The Last Death of Tev Chrisini by Jennifer Bresnick
Review by Jasper de Joode
Tev Chrisini is a soldier who can’t die, caught in the middle of a war that won’t end. Unable to discover the cause of his unique and puzzling condition, Tev has spent the last five hundred years living in the shadows, trying to avoid the notice of the two rival powers that dominate the bitterly divided political landscape, which would do anything for the slightest advantage.
After a crushing defeat and an unexpected truce with their age-old enemy, Tev and his friend Lerien, an intelligence agent with a grim past, are sent on a seemingly simple mission with a delegation of peace.
Their errand takes a turn for the worse when Cerawen, a calculating young woman with her own agenda traveling under their protection, flees their care with a wanted murderer.
Her defection sets them on an increasingly perilous path into strange and unfriendly lands, on a race against dark forces, to find a weapon capable of unparalleled destruction that could bring about the end of the war and unlock the secrets of Tev’s identity – and the keys to his future.
Stories featuring immortals can, in my opinion, go one of two ways. They can either be funny, focussing on the humorous side of being immortal or be played completely straight and serious. This book falls into the latter category.
The Last Death of Tev Chrisini is a good story and in the opening chapters Tev and his friend Lerien are introduced, while serving for the army of Ikeli. What I liked straight away was the way in which Tev reacted to certain aspects of army life, mainly the gambling. He is one of those guys who hardly ever wins but that doesn’t really matter and this is where his past comes into play. What would you do if you were immortal? Stack up a huge pile of money of course. So in his life span so far he has stored up numerous hidden caches of money.
There then follows more explanation about Tev and why he choose to become a soldier. These reasons are credible to say the least and I chuckled when I read the “and once in a while I can die an heroic death” line. These kind of aspects regarding an immortal person were nice to read about. And then, after the introduction of Tev, and the other main character, the story suddenly takes a turn. While the introduction was easy to read, the storyline suddenly became too heavy for me, and at times I found it hard to plough through. The heaviness of the storyline for me was mostly due the extensive world building and the following of -for a first novel – too many characters and I was increasingly thankful that the glossary was there. Looking at the additional characters, they each add their own input into the story and every character’s intentions were clear but that is where it ended. The characters Lerien and Denach had a somewhat clear history but the other characters were a little one-dimensional. Allowing for a little more character development would have added more depth to an already exceptionally well build world.
The plot went at a steady pace but I did not experience any sudden twists and turns and the book did not have the strongest ending I have ever read. The Last Death of Tev Chrisini is an interesting read but felt rather heavy at certain points. I can recommend it due to the sheer depth of world building which was done brilliantly. What I do hope to see in future books is a balance between the world and character building and less lengthy and heavy sentences, which would make for an easier, more enjoyable read.
Mark N. from USA
I thought this was good, especially for a free dl. The characters were fun to read about and I liked the ending a lot actually. Sad but I think it fits what happened and yeah there were a few twists even if they weren't huge. Wish I could give it an 8.5.
Barbie from USA
I have to disagree with this rating. This is a wonderfully crafted story, intelligently and sensitively told. I'm grateful that good wins out over evil in the end; so much contemporary literature is depressing and has no moral compass. All fantasy literature has "world building" and has to introduce characters, and this one was no different. It was done in an intelligent, charming and at times witty way. I did not feel that any character was incomplete in his or her psychology or motives, and the plot and dialog support that very well. I believe this reviewer either didn't have the patience or the time to carefully enjoy the prose and the plot of this book. I have to wonder how this reviewer would rate War and Peace - too wordy, too many characters, etc..?
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