Monday, April 22, 2013

Khe - Alexes Razevich

    2012; 285 pages.  New Author? : Yes.  .  Genre :  Dystopian Fantasy; YA.  Overall Rating : 7½*/10.

    What’s wrong with Khe?  While all of her sisters are getting hot and bothered (literally) on Resonance Day, nary an ounce of excitement stirs within her.  And unless you’re hormonally a-twitter, you can’t participate in the ensuing mating rites.  That’s bad because it means less hatchlings for the commune.

    But there’s hope for Khe.  After running some tests, the Research Institute thinks they can cure her.  Make her normal.  Ah, but it’s not 100% guaranteed.  And there might be some unexpected side-effects.

What’s To Like...
    Alexes Razevich creates a world with creatures that are both original and fascinating.  They are bipedal and humanoid, but hatch from eggs.  The society is communal, and the males live separate from the females, with commingling only occurring at mating time.  No one’s emotions are secret – all beings have “emotion spots” on their necks; and you can tell if someone’s scared, ashamed, etc. by the color of those spots.

    You can find elements of Logan’s Run, Hunger Games, and Animal Farm here, but really, Khe runs its own course.  Overall, the plot is standard dystopian fare – insight, flight, then fight.  But that’s true of any novel in this genre.

    There is some violence, but it’s mostly offstage.  You have one mating scene, but if you find it erotic, you need help.  The baddies aren’t particularly impressive; they are either incredibly arrogant or incredibly naïve.  The ending is satisfactory.  It leaves the door open the possibility of a sequel, yet this is a standalone novel.  There are four kewl drawings interspersed throughout the book, which give you an idea of how the author visualizes Khe and her world.

    If Khe has any weaknesses, they lie in the technical aspects and loose ends.  To detail this would entail spoilers, which are taboo here.  But the fates of several characters remain unresolved, and inquiring minds (including mine and Khe’s) would certainly like to know the “why” of a number of phenomena here, such as the Logan's Run motif.

    We’d sung the same song at Lunge.  The doumanas in every commune probably sang it.  Tav had said that even the males sang the same songs, spoke the same language, and worshipped the same creator we did.  Thedra said that was because our species didn’t have enough imagination to make up anything different.  When I was young, I sometimes feared the creator would strike Thedra down for blasphemous things she said, and sometimes I wished it would, but nothing ever happened.  And what did that mean?  (loc. 786)

    “I don’t understand the idea of communicating with walls and structures at all.”
    Azlii frowns.  “You must stop thinking that just because something is made of wood or bricks or stones and mortar that it’s not aware.  Corentans learn to speak with all sentients almost as soon as we’re assigned to a community.  My dwelling and I worked together to get it built, so that we were both pleased with the outcome.”  (loc. 1599)

Kindle Details...
    Khe sells for $3.99 at Amazon.  ANAICT, this is Alexes Razevixch’s only novel thus far.

“Fear is good.  It will help keep you from doing something noble and stupid.” (loc. 1688)
    The target audience here is young-teen and tween-age girls.  Khe is female, and males are almost completely absent in the book.  The storyline is engaging, but somewhat straightforward.  If this was a mystery, we’d call it a cozy.

    Frankly, Khe may be a bit simplistic for adult readers, and guys of any age looking for blood, gore, and sex will be disappointed.  Ditto for aficionados of Crichton-esque sci-fi; there is very little “science” here – fictional or otherwise.

    But if you keep in mind for whom this is written, you will find Khe to be a pleasant read.  As an adult male, I wasn’t blown away, yet the book did keep me entertained.  That says something.  7½ Stars.  Add two more stars if you’re a teenage girl who loves to read Dystopian novels.

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