, who is thrust into this totally alien environment, with no real instructions about how to behave, or what to expect.  Ms. Marr has her making decisions from her gut - she really doesn't know what's going on, but it feels right.  I must admit that Ajani - the bad guy in this scenario - had a wonderful sense of mystery to him.  The reader knows more about him than the characters, but there were still a few surprises.  Add in this wonderful fact that the characters can die but don't stay dead, yet are in no way zombies, and you have this amazing twist to the story that adds a completely different feel to things. 

I really enjoyed The Arrivals.  It was a very satisfying, fairly quick  read that concluded in one volume.  While I really hope that Ms. Marr will revisit this world, I am satisfied that everything was finished up neatly.  Although not a YA book, I can see no reason why older teens wouldn't enjoy it, but there is some sexual content that make it unsuitable for younger teens. If you're looking for a bit of a change of pace, try The Arrivals, it might surprise you.

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