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    The Nardio Review

    Mechalarum Cover art

    Is Mechalarum Worth Your Time?

    Yes.

     

    What Did You Think Without Spoiling It?

    Mechalarum is an interesting Sci-Fi book weighed down by the most unlikable main character I’ve ever read. Kiellen drags every single scene down whenever she speaks. It falls on the other characters and interesting world to keep you engaged. Emma Larkins created a fascinating world and the other characters are intriguing in their own right. Unfortunately, we and they are stuck spending most of the book tolerating Kiellen. It’s pretty painful at times. Think of it as a road trip with a jerk sitting next to you and demanding attention along the way.

    That said, this is the first book in the series and the world building was so successful I find myself wanting to read the next Mechalarum book despite spending most of the book utterly hating the main character. Mechalarum is a hard book to write a spoiler free synopsis of since it is about finding out the truth and exploring trust. I can say that the sci fi elements work great. Larkins creates and describes a world that is familiar and different at the same time. I recommend it, but just be aware of what you are getting yourself into. Be patient and have some booze with you.

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    SPOILERS

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    Mechalarum Review:

    I hate Mechalarum’s main character. I hate her so much. Almost every time she speaks I just find myself annoyed and saying, “Oh god just shut up!” aloud. Mechalarum’s greatest fault is its main character.  I cannot overstate this point. She irked me to the very end. She has almost zero character growth and just drags things down.  She never redeems herself and she is self centered almost all the way to the very end. Even her first/final act of caring just felt more like duty than compassion. Although this leads me to the big plot hole and my main question: How is it these suits known to kill its pilots over time now healed them? Also, wasn’t there an issue of genetic compatibility? I do appreciate how the other characters call her out several times, but she never learns.  She shockingly never, ever even tries to take in what anyone else says.

    I’m damn happy the romance for the most part fizzled out. I get that Gage is in crush/love/lust with her, but she is so bad for him and so self centered I found myself hoping she didn’t get the boy in the end.  The romance just felt so forced I was glad when it was brushed to the side later on.

    Character transitions were so awkward I found myself ripped out of the story several times. There could have been a few more chapters to break these up.  I also found it pretty crazy how Kiellen and Gage never asked more questions along the way. They just complained about not knowing anything over and over again even though their travel companions and captors seemed totally fine about talking to them. This was especially hard to understand whenever Gage was the lead. You just keep reading and hoping the other characters continued to fill you in. It happens in trickles but you left wanting more. This becomes a bigger annoyance as time passes.

    I could also never let go of the plot hole/problem created by Aerl Aris Jolorn. First, he worries about deniers stealing bits and pieces of the Mechalarum suits knowing that if anyone got their hands on them the plan he spent decades hatching would be for nothing. Then, he leads our idiot lead into one of the newest, most advanced models and chucks her outside the back of the city after being told deniers were in the area.  Then he seems to wait a few days to go pick it up. What? Then we are told that the tech used in the Citadel is far behind what people have in the outside world. Also, Mechalarum suits are almost common outside yet none are as advanced as Kiellen’s Mechalarum suit?

    The lack of an ending sort of felt like a slap in the face after everything I tolerated to learn the truth.  I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand why things were they way they were.  Sadly, Kiellen just decided to space out every single time anyone said something of importance despite the fact she needed to know this information. It was infuriating. I was hoping to at least learn more about the world and the threats it was facing in the end, since it seemed we were leading up to something, but no. END.
    What?

    (Throws Kindle)

    (Flips table)

    (Throws cat)

    (Throws self)

    (Hugs confused cat)

    (Cries with cat)

    (Other cat shows up  and is confused)

    Are you kidding me? Really? Ugh.

    I felt cheated.

    One more chapter. One more small info dump of a chapter could have done wonders for Mechalarum.

    Despite all of that, I would still buy the second book. (I know. I know.)

    I need to know what the hell happened. I need some closure. The off world alien threats are fascinating. The various human factions working together and against each other are fascinating. I’m hopeful the next book will be better than the first. Gage now has the suit as it slowly heals him. (HOW?!?!)  Hopefully Larkins kills Kiellen off and makes Gage the new protagonist of the Mechalarum series.  It was so much easier to identify with him. He also seemed to have small bits of growth as a person.  Hopefully he learns from Kiellen’s bravery, but also understands her behavior is what (hopefully) got her killed.

    I did find it interesting how it was eluded that Kiellen and Gage are almost addicted to their jobs.  When Rove calls it out later in the book, it felt like there was more going on than they (Kiellen and Gage) were aware of. After all, even after Kiellen knew the suit was slowly poisoning her, she couldn’t stop. She needed that rush. Besides the power she got from it, the effects almost seems like a narcotic. Gage has an unnatural affinity for tech and for robots.  The way he absentmindedly would forget the current situation felt forced at first, but then, on the way out of the tunnels he became absolutely transfixed on all the new tech. It was also interesting when Rove called him out for it earlier. Once the suggestive tea was introduced I was really hoping we would find out more about the Citadel residents being brainwashed into doing their duty.  I’m guessing it’s the Nutrient Loaf diet over the years.

    Mechalarum has a lot of problems, but the little mysteries and story makes it engrossing despite the poorly designed main character.  Sure I had to put my Kindle down a lot because of Kiellen, but I kept picking it back up so I could explore the world some more. I found I spent a lot of the time during my reading breaks trying to fill in little plot holes and wondering what the other characters were thinking. And repeatedly wishing Kiellen grows up or, better yet, dies. Hopefully it gets better next time. The pieces are there. This can be the foundation of an amazing new Sci-Fi world.  I didn’t love my first time in Mechalarum, but I am willing to come back for more.

     

     

     

    Agree? Disagree? Write your comments below

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    Basic Info

    • Author: Emma Larkins
    • Pages: 230
    • Genre: Sci-Fi

     

    Weblinks

    Mechalarum Amazon

    Mechalarum Website

    Emma Larkins Website

    Emma Larkins Patreon

    Emma Larkins Twitter

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      Bernardo Español

      Bernardo Español

      Editor-in-chief
      Hi I'm Bernardo Español. I'm a guy with way too much energy and not enough free time.
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