Book title: Extraordinary (Rough Passages Volume 1)
Author: KM Herkes
Genre: Dark/Urban Fantasy
At the risk of making a cheesy cliché, Extraordinary by KM Herkes really was an extraordinary book. (I’m not sorry!)
It’s quite dark, but beautifully so, the style of prose like a curling mist with the occasional sharp edge concealed and cutting the reader unexpectedly. I felt an air of “nightmare” through the whole thing, and while it isn’t a horror, it gave me a huge sympathy for the protagonist throughout.
Valerie Wade has come out of an abusive marriage, trying to raise two children, look after her disabled and bigoted mother, while holding down multiple jobs. As though this wasn’t enough, she also has a genetic disorder which threatens all she holds dear with the possibility of an untimely death. Despite all these tribulations, Valerie remains an optimistic protagonist, one who seems very much like she wants to believe the world is much better than she’s seen so far, and always looking for the positives of her life. She is forgiving and wants to please, and I think it’s these crucial characteristics that keep the story from descending into horror.
I felt a great sense of connection to Valerie throughout, and kept hoping right along with her that things would get better. She was believable, and as it becomes increasingly apparent through the story that her disorder could mean more than just death, the first-rate world building has dragged you into the story before you even realise what’s happened.
There’s a little subtle social commentary throughout, which I loved, regarding prejudice and, of course, abuse and the many forms it takes in people’s lives. I was sorry when I reached the end, and far too quickly, but as this is the first in a series and there are another two currently in print, I’m looking forward to experiencing more from this talented author.
Along with the “Rough Passages” series, KM Herkes has also written “Stories of the Restoration” of which I have the first book currently waiting on my e-reader, and along with a bubbling facebook page, a fantastic website which I recommend you go check out: http://storysculpting.blogspot.co.uk/