Friday, April 08, 2011

Emilie: Avatar – Review

Author: Alan Lawson

First Published: 2010

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: In the sequel to Emilie Undead, the worlds of science and the supernatural clash once again, as the vampire Emilie Hailsham’s war against the technocratic Inner Circle takes on a new dimension.

Enlightenment may be the only way to escape extinction…

The review: When I reviewed Alan Lawson’s debut novel I admitted that I had met the author socially and that caveat, obviously, still applies. The trouble with befriending folks within the genre is it makes me nervous about reviewing their art, nervous that readers might suspect me of being overly generous in my critique and, equally, nervous that any negativity might offend.

The bottom line is that I can only be honest.

In the last review I declared that Lawson performed a literary coup d'état as he led us from a genteel phantasmagoria and suddenly threw us into a excellently realised science fiction setting. In this case, whilst at least one of the settings seems ordinary, with a tantalising tinge of the extraordinary lurking between paragraphs, we know we are in a science fiction realm and – we would guess – a virtual construct.

That, in itself, is not a spoiler – though any further revelation as to the nature of the construct would be. So, let it be enough for me to say that we have something that owes a genre debt to the works of William Gibson, with a hint of seasoning owed (self admittedly, within the text) to the Matrix. Let it also be known that Lawson has created (what I’m convinced is) a wholly new vampire lore concept, which I just cannot spoil but can say is a natural extension of a certain aspect of current lore and works brilliantly. It put a big old smile on my face when I read it.

I also think the writing style, whilst hardly weak in the first book, has strengthened and the book flows so very nicely. This is a great entry into the realm of science fiction vampires and is recommended. 8 out of 10.

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