Absynthe-A Book Review

Well hello!  And how are we doing this fine Monday before Christmas?  Doing that last minute Christmas shopping?  I have one gift left to buy and it will just have to patiently wait on me to pick it up!

In the meantime, I read a book I think you should know about.  Absynthe by Brendan P. Bellecourt.

Liam Mulcahey, a reclusive, shell-shocked veteran, remembers little of the Great War. Ten years later, when he is caught in a brutal attack on a Chicago speakeasy, Liam is saved by Grace, an alluring heiress who’s able to cast illusions. Though the attack appears to have been committed by the hated Uprising, Grace believes it was orchestrated by Leland De Pere–Liam’s former commander and the current President of the United States.
Meeting Grace unearths long-buried memories. Liam’s former squad, the Devil’s Henchmen, was given a serum to allow telepathic communication, transforming them into a unified killing machine. With Grace’s help, Liam begins to regain his abilities, but when De Pere learns of it, he orders his militia to eliminate Liam at any cost.
But Liam’s abilities are expanding quickly. When Liam turns the tables and digs deeper into De Pere’s plans, he discovers a terrible secret. The same experiment that granted Liam’s abilities was bent toward darker purposes. Liam must navigate both his enemies and supposed allies to stop the President’s nefarious plans before they’re unleashed on the world. And Grace is hiding secrets of her own, secrets that could prove every bit as dangerous as the President’s.

Let’s just get this out of the way.  I loved this book.  I had a lot of fun reading it.  It’s set in an alternate history 1920’s after World War 1.  A war in which The United States were the aggressors.  That made for a very interesting plot point, let me tell you.   Liam and his squad were given an experimental treatment that allowed them to use telepathy between them.  It made them extremely efficient.  But somewhere along the way, Liam lost his memory, and when Grace comes along to unlock it, well, that’s when the fun begins. 

I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this book.  Some of them I saw coming, and others I did not.  I thought I had the big twist figured out, but alas, I was wrong.  It was nice to be wrong…for a change. 

This book does take you on a bit of a journey through Liam’s history.  It will flash back to his time in the service for a chapter, sometimes two, to help move the plot along.  But it does it well.  Sure, there are some overly done expositiony bits, but I actually enjoyed those.  And that’s a testiment to how much I liked this book, because usually, I do not like those moments.

The characters were vibrant and engaging.  However, it does feel like Grace, who is an important character, doesn’t get enough page time.  Which is disappointing, but also makes sense given the scope of the story.  Liam is hopelessly lost at the start of the book, and it’s fascinating to watch him start to put his life back together as he searches for his kidnapped friend, Morgan.

The setting of an alternative America was fun to explore.  I loved getting to see prohibition era Chicago.  And it’s also kind of steampunk-esque, with its mechanized men and the hoppers they used to fight in the Great War.  To say anything else about the setting would give away plot points, so I’ll just avoid doing that for your reading enjoyment. 

I would say that you need to read this. It’s a very fun, twisty read that will leave you guessing until the very end. 5 stars!

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