Book Review- Nylon Angel

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This book kicks unbelievable ass. (And this post will be unbelievable long, but so worth it. Read on!)

NYLON ANGEL by Marianne De Pierres.

Here’s the synopsis on Amazon:

While trying to send her sadistic boss to death row, she finds herself sheltering a suspect in the murder of newsgirl Razz Retribution. In a world run by the media, the truth isn't relevant-it's bad for ratings. Which is why Parrish finds herself tagged for the murder-and up to her tricked-out leather tank top in trouble.

And a more expanded one from Chapter-Indigo:

In a world where the rich live behind the safety of a giant fortress wall and everyone else can go to hell, Parrish Plessis has learnt some useful survival tactics. Like don't cross Jamon Hondo - unless you want to be dead by the morning. But heck, what's a girl supposed to do when the one chance she may have of escaping from his grubby, stinking paws presents itself? Anyway, it's hard to be a saint in a city, and Parrish Plessis is sick of doing what she's told. Tonight, she's going to take her chance. Because she can't face tomorrow.
NYLON ANGEL is the first Parrish Plessis novel. She will be back. When you've met her, you'll understand why.

A couple of reader-reviewers were calling this Cyber-punk, which sounds about right. Better than Urban Fantasy, which I feel strangely reluctant to categorize it as. Also, might be worth reading some of the Amazon reviews to balance out my gushing. I agree with most of them, even on *some* the negative points.

I suckth muchly at reviews, but will try to do this one justice. I should just say right off the bat that before I finished this book I was back at the bookstore to pick up CODE NOIR and CRASH DELUX.

More of the review after the jump... Click on 'Read More'

Setting: Earth, sometime in the near future, in a coastal area of Australia now called The Tert. “a leftover strip of toxic humanity where, it was rumored, you could survive on your own terms.” Years ago the whole area had been an huge foundry & industrial site that had been reclaimed and built up into swanky upper middle-class subdivisions. “It took 50 years of high-density living before the side-effects of the poisoned soil become obvious.”

Now the place is a series of shanties and warrens, where if "you got lost and came out the wrong place, you’d likely find yourself in a room full of infected junkies who’d strip you butt naked and sell your gear (titanium-capped boots were worth a mint. So was natural body hair and real nipples.)”

Combine all this with the—in many ways horrific—technological and genetic advances of the day, and you’ve got some amazing world-building.

Body modification is not just about improving your looks. You can buy augmented senses (smell, sight, hearing) or compass implants, or follow the trends (“the latest craze… was patchwork skin: Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid with a splash of Albino thrown in for highlights.”)

There are ‘goboys—Dingoboys, part man, part dog, all nasty pieces-of-work with their grafted-on, poisonous deadman’s nails, and venom pumping incisors.

There are tactile chairs that feel emotion, and ‘Pets’--part human/part robotic-- who were used primarily for labor and transport: “…they reminded (heroine) a bit of a rocking horse, with a kid’s head—only the legs moved independently.”

It’s a place were the news networks are global monoliths, more reality TV than neutral observers; acting as judge and jury, making the stories rather than finding them, and chasing the ratings a la The Running Man, whatever the cost.

Just about everyone walks around armed to the teeth, including the feral street kids, who might eat out of garbage cans but required respect due to the fact that most of them carried around enough bio-weapons to take out a city block.

Really I could spend this whole review talking about the phenomenal depth of world-building, But this is the heroine’s, Parrish Plessis, story.

Parrish grew up in Viva City, the ‘burbs outside The Tert. A clean, upscale metropolis where a Big Brother type government took care of all your needs, and monitored you accordingly. Her mom is a romance addict, strung-out on neuro-endocrine sims (drugs) and her step-father brutally ‘hands-on’. Before she killed him, but not before he broke her nose and shattered her cheekbone, she left home for The Tert.

Parrish is a big girl, handy with her fists and feet so she’d been working as a bodyguard for the 3 yrs or so until she caught the attention of one Jamon Mondo, a major players/crime lord in The Tert. She’d only been getting by until then, and thought she’d hit pay-dirt scoring a steady gig as ‘bodyguard to the stars’ .

