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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Variance: Raise Your Weapon by Josen Llave is a compelling sci-fi novel that features a complex plot and sophisticated characters. The Utopian race is a group of immortals who live in love and peace. Their world is perfect, one would say, but then it is suddenly threatened by alien scouts. The man behind the threats is Shadow, a merciless and selfish man bent on eliminating the Utopian race. He is the one considered the game Master of the Divine Might and this gladiator game could be the only way for the Utopians to protect themselves. Now a hero emerges in Paul Benedict, a man who is determined to protect his family from aliens and who invents a nonlethal battle suit to help against all attacks. Now, he must earn protection for his race by trumping the game. Can he survive the complexities of the game and prevent the worst form of tragedy from happening to his kind?
The story starts with the intriguing, captivating, and dramatic statement that immediately introduces the reader to the conflict and the tense atmosphere within which the action takes place: “He was the only Utopian traveling toward danger. He should not have been there.” The action begins from this point and there is no slowing down. I enjoyed the fact that the author wastes no time in introducing the reader to the protagonist and his world. The setting is like no place I have ever imagined nor come close to imagining, but it feels strangely familiar, the kind of world we sometimes visit in our dreams after an exciting experience. Josen Llave’s prose is excellent and readers will enjoy how the author captures dramatic moments in the story, explores the depth of his characters, and builds the conflict that drives the plot. Variance: Raise Your Weapon is a fascinating story, delightful and with a satisfying ending. A masterpiece!