A Far Strange Country: Volume II

Feast of Consequences

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
462 Pages
Reviewed on 05/13/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Feast of Consequences is Volume 2 of A Far Strange Country by Arielle Hunter, picking up where the first volume left off. The Orion Institute at Big Sur, California is burning and illegal partygoers are scattering to the winds as the police and fire service arrive. Parker is on the run again, this time with the help of Deborah, with the FBI hot on his heels while Roxy, Shara, and Donatello all manage to escape the fire and the police. And so begins the final journey. Steven has a chance at being cured of his paralysis – will he take it? Donatello is recovering from his drug stupor and a case of poison oak and is undergoing a new treatment for his epilepsy – will it work? Will he go back to being the big movie star he once was? And where is Slovika, his put-upon wife? Will Steven win Shara back? All these questions and more are answered in Volume 2 of A Far Strange Country. The choices made in Volume I now come home to roost and the consequences must be faced.

A Feast of Consequences by Arielle Hunter is a great ending to the first volume – if you haven’t read it, don’t even think about reading this one as it won’t make any sense. In keeping with the era the book is set in, there is drug use, some soft bad language, and sexual scenes. This is another excellent novel by Arielle Hunter, one that transports you back to the 1960s. If you grew up during that era, this book will feel like you’ve come home and if you weren’t, it gives you a great snapshot of what life was like. This story is packed with action, following on neatly from the first volume and we learn more about the main protagonists as their characters are more fully developed. The story flows well and, although it jumps between characters, it is easy to keep up with and follow. Yes, there are a lot of characters but all of them have their place and their stories fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with this book – you might want to read Volume I again as a refresher first but the author does provide a decent synopsis as background.

K.C. Finn

A Far Strange Country: Volume II - Feast of Consequences is a work of fiction in the historical, interpersonal drama and socio-cultural issues sub-genres and was penned by author Arielle Hunter. Set in the year 1968, the work is recommended for more mature reading audiences due to the presence of regular drug use and abuse, as well as some mild language usage and very mild sexual references. Continuing the complex plotline from the first book in the series, the story picks up in Big Sur where many of the couples found themselves gathered for a Solstice party. In a world of free love, things are still very complicated, and a seedy underbelly of murder, intrigue, and the price of fame lies waiting to be exposed.

Author Arielle Hunter has crafted a truly epic tale that showcases the changing attitudes and ideas of a whole generation in this sweeping masterpiece of recent historical fiction. The different characters and interweaving storylines take a little while to get into, but there’s definitely something for everyone in this narrative once you get to know the whole unique gang. The highly suspicious and brilliant Parker was one of my personal favorites, but every storyline offers a deep commitment to character development by the author, along with up-close narration and telling dialogue that gives us some insight into polarized and very unusual lives at the time. Overall, I would certainly recommend A Far Strange Country: Volume II - Feast of Consequences to fans of the first book, and the series in general for readers seeking a unique ensemble cast with plenty of ups and downs.

Vincent Dublado

Much like the first volume, Book 2 of Arielle Hunter’s A Far Strange Country, Feast of Consequences, is driven by nostalgia that looks back at a time of idealism and confusion. The book picks up from where it left off after a fire at the Orion Institute in Big Sur, California. We now follow the distributed scenes of Hunter’s fascinating characters beginning with the Harpers, where Steven, who is staying with his parents, is rebuilding his life with his son, Donny. Meanwhile, Donatello Dragghi is admitted into a premier drug and alcohol treatment facility in the Bay Area where he is expected to follow the rules and to keep a low profile. Parker, the pop culture guru, is still on the run and with the help of Gregg and Deborah, tries to stay inconspicuous. This second volume ends with an intense dramatization of the connections that unite these characters.

Arielle Hunter’s nostalgia is her book’s guiding principle, perhaps even its entire philosophy. Feast of Consequences is a vivid dramatization of America’s affluence and counterculture in the post-World War 2 era, and it decisively determines the characters of the period. With a string of multiple characters, it demands total attention as it focuses on character motivation in the novel’s network of scenes. It is wistful and uncomplicated as it stretches the limits of interpersonal connections. Feast of Consequences is anchored in dialogue with an observant 'flower child' tone that synchronizes with the period of the 1960s. For all of Hunter’s demonstration of unorthodox guidelines of ethics back in the day, the novel exudes a unique attitude that is presented on its own terms.

Mamta Madhavan

A Far Strange Country: Volume II: Feast of Consequences by Arielle Hunter is set against the backdrop of San Francisco, Berkeley, Napa, Los Angeles, and the Sierra Nevada foothills of California where the stories of five different couples of different age groups and backgrounds are rolled out. The stories speak about how actions have consequences and showcase the unrest, social and generational strife, drugs, murder, and hope. The novel shows a country that is not like the previous generations and is all about the generation of hippies, LSD, flower power, free love, civil rights, gurus, psychedelic music, pop art, assassinations, marijuana, and Jesus Freaks. Whether it is Donatello Dragghi or Steven and Shara, or Deborah and the rest of the characters, the story reveals how each one pays for the consequences of their actions.

We see a Vietnam veteran paralyzed by a drug overdose, a colorful Italian actor, a cult leader rumored to be a murderer, a Native American Pentecostal preacher, a goat doctor, and a former starlet all co-existing. Arielle Hunter breathes life into the characters by giving them their own individuality and personality, making them all distinctive and memorable to readers. The author makes the narration descriptive and the vivid imagery gives a good pace and movement to the plot. There is no dull moment in Feast of Consequences as the characters and events leave readers with a sense of urgency to learn what is going to happen next. The story and the characters reflect society, and the drama clearly shows how this generation is. It is interesting to see how each one of the characters, Bob, Roxanne, Deborah, Parker, Greg, Brodie, Donatello, and Slovika, ends up in their respective lives.

Rabia Tanveer

In A Far Strange Country: Volume II - Feast of Consequences by Arielle Hunter, the story of her colorful characters continues as they face new challenges and go on the adventure called life. From a raging fire to drugs that leave the mind numb, life in 1968 is far tougher than you would expect. Steven slowly regains his life as his parents nurse him back to health. Buck and Pauline do whatever they can to keep his morale up, but things are tough. Life for others, however, doesn’t change one bit. Donatello, Bob, Shara, Roxy, Parker, Deborah, Gregg, and Slovika are all brought together. Each of them has their battle to fight and each of them has their debts to pay. When a fire ravages everything, these people have nothing left. What will they do? How will they survive?

Arielle Hunter presents a colorful ensemble of characters that are at once real yet very imaginative at the same time. The author shows a lot of potential when it comes to the narrative, the character building, development arcs, and even the dialogues. She switches up her style for each character, she makes sure each character has their distinguished style of speaking and it reflects so well in the story. The narrative is very descriptive too. I can easily picture and hear a disgruntled Bob walking away from Deborah and promising to sue her if she gives him another reason to. At times, Slovika adds the right amount of humor to cut through the tension and make the story even more interesting. The end is very fitting and very comforting too. Just knowing how the story ends for each of the characters is satisfying. The characters are chaotic at best, but they were entertaining. Their individual stories, their own struggles, are all very well-merged into the narrative. My favorite character is Donatello, but Bob comes a close second. They are something special and their growth is phenomenal. Readers who loved Volume 1 will love this one even more.