The Red Era #1
“Athens was once the cradle of civilization. Now it’s slowly but surely becoming the tomb of humanity.
The Red Plague, a violent virus which had run rampant decades ago, left its imprint on the planet and the flesh of men. All that remains of the modern world is an endless wasteland of ruins—Erebos—and two cities—Elysion, the obscure island of the Non-Infecteds about which no one knows a thing, and, Tartaros, the crumbling town of the Infecteds where despair, hatred, violence and poverty are the operative words.
And at the heart of this universe lives Irisya, a sixteen-year-old Non-Infected girl, staying recluse in her home to be safe and relying on her brother, Memphis, for everything.
But then, one day, he disappears without a trace.
Irisya has no choice. To save him, to survive, she will have to brave all the dangers of the outside world.”
Thank you to the author, Cindy Mezni, and Olivia (who organizes the review chain) for gifting me with a copy of Poisoned Iris in exchange for an honest review!
Sadly, this book just wasn’t my cup of tea. It started out all right and I kept waiting for some spark to come in but I just couldn’t become invested. Let me explain why:
1. The characters. The author did a great job of keeping the character development balanced with the action and plot. However, there were moments all of the time that I was left baffled by the actions of the characters. They were entirely out of character or incredibly ridiculous. They would get angry over the tiny things or they would do things without any explanation and didn’t make sense in the long run. The author would work so hard to build up the personalities of all of the characters (and did succeed most of the time) and in a few short moments, some dialogue or an hour of action would unravel everything. It was kind of frustrating to watch, actually. The main character, Irisya, is another point I want to mention. I loved how the author set her up as mostly naïve about the outside world (even if I disagreed with Memphis’ choice to do so) as it made for an interesting learning curse (more about this later) but it was also used too much as an excuse for a lack of common sense. Irisya would do things because ‘she didn’t know any better’ when in reality, you have to have picked up some things from your brother and mother going out and telling you about what’s outside. And wouldn’t you eventually grow curious or restless, being cooped up in an apartment your entire life? She is an incredibly puzzling character and I couldn’t figure her out for the life of me.
2. The plot. Moving onto the plot, I think the plot is one of the elements the author really did well with. It was nicely paced (if artificially fast at times) and there is an excellent structure of overarching plot and secondary plot lines. One issue however: there are random jumps in time without any real breaks or indication (other than some insinuation) which threw me through a loop. You catch on after a paragraph or two but the mere fact that it’s present is concerning. Nevertheless, it only detracted slightly from the story for me.
3. The romance. Yes, there is a romance and I’m happy to report that there is no love triangle or insta-love! I was half-expecting one (and there is one slightly implied for a chapter but it’s dealt with quickly) because of the science fiction nature of the novel. The lack of one is a lovely asset. It’s quite easy to spot who will be taking part but it’s developed in a sweet, innocent sort of way. Of course, the romance suffered from the same issues that the characters did and it greatly impacted the course of the relationship which irritated me slightly.
4. The writing. The writing itself is quite good, actually. Aside from the character development issues the author has a strong prose. There is a nice flow and it’s easy to read which helped distract from some of the other problems.
5. The world. This is also a complicated point. While the world itself is wonderful (and is mapped out as well, I might add), there are also development problems here. Elements seem to be thrown in whenever they’re most convenient and it’s almost as if the author forgot to explain some situations beforehand so the reader is caught up in the moment which isn’t exactly the most efficient way to go about it. I kept waiting for some world building in the beginning that would elaborate a little more on the Plague and it’s effects and how exactly the world came to be as it was but there was nothing. Generally speaking, I think the author simply didn’t take enough time to nail down the parameters of her world and the people in it and how those people had historically interacted.
The Final Verdict:
Lack of development in nearly every area is this book’s main shortfall. There were bright spots in the romance, writing, and plot, however.
Meet the Author: