Hey, you guys, it’s Alexa! Today’s review is of Perihelid by S. Alex Martin, the third book in his Recovery series (which I got to help edit!). So if you need to do a little catching up, you can find my review for the first book, Embassy, here, and for the second book, Resonance, here. 😊
Because of the cliffhanger ending to Resonance, the description of Perihelid contains a lot of spoilers, and since I try to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible, I’m not going to post the description this time. But if you don’t mind, here’s the link to Alex’s website and the book’s page, where you can read up on all the details for yourself. 😊
Like the first two in the series, Perihelid unfolds with a feeling like a quieter, slice of life sort of story, yet it still has all the spice of sci-fi mixed in—plus a lot extra. I mean, there’s absolutely a plot and a structure, and so much of it is absolutely riveting for a million spoilery reasons. You feel every second of the intensity. The stakes are sky high from the start and they only rise as the book goes on and realizations unfurl and discoveries happen and just wow. It’s awesome. But because you’re seeing it so completely from Arman’s POV, it feels more real, like it’s actual life, the times when you have no idea what’s going on and you’re just waking up to see what in the world today will bring, and then the next thing happens and it smacks you in the face, and all you can do is go day by day, one step at a time, until you crawl your way out of this crazy mess called your life. You’re really… just there, watching, as his life unfolds in front of you and in front of him. It’s a really remarkable balance and it tells this story perfectly, like no other style could.
As the book ended, it was so hard for me to let the story go. I was heartbroken when it was over, yet it still ended with a strange and stunning beauty; all that occurred had so much weight and meaning and purpose and it mattered. It’s strikingly lovely and incredibly profound, more than a simple sci-fi or slice-of-life alone, because this story teaches you so much about how to live the life that is your own.
Plot: 5 stars out of 5
THESE CHARACTERS, THOUGH. As powerful as the plot is, the character development is unmistakably the strongest part of this story, and it… is… incredible. Arman and all the others have been through so much, and it hurts to watch them hurting; but at the same time, it is amazing to watch them band together and care for each other, and to see the impossibly heroic choices Arman makes, even with all the agony he still feels. Even through the grief, his growth is steady; he keeps rising, keeps healing, keeps choosing, keeps bettering. I love him so much, and it’s just astounding to see how far he has come.
Plus, there’s the rest of the cast, standing strong every moment as they ALL fight, the elements, the hopelessness, themselves, and everything in between, every moment of every day, they battle. And not with swords and arrows or guns and blasters (as epic as that kind of fighting is), but with smarts and love and inner strength, with encouraging words at the perfect moment and an arm around the shoulder as someone you barely know sobs into your shirt. They grew so much, together and within themselves, and watching them as they bonded and grew, each scene peeling back a layer to know them so much more… it was painful, but it was beautiful. It was sad, but it was so very real.
Characters: 5 stars out of 5
Like I touched on in the plot section, the story is told utterly through Arman’s eyes and it delves deeply into his mind. You feel like you’re in his brain, observing from his eyes first, then looking out to see everyone else and how all that’s happening is affecting everything else. You’re not just there with him, you’re there in him; every scene plays out through his mind, complete with all the double thoughts and self-doubts and agonies and anxieties and every other nuance many experience every day—only to the umpteenth degree because of the person Arman is and the situation he’s in. While the external battles are significant, the internal ones are even more so, because you see them as though they were your own. I can’t see this story being done through the eyes of anyone else, because the experience that Arman gives is like seeing it through the eyes of humanity. I think that’s what makes it so profound and so beautiful.
Writing Style/Setting: 5 stars out of 5
And so, we come in at a solidly secured and well-deserved 5 stars out of 5. As hard and heartbreaking as much of this book was, I did love it, just as I have loved the series so far. For fans of deeper sci-fi with a little less guns blazing and a little more human heart, I would highly recommend this series. You can buy Embassy here, Resonance here, and Perihelid here.
So, do you enjoy really deep stories? What was the last character journey you read or watched that made you feel the humanity of it? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I’ll see you in the comment section!
~ Love, Alexa ❤
Notes: I voluntarily and honestly reviewed a free copy of this book.
Content: Cursing, including a number of f-bombs. Somewhat graphic descriptions of the dead. Possibly triggering depression and other mental intensities.
Lessons and Values: The repercussions of the choices we make and the intensity of huge decisions that can’t be made lightly, leaning on those who love you, dealing with grief, actively choosing the good of others even at danger to oneself, and making the impossible choices to help someone else even in the midst of your own pain.