Spoiler Alert: The Vrai Domicile is a second in series. Certain details of The Sixth Domicile will be in the following review.
Q437B, known as “Q” by only her Grandmother and B, had felt the open air and the sun on her face. She had restored that which she was deprived of since birth, choice. Her example, of love and happiness by those choices, sparked dissension amongst the residents of the Domicile. In doing so, she had cast her entire fate into the wind.
The Elders of the Domicile would make sure she would pay with her life. As Q is being dragged to the Muerte, the execution chamber reserved for incurable dissenters, she is actually somewhat relieved to have had some true happiness in her existence before reaching the end. Only in her last moments does she see the end result of her actions.
Being unwilling to die with the mark and method of her subjugation, Q removes her mask in defiance. This ignites the observing crowd. Q is dazzled by a sea of beautiful faces, their removed masks showing a multitude of skin tones, as they shout “Down with the Domicile!” This is the last she hears before being plunged into darkness, to her death. Seeing the beginning of the revolt, and knowing that her sacrifice enabled it, made the short end to her life feel well worth it.
The Elders, in all their “graciousness,” have deprived both Q and the dissidents. Q would not be having a short or merciful end; they had other plans for her. Q suspects that the resistance has lost momentum because the Elders have kept her alive. What else would they need her for?
Waking in the foreign landscape of the Vrai Domicile, Q's selfish desires war with a more pressing need. She also tries to determine the allegiances of the people pushing her in an undesirable direction, with only “not everything is as it seems” as a hint as to what she should be doing and who she can trust.
A digital edition of this book was provided in exchange for a fair review.
What I liked about this book
Like the first in this series, I enjoyed the provocative social narrative and visceral details. Click HERE to see the review of The Sixth Domicile and for more about the author.
Improved Writing Skill
In reading The Vrai Domicile it is evident that Ruggles has grown as an author. This is not to say that The Sixth Domicile was in any way a poor writing. The word selection shows a greater maturity as thoughts and meanings are not only given with precision, but potently convey implications. As Q became aware of the happenings outside of her once narrow perspective she became less obsessive and cyclical with her thought patterns. At least this is what I had assumed about the apparent redundancy of the first book. While it is unknown whether the repetition was intentional or not, The Vrai Domicile breaks free of this tendency and serves as a developmental milestone for Ruggles and/or Q.
Whether it was physical training, the operation of weapons, or the thoughts that can be created by sterile environment, Ruggles has given consideration to these aspects.
When Q was getting a crash course on Guerrier (soldier) training, I was taken back to my own days in military service. The burning muscles, people vomiting during a hard run, and the mental precipice are all very familiar. Given that she had never trained before, her experience was even more believable.
While her weapons training did not go into great detail, the parts which were included are the very things I would expect during pistol training. Such as stance and sighting. Other details, such as the trigger still being able to depress with the safety on, were nice to see.
The inside of the Vrai Domicile could be described as sterile. Everything from the ceilings and walls to the furniture is white. Even the people and their clothes are described by Q as smelling “sterile.” This sterility is employed as a means of psychological conditioning. This bland monotony stifles the evocation of creative thought, while the suppressed scents goes further to strip individuality. I found myself readily able to relate to her reactions to this environment.
I had before referred to this as an “Underdeveloped Climax,” but in this instance I see it's complete intention. So often in the everyday life one can attempt to be prepared and anticipate the moment at which action is required, only to find that a moments notice is all the warning they may have. This is true in Q's case. The ending is not as rapid as the first, but it definitely takes a sudden plunge into a complete adrenaline rush after Q makes a somewhat unexpected decision that forces everybody into action.
What I disliked about this book
This was a great cliffhanger, and I am miserable because of it. While it is a positive attribute of any book in a series, I still dislike it. So it is being mentioned, because the anticipation is agonizing. Spoiler: At the end we are left with a few motionless bodies, and enough blood and gunshots to be certain that at least one or two are dead, but no indication as to which.
I will admit that it was rather late (yes, this kept me up) when I read this part, so that might have played a part in my following criticism. In the middle of the dream scene I went back to the beginning of the chapter make sure I hadn't skipped over a page because it was somewhat confusing. But, I suppose dreams rarely make sense.
I love books! For most of my life I have been reading them, and giving my insights to friends and family. This blog is for sharing that passion with the many others that love books too.