Today I am excited to host a blog tour stop for Rhiannon Frater's The Mesmerized. Keep reading for my 4 1/2 star review and a giveaway!
It is silence, not screams of terror, which proclaims the end of the world…
Minji Nordim is vacationing in Las Vegas with her small family when she witnesses the beginning of a terrifying apocalypse. When humanity is transformed into mindless drones by a terrifying supernatural event only Minji appears to be immune.
Thousands die instantly, but the other affected people are drawn to the Nevada desert. Nothing stands in the way of the mesmerized. Not fire, not heights, not rubble. As the bodies pile in the streets and the relentless wave of the mesmerized plods into the deadly desert, Minji is trapped in a burning city attempting to rescue her family.
When Minji encounters other unaffected survivors, they band together to survive in a city that is crumbling all around them. With no hope of rescue and the event slowly spreading across the world, Minji and the others must decide who to save among the mesmerized and where to go before the city is in ashes.
Even more unsettling is that Minji senses that the force behind the event is observing them…
Can one woman save her family and the world?
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Rhiannon Frater has done it again! She has written about a bad ass female character in this exciting story that blurs the lines between urban fantasy, sci-fi and post-apocalyptic fiction. Here at A2H, we are quite fond of strong women characters, and Frater delivers. And not only are we treated to such a tough female main character, but Frater gives us the diversity that is often lacking in UF. Her main character, Mingi, is a dread locked, tattoo artist Korean mother of two. She is married to a Nordic man, making a loving and caring interracial couple.
This book starts off innocuous enough. Mingi and her family are vacationing in Las Vegas. Her husband, Jake, and two daughters are with her on this adventure. Suddenly, almost every person around Minji becomes zombified, while a majority of the others are instantly killed. For reasons unknown, Minji is immune to whatever is controlling the masses. Although Minji can feel a cold and crawly sensation in her brain, she is not susceptible to the apparent brain washing. So super Minji's journey to becoming a hero commences.
First and foremost, Minji must save her daughters. Her older daughter, Ava, is affected, while her younger toddler, Bailey, is not. Minji's husband is also affected, so she is tasked with finding safety for the people she loves the most. Minji's fear is palpable at this point. As a mother, I could only imagine the terror she felt when one of her daughters was for all purposes, a zombie. And not only that, she is tasked with caring for a very young child in a world that Minji has no experience with. It was terrifying to read through this part of the book.
Soon enough, Minji meets a few others that are also unaffected to a certain extent. The characters were all genuine and powerful. Even that epic douche bag, Arthur. Arthur is a character that is down on his luck before the Event. He has a ruined marriage and two little boys that he cares for deeply. He lost his job and is working at a lower position that he used to. He is convinced that Ava is somehow responsible for the Event. In the beginning I felt sorry for Arthur and thought he could be redeemed. He ends up being an even bigger dick that originally thought and I was rooting against him by the end of this book.
We meet Alec about half way through this story. Although he comes off as a bit shady, we learn quick enough that he is the catalyst to saving the world. He is not the hero, not does he want to be. He is the facilitator that earns Minji's implicit trust. Simone and Jesse are two other side characters that provide depth to this novel. They are Minji's confidantes and assist her in many ways throughout this story.
If you are a fan of end-of-the-world type stories with a gutsy female lead, then this is the book you've been waiting for. There is no romance at all in this book, but the action and plot are second to none. Frater has a talent for bringing the terror, as evidenced in her striking As the World Dies series. This book was fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. I always know I'm in for a treat when I get a chance to read a book from this author.
“Okay, the tigers are at The Mirage. So that’s our first stop,” Jake decided. “Then we can head to the Hard Rock. I want a t-shirt from there.”Minji looped the end of the leash a few times around her wrist before taking Ava’s hand.“Perfect. Let’s get this show on the road.”“It’s really crowded right now, so everyone stay close. I’m looking at you, Ava.”Ava gave her father a plaintive look while tugging on her leash. “I can’t run away!”“Good! I’d like my little girl to not go splat in the road.”Minji winced at the memory of her daughter dodging into the road to greet Jake when he’d returned from an evening run. Luckily their neighbor had seen her in time and jerked her car onto someone else’s lawn, avoiding Ava completely. The mere idea of losing any of her family was enough to make Minji sick to her stomach.Shoving negative thoughts away, Minji kept in her husband’s wake as he threaded through the crowd toward the escalators that descended from either side of the waterfall. The atrium loomed ahead filled with bright sunlight that reflected off the creamy walls and pillars.The first sign that something was wrong came when her brain was assailed with what felt like millions of cold needles burrowing into the gray matter. With a whimper, Minji pressed her fingertips to her temples in a futile attempt to stave off the pain. Then the sensation intensified.Screams echoed through the vast resort in a horrifying chorus. All around her, people flailed about, or gripped their heads in their hands. Jake grunted and stumbled as Bailey let out a shrill cry. Woozy, Minji reached for her screaming baby just as another stab of unbearable agony tore through her brain, blinding her. Rapidly blinking her eyes, she desperately attempted to restore her sight.“Mommy! Mommy!” Ava wailed. “Mommy, my head hurts! I can’t see!”Howls of agony reverberated through the mall corridors. Minji tugged on the child leash, dragging Ava into her arms. Unable to see, she clutched her daughter close. Paralyzing fear churned in her gut. The pain diminished, but the blindness remained.“Jake!”“I’m right here.” A familiar, warm hand floundered against her back then found her shoulder.“I’m right here, hon. I got you.”Again there was a flash of icy discomfort, then the world returned to sharp focus. To Minji’s horror, blood streamed down the faces of some of the shoppers close to her. Bubbles of the rich liquid formed in their eyes, noses, and ran from their lips. Swaying slightly, the bleeders stared blankly past the faces of their frightened companions. Minji swiftly checked Ava, Bailey and Jake. None of them were bleeding. Lifting Ava onto her hip, Minji pressed against Jake’s side.“Jake, are you okay?”“My head is killing me,” he answered. “Check the baby.”“She’s not bleeding, just crying. What the hell is happening?”“I don’t know. Keep Ava close!” Jake wrapped his arms around his wife, pulling her toward the far wall.
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