Doom Absolute by R.T. Worth

Doom AbsoluteDoom Absolute by R.T. Worth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My first point of note in reading Doom Absolute is the book’s cover art. A tri-pointed collage of the myriad characters shrouded by mist, it is appropriately allusive to the story contained within. The cover actually does more justice to the story than the blurb provided, which says nothing of the magic, mystique, and strangely alluring blend of human culture/mentality (particularly the extreme consumerism) and anthropomorphic beings, namely the greenmen and fruitmen but not to exclude animals that can speak (but only to those whom have passed on), twisted versions of fairy tale creatures like the gnomes of Peat Valley, and walking and talking insects. Worth might want to rewrite his blurb to include a little more specific detail as to the world you’re dropped into rather than giving us an ambiguous description of something that doesn’t happen (Alma’s death) until almost a 3rd of the way in.
Engaging in the reading, my immediate impression was that Worth’s imagination and style is most reminiscent of China Mieville, whose works absolutely thrills and enchant with a dark vibrancy and near-primal hook. We’re drawn in immediately by an intriguing history description of the book’s setting, a planet akin to Earth, called Illuminara, but existing in a three-star solar system. Illuminara is populated by a plethora of walking and talking plants, called greenmen, and we get to meet one of them personally through the character of FC, or Fantastic Cactus, a surprisingly surly and lethal hand-for-hire who happens to be potted yet also has a movement form in which he utilizes shadows to become mobile. Along with the greenmen we also have the fruitmen, walking and talking fruit. Worth introduces us to Sid Banana, one such fruitman, and his attention to detail in delivering this character is flawless, giving us a clear picture of what a anthropomorphized banana would be like and have concerns for, especially concerning his skin and bruising.
Along with the greenmen and fruitmen, Illuminara is also host to anthropomorphized insects (most of whom only appear in passing, serving as arena fighters or the turncoat Nexus McGurk, a 7 foot tall preying mantis disguised as a human celebrity), humans, speaking animals (not like the ones in Narnia, mind you), and wizards and sorceresses, and greedy, unscrupulous global corporate monocracies like TransAn.
Worth wastes no time in throwing the reader head first into this stunning, fully imagined world where rebel groups battle against the monocracy of TransAn. Alma, a fourteen year old girl who has been imprisoned in a maximum security prison called Axis, is broken out of prison by the aforementioned Fantastic Cactus, and it is from this point that any expectation of predictability flies right out the window. Written at an often break-neck pace that works in perfect tandem to the equally break-neck action and relentless adventure, Absolute Doom is a fantastic, riveting read.
There were points at which I wondered if I was reading a sequel to another earlier book but on further investigation this proved not to be the case, which only proves the point that Worth has one of the most vivid imaginations and knows the world of Illuminara from the inside out. Suspension of disbelief is requisite but completely natural as Worth leads the reader deeper and deeper into a world that gives us more questions about it than answers and does so without us realizing it. For instance, why is TransAn, and thereby Illuminara, ruled over by a fourteen year old boy known only as the Count? Beyond the described atrocities inflicted upon this futuristic world, what exactly were/are the Efika rebels fighting for? What roles did Alma’s adoptive parents/guardians, Jestmain and Contra, play in the revolution that led to the massacre known as Scarlet Magray? There is as much mystery to the back story of Alma as there is action sequence acting as the vehicle for her progression through the story. As such, the wealth of mystery leaves ample room for the actual sequel that follows – a book that I am eager to read in follow up.
R.T. Worth is not an author to idly dismiss. After reading Doom Absolute, I easily and gladly rank this book right up there with Mieville’s works and, accordingly, I cannot wait to devour more of this unique world and writing style.
While the text was intermittently strewn with editing misses (misplaced punctuation, misspelled or misused words – ie, span the car instead of spun the car, you’re instead of your), these misses weren’t so numerous that they negatively affected my review.
I easily and gladly give Doom Absolute a 5 star rating!

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