Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Last Regress by Rachael J. Thorne

Book: Last Regress
By: Rachael J. Thorne
Published: July 15, 2012
Published By: Self Published.

Description: Alyssa Matthews thought she had an explanation for everything. After all, as a slightly sceptical paranormal investigator that was what she was used to doing; researching, observing and explaining.

So when she began writing a paper about a long forgotten case of death by Spontaneous Human Combustion, she assumed it would be a run-of-the-mill piece. Little did she realise that she was about to be plunged into a situation that would not only force her to question her own sanity, but also her scepticism about the nature of the paranormal.

Not to mention the dreams that just wouldn’t go away...

My Thoughts: Last Regress was an interesting and terrifying novel that made one think deeply about life and death and the bridge between the two. It was dark and haunting, but with a love story that connects the living with the dead and provides a bit of light on an otherwise dark tale.

We follow Alyssa, a young and slightly depressed woman as she begins work on a case file at her job as a paranormal investigator. This particular case file is strange in that the ruling of cause of death of the subject Cain, was Spontaneous Human Combustion and despite some strangeness of the case, it was never looked into any deeper. Alyssa is convinced foul play was involved and sought to bring it to light.

As Alyssa gets involved in the case, she and her friend Greg discover a CD Cain recorded prior to dying. As they listen to the CD, Alyssa is mentally transported to another plane/dimension where horrible and good things happen. Upon her return, nothing is quite the same. She begins seeing a ghost, dark shadows come for her at night, and her friend Greg begins to wonder about her sanity. All of these events coalesce until they end in one big finale.

As a character, I didn't much like Alyssa. She began the book really depressed due to a prior break up and spent the duration of the novel giving me the feeling that she was weak and vulnerable. She psychoanalyzes everything and spends the duration of the book panicking about what may or may not happen when she gets ready to go asleep. She's a paranormal investigator for crying out loud. You'd think she would be at least a little open about the possibility that ghosts exist and stop thinking she's going crazy.

Greg, her best friend, also didn't always appeal to me. When Alyssa came to him talking about what she believed she was seeing at night, he seemed to automatically think she was going crazy. A true friend (at least any of my friends) would most likely take your comments and not make you feel crazy for what you think you saw. A real friend would say "Hmmm, maybe that could be it, or maybe all the work you're doing may be carrying over into your personal life. Either way, how about I stay with you tonight and make sure everything works out smoothly." Instead, he basically just brushed it off and said she was seeing things because her work is carrying over into her personal life and she needs to just get over it.

Cain, the love interest, was interesting. He seemed to be a tortured soul much like Alyssa so in that way I guess they fit well. He was her protector from the shadows and he seemed to care a lot about her. My issue though is that it was insta-love. Unlike some of you though, I don't always mind insta-love if I can see where it grows from. In this case though, it seemed like too much too fast. I just couldn't connect with it.

As a whole the book was interesting. I liked the concept of what happens after death, and the ways the dead can look back at those they left behind and all that. I also liked the idea that delving in too much knowledge could possibly be a bad thing (Take that Teachers of the world!) In terms of pacing the book was okay. It started off a bit slow and the point of view seemed to switch to random characters life stories I wasn't interested in like, for example, Nathaniel, but I guess it was kind of necessary in the grand scheme of things. This book wasn't completely realistic to me though and kind of reminded me of a Soap Opera sometimes. It got too dramatic too fast and the conversations seemed a bit too formal. Finally, there were a few plot holes that I wish were filled.

Last Regress delved into the possibility that what we think is on the "other side" may well be nothing like what really is on the other side. It theorized that love can still be found after death and that there are more forces at work in the world than we actually know. I would suggest it to those that like creepy terror style books. It's not terribly scary, but if you're one of those people who are deathly afraid of the dark. I'd suggest you don't read it. My score is 2.5 stars.


Anonymous said...

When you review a book you don't enjoy,I find that I don't quite get the same enjoyment out of the review. I guess that kind of makes me a homer, but he best part about the review for me, is your passion and the good vibes you give off. So when you don't like a book, it's almost if I can feel your disdain transfered to me through some blogaspheric umbilical cord (hows that for some fancy smacny made up bs analytical talk haha). I just wanted to say I don't like how its tast, yuuck. But That's not to say it was a bad review, because it was, or to stop posting the bad ones, it's just an interesting observation.

Anyways, I'm going to get to my point, and I hope you respond to me one way or another. All I want to know is why you felt that "Nathaniel" specifically was


Anonymous said...

A major error I must correct.

I did not mean to write "because it was". I meant to say "But that's not to say it was a bad review, because it wasn't"


Lan said...

Props for being so honest Sherre. You know how I feel about honest reviews and the service they provide to the book reading community. Unlike me, when you don't really enjoy a book you can still review it in a positive light. I really admire that. I probably wouldn't have read this one anyway because of the ghostly aspect but I think you've been impartial enough that you don't actively dissuade other people from reading it.

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