“That dream died on my fist night on Jamon’s payroll. I was expecting the bodyguard drill. How he wanted to be protected, and from whom. Instead he took me to his barracks for a welcoming ceremony….

Dingoboys, panting, howling like the moons of Jupiter had lined up, in their uniform of dreadlocks, greasy skin and jutting teeth.
‘Strip her down,’ Jamon instructed.
It took five of them to hold me.
I stared at him like some dumb, miserable animal gazing up the slaughterhouse ramp. Fear spiked through my gut, so sharp that I moaned.
It was not a sound to be proud of, but the this wasn’t graduation night…

I tried to leave him after that but he had me followed and beaten. Once on Jamon’s payroll, always on Jamon’s payroll. A club you had to die to leave.

This first book tells the story of how Parrish escapes Jamon’s clutches and the intrigues she unwittingly gets involved in along the way, including being branded by the national One-World news as a wanted fugitive/murderer.

She’s strong, capable, smart, with a sense of right and wrong that time and time again finds her standing up for those who can’t fight for themselves, then in turn leaves her unwittingly becoming responsible for them.

The story is crazy fast-paced, but surprisingly (given the complex world-building) a book that you can (and will) breeze through.

While there’s not much of a romance, there is some interest/attraction between Parrish and a couple of male characters. But none of that stupid ‘who will she pick hero #1 or hero #2?’ stuff. As you can tell it’s first person pov, but again, thankfully, none of that SNARK! that’s so prevalent in ‘kick-ass’ heroine 1st povs books tht half the time come off as too heavy-handed, forced and make the 'voice' of the individual books blend from one to another. (jmho)

One last caution, obviously there’s quite a bit of violence in this book. For me, it wasn’t that bad (ie specific/graphic) but other’s might be turned off. Also, there’s a couple of other rapes/attempted rape scenes (not all the heroine) in the book, so reader beware.

One last, last nit-pick, for me personally, I felt that the author could have dug a teeny bit deeper into Parrish’s character. I just want to click with her a teeny bit more emotionally. It was just something I was constantly aware of as I read.

Aside from that, if I gave out grades, this is an A.

I really can’t recommend this one enough. Book two, CODE NOIR isn’t hitting the spot in the same way, but that’s partly because I’m familiar with the players and the setting, and like many subsequent books in a series there’s a lot of repeated info/backstory from the first book.

You can find out more about the author here.

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meljean brook said...

Gah! I remember hearing about this way back when on Maili's blog, and then forgot about it. This time, I will remember to put it on my Wish List. It does sound fantastic.

vanessa jaye said...

IT IS FANTASTIC! Yes, I had to put that in all caps. The world building was just incredible and I was rooting for Parrish from page one. She tough, but vulnerable, sympathetic, but abso-freaking-lutely a survivor.

Did I mention the parasitic organism that's slowly taking over her humanity? Just another little thing she has to fight. ;-)

meljean brook said...

I just read that as "parasitic orgasm". And thought: that's a really clever way to incapacitate a society.

I obviously have a one-track mind, lol.

vanessa jaye said...

"parasitic orgasm"

hmmm... ::getting ideas for an erotic cyber-punk story::

But that might not work out the way I'm thinking....

::getting ideas for an erotic safe sex story::


Gennita said...

Okay, sold on book one. I'm writing it down for future buy when I go Amazoning. Love the title. Thanks!

vanessa jaye said...

Okay, sold on book one.

Yaay! I feel the need to let everyone know about this book. If you're anything like me, you'll want to read the complete trilogy because there's a larger backdrop/story arc beyond the immediate story of Parrish escaping Jamon that you'll want to see ultimately wrapped up. Parrish is really a heroine to root for.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vanessa,

glad you enjoyed meeting Parrish!

Good luck with your writing.


vanessa jaye said...

Hey, Marianne! I can honestly say that Nylon Angel is one of my favourite reads for this year, and Parrish one of my absolutely favourite action/kick-ass heroines. Just an absolutely fantastic, wildly imaginative book. :)

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