Books, Sci-Fi

The Original, The Trials of Sara Larkin, Book 1: Rebirth – a fun read that I couldn’t put down

The blurb:

The Original is the story of Sara Larkin, an actress who thought her career in Hollywood was on the slide. Then she kills herself, some mysterious people dispose of the body, and she gets on with life as someone else. At first everything improves. She gets a good role in a major movie, Assassinelle, and soon she is on the way to becoming a superstar.

All the while she is becoming less human… people called the Overlords are still trying to kill her, but the Klassnys have sent the deadly and psychopathic Doctor Svetlana to protect her. It is vital to the Klassnys that both Assassinelleand Sara become major hits. As the movie nears completion, a shadowy war between the Klassnys and Overlords erupts. Sara’s is caught in the middle, and neither side seems to be the good guys.

“The Original” is about movies and acting, but touches on high fashion, martial arts, science fiction and emergency medical procedures. It is fast moving and compelling thriller, with flashes of comedy set against desperate and deadly struggles between the Klassnys and Overlords. It has an appeal to a very wide audience, and contains some rare and honest insights into the real Hollywood.

I’m going to be honest with you here, I picked up the first of the Sara Larkin books for one reason:

The $10 spent on the ebook went straight to Claudia Christian’s C3 Foundation.

I’m not overly fond of first person novels as a rule (which is ironic because I love autobiographies). I find they can do one of two things to my brain, try and put me as the lead and fail, or detach me from the characters. I was pleasantly surprised to find that neither of these things happened in reading The Original. I enjoyed the pathos of the novel, the subtle hints at things from the author’s past (one of which will surprise and make any Babylon 5 fan smile, but I’m not about to spoil that beautiful little gem).

I’m sitting here trying to not give away too much of the book and yet I want to rave about the little details that make it so very worth reading. Sara’s progression through the pages of the novel endeared her more to me than I thought would happen. Reading everything in her perspective ran the danger of annoying me but in this instance it added to story. As readers, we like Sara, are new to the world she finds herself inhabiting and reading from her perspective enhanced that.

We are presented with a fairly regular main cast in the book and each of them probably deserves their own special mention but then that would give far too much away. I was pleasantly surprised by the character of Svetlana. She provides perhaps some of the most intense moments, but also some wonderful comic relief. The final chapter of the book had my stomach in my throat as I read what was happening with her. To me that’s a sign of a well written character.  The incidental characters had enough flesh to be remembered as more than just extras along the way (something that can happen with the best of writers), and I’m pretty sure Vlad could have an entire book of his own.

The action scenes were well written and the tension was kept in each of them. Claudia has the ability to pivot calm against mayhem and place comedy within tense moments. It makes for a very natural read and pushes the reader to keep on following Sara and the others as things take one bizarre turn after another.

I suspect that we get glints of the author both in Sara and in Svetlana. Having read Claudia’s autobiographical books (Babylon Confidential and My Life with Geeks & Freaks), I recognised the voice of the author in both characters at different points, but it only enhanced the reading.  There’s a beautiful honesty to the way Claudia writes in autobiography that carries over to her characters in this fictional piece.

My only negative is that my Nook decided to conk out and I had to finish the last paragraph on my laptop – which has nothing to do with the book itself.

I’d highly recommend this book to those who like action and those who like novels with a scientific edge.  You can only get this book as an eBook at the moment and it is only available on Claudia’s site.  All the money goes to her C3 Foundation, and you can find more information about how they are trying to get the option of The Sinclair Method of treating Alcohol Use Disorder to more people on their website.

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