Review - "Divine Devine's Love Song" by S. A. Garcia
Truly a haunting and inspiring book
It is a very fine line to walk for a writer who is building a world for his or her story, especially when that world is in our future. It is doubly hard when there are two worlds to consider - one thirty years apart in time from the one in the main body of the story. And both still in our future. And yet that is what S. A. Garcia has done with such a deft touch in this amazingly original book.
Set sometime in the future, in what appears to be a post nuclear event world, a physically twisted young man named Trill chances upon a Netpad as he and his companions visit "sacred" grounds. Hiding it from the rest of the group, which includes his boyfriend Shatter, Trill ventures home and trades some of his prized possessions to the local junk dealer for what he hopes is a functional battery for the Netpad. When it works, what he finds is the story of one of his heroes, Pokatawer, who led a group south away from the destroyed and unsafe area of ManH.
And so begins the story of Sam Devine who, thirty years before, was instrumental in a rebellion against the corporate powers that have replaced government in what was the United States. During Sam's lifetime, the U.S. has broken down into a series of city states, which are under corporate control. After a nuclear event, ManH (Manhattan) is isolated from many others, parts of it unsafe, the weather uncertain because of the attacks. The area is buffeted by storms called Howlers, and only Sam's technological innovation helps keep the area safe, and him alive and doing the bidding of his BCM corporate masters. Seems he was slated for death, but was rescued from execution by Dan, a man who believed in him. Seems he is allowed some leeway as long as he doesn't outlive his usefulness. But his attitude is a problem for TPTB.
Enter Pokatawer. Captured as part of an attack, he is slated for torture and experimentation as the leaders of BCM attempt to learn the secrets of a new drug the enemy is using to make the user into a beserker. Recognizing a kindred spirit, and sick of the inhumanity, Sam steps in and saves the young warrior, offering to BCM to unlock his secrets in exchange for his freedom.
What follows is an amazing whirlwind ride of danger, love and unexpected twists and turns. Ms. Garcia has taken this story, and me, by the balls and turned us every which way but loose. I was stunned by the detail she worked in about the world these characters populate. From the descriptions of the ride into the city by Sam to the brutal storm that shakes his house, and then to Trill's world, where harm and death hide in the beauty and old skeletal remains of homes and cities. It is a bleak, haunting, vividly imagined world that drew me in and both horrified and fascinated me.
But the really touching part? In the midst of what is the crumbling of the world as we know it, two men, thirty years apart, take the chance and open their hearts to each other and forge an uncertain future together. Sam and Pokatawer, and Till and Shatter, each venture out of what is and into what could be.
Not the average boy meets boy and happily ever after story here. But DAMN IT, this story engages the mind as well as the heart and points south. I LOVED it. I hope to see more from this intriguing and talented writer.
If you are looking to take a risk, get this book.