Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"There's something else, girl. What is it that you want?"
A slightly better attempt at hiding something rather significant early on, I would have thought. Oh no sorry, that's what I wanted...
Here's the publisher to apprise us (and Elysia) of what the hell is going on...
"On the night of the biggest storm in New York City history, Elysia Puente gets a call from her estranged little brother Angel, terrified and begging for help. When the call cuts out suddenly, despite the bad feelings between them, Ellie rushes into the night. Finding his broken phone in front of a barricaded subway station, Ellie follows echoes of her brother into the sinister darkness of the underground, desperate to find him before it's too late."
I'm having to restrain myself here. It's very tempting to throw out a spoiler. After all, the writer seems to fling out a truly huge one very early on for me. Nobody likes a spoiler, particularly when it is penned by the writer themselves... Unless, perhaps the whole point is that we are supposed to realise precisely what the hell is going on, even if Elysia doesn't...? I'm not sure that makes it any cleverer, if so.
It just struck me as a little bit of a shame, because the real reason behind Elysia and Angel's woes is only gradually revealed over the course of the whole story, in a manner that I thought was expertly done making that side of the story very interesting with some real depth. I just knew what the ultimate ending had to be all along. But, as I say, possibly that was the point; I just would have been tempted to hide it for longer myself. Allowing for that, I will certainly concede that this is cleverly written. The more I think about it, it must be that writer Vita Ayala intends us the readers to be aware of one very important fact that Elysia is most certainly not. Still, that not knowing is certainly going to ensure she'll confront some serious demons, both figurative and literal.
For this curious mix of madcap mythology and criminal misdeeds serves to tell us of a journey in a most surreal subway that seems entirely designed to draw out one's worst fears and where nightmares are made all-too-real. It's a journey that despite me having a pretty good idea of the final destination, at least for one of our protagonists, is worth taking. For despite my comments above I was soon sinking into the sofa squirming along with Elysia as the veritable tortures of the damned are visited upon her.
That the art is rather good helped a lot with that too. It struck me as having elements of Faith Erin THE NAMELESS CITY Hicks, particularly in the facial features, and also Tula SUPREME: BLUE ROSE Lotay both in pencils and palette terms. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for artist Lisa Sterle in the future.