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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Ultimatum by Vladimir Jepthe Fleurisma is a dystopian science fiction novel set in the not-too-distant future after a man-made global catastrophe. The most precious natural resources have been annihilated and a massive science experiment has gone wrong, bringing with it a plague and a wholly preventable anomaly in the form of genetically modified and mutated beasts. On the brink of a new world order, the emergence of a new apex creature requires an immediate stop. Multiple characters whose points of view are delivered by an omniscient narrator form the cast around the main protagonist, a Marine named D, who is tasked with getting to Three Mile Island at any cost.
Ultimatum by Vladimir Jepthe Fleurisma reads like the love child of Mad Max, Jurassic Park, and Ready Player One, except we don't know who the father is, so they all raise it together. There is gaming, there is an alpha male and desolate landscapes, and there are mutant creatures that have no business roaming the Earth. Fleurisma's talent in this genre-bending novel lies in two main areas. The first is in his ability to craft an almost cinematic landscape whether it is an actual place or within the construct of a game. The second is the sizzle, of which there is plenty, and it's well-written. This is a behemoth of a novel but the pacing is swift so it feels quite a bit shorter. I loved the deadpan narrative and D's character, who is thoroughly developed. Those who surround him are not given any less fleshing out and the standouts were Zach and D's sometime lover, Cella. The story has about a thousand different ways it could evolve, including a prequel that would likely be just as exciting as a follow-up and I look forward to seeing where Fleurisma takes us next.