Review: Age of the Almek, by Tara. A. Lake
‘Age of the Almek is an absolute gem and debut author Tara Lake treats us to a rollercoaster from start to finish.'
*Trigger warning for this book: violence, explicit sexual scenes*
If you're in the mood for an intricate and enthralling dystopian thriller - you've come to the right place. Age of the Almek is an absolute gem and debut author Tara Lake treats us to a rollercoaster from start to finish.
When man-made pollution renders water on earth toxic, causing the vast majority of the world population to be annihilated, the survivors find refuge near a rare clean water source. There, if they are to stay alive, they must organise themselves and leave behind the ways of the Old World. And so the Almek colonies are born, rigidly regulated by inhumane laws that leave no room for individuality or choice.
Eighteen years later, with the fresh water supplies running low and no cure in sight, the people of the colonies face the most difficult test of all: that of standing up for themselves, against the corruption and hypocrisy of their Masters and the violent rules that regiment their lives. It's the age-old dance we see in every oppressed society in history, one step forward towards freedom and three steps back into cruelty, and Tara Lake nails that ballet perfectly.
I loved the author's ability to give every character their own voice and a distinct perspective on the world around them. I loved how involved I became with every character's fate and woes. I loved the precision with which the Almek world has been created, with such minuteness you can picture it down to the finest details.
I found the book to be full of wisdom - you keep running into these sentences, sometimes paragraphs, that will make you stop and nod in agreement, thinking there was no better way of putting it.
My favourite part is the portrayal of the many facets of human nature, be it through the reactions of the masses to the barbaric ways of their rulers or the individual views of the protagonists. In every Almek citizen is a piece of the great puzzle that is humanity at large, and the author has a gift for writing it as raw and real as it gets.
My advice? Don't make the mistake I made and let yourself be intimated by the size of the book (500 pages in fine font). Once you get stuck in you'll be glad that there's so much of it to keep you going, and you'll be gutted when you reach the last page and realise you have to wait for book two to know what happens next!