Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Camellia Resistance by A.R. Williams

Title: The Camellia Resistance
Author: A.R. Williams
Genre: Dystopian, Urban Fantasy

The Camellias is a trilogy set in the New Republic of America. It all starts with Willow Carlyle, a committed employee of the Ministry of Health.When she gives into temptation in the fall of 2044, she is completely unprepared for the consequences. Unemployed and isolated, Willow struggles to make sense of her sudden downfall. An encounter with a member of the Camellias, a resistance group living outside the bounds of Ministry-approved regulation, immerses her in a world she didn't know existed.As Willow learns more about her personal history, she uncovers a secret that rocks the Ministry of Health to its core.


Had it been yesterday? No, more than that. The conference started on Monday, she’d met Ven on Tuesday and now it was Friday morning. In three days, she’d gone from Willow Jane Carlyle, keeper of rules, writer of policy and regulation to this wanton, wild-haired thing she barely recognized. She hadn’t even bothered with the blow dryer or straightener for the past two days. She flexed her muscles and stretched. The bruise on her hip ached, but even that held a certain sweetness. A clumsy misstep over some wires, vertigo, the sharp edge of the vendor’s table, and Ven’s un-gloved hand at her bare elbow. That’s all it took.
It was clear she needed the steadying once she looked up into his eyes, as if the shock of his skin on hers wasn’t sufficient to knock the wind out of her. Her mouth had opened and closed, like a fish in an aquarium, but no words came out.
“Well, hello.” He spoke like he’d been waiting to meet her. Like they were long-lost childhood sweethearts, meeting again for the first time in years. “Um,” she’d said in return, blushing. “Are you okay?” She’d watched his mouth make the words, she’d heard his voice as he said them, but he hadn’t let go of her elbow and that was all she could absorb. She looked down at the edges of his nails, cut close, clean and naked, the pads of his fingers still pressed against her skin. “Oh, sorry.” He dropped her elbow abruptly, apologetic at the social gaffe, but not before she’d caught a glimpse of the bare skin at the base of his thumb. A clean slate.
When she looked up again, he was looking right at her. At her. Not her hand, not her swaddled curves, but at her. It was brand new. She wasn’t the kind of woman men approached. It was a self-reinforcing fact. She didn’t smile at strangers and only looked people in the eye when she had to. She wasn’t ugly, but she didn’t have “it,” whatever the “it” was: that thing that hooked a man from across the room and reeled him in. Reserve she had in spades. Analysis, observation, method. But the flirtation gene that had served her mother so well had skipped her generation. All she could do was stand there and stare. “Let’s get out of here.” He leaned over, a truant conspirator, and extended a hand. Without even thinking, she reached down, pulled off her glove, and wiped the powder and sweat on to her pants. Causal as a six-year-old, she placed her palm in his hand. He’d steered her through the trade show. They maneuvered past vendors displaying the newest in latex glove technology, body-condom manufacturers highlighting the latest in ionic anti-viral coatings, and signs announcing SaniCheck’s sponsorship of the whole affair. She didn’t even speak to the staffers at the Ministry’s public health education booth as Ven led her out the double doors and into a crowd of protesters. He’d stared at what appeared to be the leader, a vacant-eyed Asian girl with hair like an inky dynamite blast and an incongruent flower tucked behind her ear like a crumpled tissue, as if daring her to challenge him. The girl had met his eyes coolly, then waved her hand, unblinking. The crowd parted silently, and they passed through the center of the tangle of placards and slogans unmolested. Willow had turned back to look at the backs of the protesters. “There’s no vaccination for the IdeaVirus,” one sign announced as it bobbed over a hooded head. What had the weather been? Willow couldn’t remember. All of her attention had been focused on the pleasure emanating from the nerves in her palm.

The Camellia ResistanceThe Camellia Resistance by A.R. Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author for giving me this book for an honest review. I love fantasy book of all kinds, and of late, Dystopians have become a favorite among them for me. The storyline is good, and different than most since STD's play a major part in this story. The characters are well developed and written. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

View all my reviews

Author Bio

A.R. Williams is obsessed with language and myth, not just playing with words and making up stories, but with the real-world impact that the words we use have on the way we live our lives.  Words are the only things that never get boring, an endless puzzle with no right answer, and an infinite variety of ways to get wrong.  Writing is the only thing she has wanted to do consistently: other hobbies, such as sewing and photography, become alternate means to feed the writing habit. Ms. Williams feeds her obsession with curiosity: people, philosophy, technology, psychology, and culture.  Living in Washington D.C. is a good source of inspiration.  From the sublime heights of arts and achievement available for free at the Smithsonian to the bureaucratic banality of Beltway politics and scandals, it is a great city for fantasy, possibility, power, and consequence—ideal fodder for the fictional life.
As a teenager, Ms. Williams drove her parents crazy with her taste for adventure.  Her father questioned her taste in crushes once and she told him “don’t worry, it will just give me something to write about later.”  That approach eventually led to a cross-cultural marriage that failed spectacularly – not on the promise of love but on the reality of trying to negotiate contradictory assumptions about everything.  The subsequent divorce, combined with her emergence from a conservative Christian subculture, eventually evolved into the first book in the Camellia Trilogy. Ms. Williams lives in-between an ordinary external life filled with time cards, meetings, and deadlines; and an extraordinary imaginary world where anything is possible, and everything is fueled by music.  Language is our only means to bridge the distance between ourselves and others.  Imagination, the co-creation that happens between a writer and reader, is alchemy.  It is an aspiration that never gets old.
From an eclectic mix of upbringing, genetics, experience, and the best possible luck in friends and family, Ms. Williams writes with the hope of doing for others what her favorite authors did for her: provide company through difficult days and create a sense of wonder and possibility when everything seems limited by circumstances. 

Author Links

Twitter - @entrope

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