Title: Ozarium (Transitional Delusions #2)
Author: Brick Marlin
Genres: Horror | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Thriller
Length: 281 pages | 5511 locations
After the Shift, a new world arises from the ashes.
However, new changes are about to arrive and they won’t be pleasant. Two boys strive to make the difference.
I have just finished reading Ozarium and I have to admit it is a difficult one for me to review.
There is no question that once again Brick Marlin succeeded in creating a very twisted world with new concepts or reformed ones that will chill you to the bone. However, I had a few issues with the book.
First of all, being part of a series, I had hoped to see more of a connection to the first book. Instead I only got the first chapter and a couple of references at the very end. While that can be a good thing because it means the book can be read as a standalone, I really wanted to know how exactly one world morphed to the other. For instance, if all the adults had been killed and the children turned to rats, where did the new population come from? When Slader explains Overcast he says there were survivors but where? I recall the first book ending with only Martha standing up. How far does this event reach? Also, why were there suddenly now two suns?
Secondly, I have to admit I was lost with all the characters and the names for what had took place before – Overcast, Ozarium, Shift, The Reckoning, Whethersphere (not sure if that’s spelled right) or the role of the four gods. To this point I do not really grasp all the concepts, particularly the last ones. I got that after the Shift there was Overcast, and then Slader turned the colony into Ozarium but no clue about the other ones. That is my bad though, I don’t remember much from the first book and I should not have expected this one to explain it all over again. Also, most likely the others will be further developed in the next books of the series, so I suppose I am just impatient!
However, my main two issues were the pace and the writing.
For a long time I felt I was being info-dumped. For almost the entire first half of the book, we are introduced to an array of characters and commercials that help us understand the dramatic changes the world has suffered. While they served to get me used to all the craziness going on, nothing seemed to be actually developing, and I did crave for some action.
Then Jonas wins the lottery and things start to get interesting, although there is a lot that did not make sense to me, not only in what happened but in how characters reacted to it.
Regarding the writing, that was really my main problem. I don’t mean the language. Actually, Marlin was able to create a very interesting dialect, with influences from several decades, I believe, and a whole lot of imagination. However, I did feel that, for example, when the two main child characters were speaking, they did not sound their age. I get that the slang and stuff was different but in some situations the words they used made them sound much more mature than what would sound natural for their age. I had that feeling of unnatural speech with just about all characters and instead of finding it creepy and going with the story I have to admit I felt uninterested.
Just a couple of very small examples, there were others that could bring my point across better but sadly I did not make notes: “Would you rather be in pain with a sun burn when both suns go down?”. We had already been told there were now two suns (though no explanation as to why), so why not say ‘when the suns go down’?
Or “Don’t get grumpy because I took you away from drinking (…) laced with that drug called goose(…) or (…)as one of those zombie creatures called schizos!. Saying things are ‘called’ something makes me feel the characters and myself are somehow out of the narrative, that these things they are talking about are not intricate to the world but something apart.
I think that this one I managed to save best explains what I am trying to convey, this feeling of disconnection and unrelatable speech: Fred snorted. “Oh, you just don’t know, Wilbur. Guess we all learn from our mistakes in life.” “You’re right. I’m not perfect either, so don’t be too hard on yourself.” “Okay.”
On the other hand, while things got a whole lot more exciting towards the last third of the book, one other thing stood out that I had noticed before: at times the narrative was overpowered by dialogues where while they were taking place everything else seemed to pause. For instance, on a couple of occasions, a few characters are in very tricky situations and instead of trying to get out of them they just seem to stand there catching up and only when they are done to they go ‘ok, let’s try and get out of this’. I was like… So the bad guys just wait for them to talk things through? I don’t get it. Instead of ‘x character searches y part of place they are trapped in’ or something, we’d just get snorts and grins and stuff. There wasn’t that feeling of urgency that would fully have gripped my attention.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed what I read because the fact is Brick Marlin created a pretty darn awesome world with this book. Some things are truly shocking and I wonder how anyone could come up with it. Appliances having Tourette Syndrome is just about the most innocent example I can give without spoiling the read for you but trust me, there is a lot here that I found pretty macabre and twisted. Some concepts were not entirely new but the way the author meshed them together made for a truly horrific vision of a post-apocalyptic world, where the values have completely shifted. And there are so many interesting developments. It’s just that I wish there was a better pace to the story, the writing had enveloped me more and hopefully a clearer connection to the first book, since this is a series.
Also, it needs major editing services. There are redundancies such as rectified the world right or also lived down in this corridor as well, several repetitions of the exact same expressions to explain something, wrong verb tenses like “Where was he?” she spoke aloud. and sequences where things played out differently before than they are told later. Even the Epilogue is called Prologue, for some reason.
I still recommend it, but not for everyone. This is something that I believe will only really appeal to fans of truly dark, macabre stuff and who do not mind not being able to connect to characters.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from Oct 1st to Oct 9th, 2016