Leah Clifford is a fellow indie author and I discovered her urban fantasy novel “Vial Things” through an online indie authors group we both belong to. I didn’t even know the book dealt with healing; I thought it just dealt with resurrection because of the series title. But here it is and I’m so excited!
Here’s the book summary from Amazon:
When the resurrectionists of Fissure’s Whipp begin disappearing, eighteen-year-old Allie knows someone is after their blood—or, more accurately, the genetic mutation that allows their blood to heal wounds, save lives and even bring back the recently deceased.
Allie knows staying vigilant means staying alive. She’s trained to protect herself by any means necessary. She even befriends a homeless boy named Ploy who unknowingly trades nights on her couch in exchange for being a human tripwire to those hunting her.
But as Allie and Ploy’s feelings for each other grow, Allie realizes this time, she’ll need more than fighting skills and a sharp blade to beat a villain literally out for blood.
Protecting a girl he shouldn’t love, from a threat he understands too well, Ploy must face his past to save his future in Allie’s world—a world where bringing back the dead can cost you your life.
And here’s my review. But first, fair warning: SPOILERS! (duh)
I don’t often read urban fantasy and, to be honest, my life is pretty tough right now. What I really needed was a fluffy escape book. But I kept coming back to this book; it totally drew me in. Allie is a great heroine; my favorite: strong AND vulnerable yet pushing her way through the crap thrown at her, despite the internal fears and external events that threaten to keep her down.
And Leah TOTALLY HAD ME GUESSING at whose side Ploy was on. I had no bloody (no pun intended) until the reveal at the very end.
Now, the healing system in this book can get pretty gory. It’s mostly used to bring back people from the dead and it involves sharing the blood of a genetically gifted individual (like Allie) with someone who’s dead within a certain time of their passing away. Resurrectionists have to know how to fix mortal wounds as well. I kept thinking how could I even relate this to chronic illness and people who suffer from them?
And it occurred to me today that it was not the system of healing that mattered, it was the power struggle surrounding it. Leah builds a world where there are a lot of politics and tension surrounding resurrectionists e.g. Allie feels her gifts should be given freely whereas her Aunt Sarah and her friend Talia do not. Sarah and Talia help use their gifts to help others because they feel a sense of pride and relief in helping grieving people just, unlike Allie, they prefer to be paid for the use of their gifts. Contrast this with Jamison and those hunting resurrectionists who just want the ability to resurrect people for the power and prestige.
Shifting from urban fantasy to this world: who among us, especially the chronically ill, hasn’t run into both kinds of doctors? The doctors who really want to help you on your journey, who think through your problems, who feel a sense of pride and relief when you feel better? Versus the other doctors who have a wall full of diplomas in their office and wave you on almost as soon as you walk in. You barely exist. You get pills thrown at you and you’re dismissed. If you dare make a suggestion about your own treatment or diagnosis, you are scolded or laughed at.
I have fired doctors like that and I have wondered why they are even doctors in the first place. Is it the power? Is it the prestige? What is it? What changed that you didn’t end up like Allie, Aunt Sarah or Talia? Wanting to help others with your gift?
I highly recommend this book to fantasy and urban fantasy fans and, for people with chronic illnesses or on a healing journey; I think you will find some interesting perspectives.