Fiction - Dystopia
364 Pages
Reviewed on 04/10/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Venge by Will Isenberg is a spellbinding thriller with a dystopian setting and a plot that stands out in its originality. Lemma is a death insurance broker in the black market and she is good at her work. Clients are guaranteed revenge should anyone hurt or kill them. But her dream is to be an assassin, yet her boss does not want to promote her. When she discovers that people are dying in bizarre ways, her curiosity is aroused and she also gets the opportunity to prove herself. She is asked to investigate the deaths but she has a problem in hand — Milligram, a neighbor for whom she works as a caretaker, helping him move around on crutches and attending to his other needs. How can she solve the crimes while protecting Milligram and keeping her secret job hidden from him?

A perfect read for young adult fans, Venge is furiously paced and it crackles with excitement. Lemma is an unusual character, a young woman with incredible sales skills. She is intelligent, and the fact that she yearns to be a detective and an assassin portrays the harsh and dangerous dystopian world she has grown up in. The world-building is excellently accomplished and while it is not a world that resembles ours in any way, Will Isenberg makes it feel real, writing locales that readers can easily imagine and characters that fit perfectly into that world. While the plot is clever and twisty, the element that grabbed my attention is the author’s ingenuity when it comes to humorous scenes and readers will adore the way the relationship between the female protagonist and her crippled client is written. Will Isenberg is a master entertainer with unique storytelling skills.

Ruffina Oserio

Venge by Will Isenberg is a spellbinding thriller with a dystopian setting and nuanced characters. Lemma Quartz lives in a dangerous world and she sells Death Insurance on the black market, insurance that ensures policy holders are avenged if someone hurt or killed them. She has a front, Milligram, to whom she is a caregiver. But she has bigger ambitions: She wants to be an assassin and investigator herself. So, when an opportunity is offered for her to investigate bizarre deaths, she is sure it is the one chance to prove herself and get the role she has wanted all along. The problem is how to complete this assignment without Milligram finding out what she really does, and how can she protect him from those she works for?

Venge is humorous, well-plotted, and fast-paced. Will Isenberg not only writes an intriguing tale with a fascinating setting but is also good at infusing it with humor that is rare. From the naming of the characters to writing focused and humorous scenes, Will Isenberg comes across as a master storyteller. From the beginning, when I met Silver, Ponytail, and Piercings singing without harmony, I was interested to see what would happen to these seemingly happy-go-lucky guys, little knowing that the author intended to set them up, a ploy to introduce the protagonist. An appalling event draws people out of their homes to look in horror. Then they meet Lemma, and everything changes from there. The plot is twisty, and the reader can’t tell what the author plans next. Lemma and Milligram are a pair that is perfectly written and their professional relationship augments the strength of the plot while deepening character. Venge is a rollicking tale of murder and crime in a dystopian setting that is vividly painted, a world you don’t want to live in but can’t help but watch in amazement.

Pikasho Deka

Venge is a dystopian thriller and the debut novel of author Will Isenberg. Lemma Quartz is a contractor for Balkon Death Insurance Agency, which protects its members by using the threat of retribution against their attackers in place of a fixed payment. Citizens have no choice but to rely on private death insurance firms as the state law enforcement agencies are corrupt and unwilling to protect their citizens. After the murder of popular CEO Wade Syan under mysterious circumstances, Lemma finds herself neck-deep in a deeper conspiracy involving corrupt officials, religious institutions that render their followers disabled, and a deadly virus. Things get further complicated when a man shielded by Axiom is murdered by a Balkon agency member while Lemma is approached by a man known as Haydis Donovez.

Venge is an absorbing page-turner of a novel set in a dystopian society where protection can only be acquired by relying on professional goons. Will Isenberg's debut installment knocks it out of the park with a wildly entertaining premise, an intricate plot, and morally grey characters who you're never sure which side of the fight they will end up on. Lemma is an anti-hero with a well-developed backstory that makes you sympathize with her actions and motives. I also found myself deeply invested in the side characters such as Milligram and Nadia. The plot moves at a blistering pace, and the twists and turns of the story keep your eyes glued to the pages. I enjoyed Venge and readily recommend it.