Odder Still – eARC Review

Title: Odder Still
Author: D.N. Bryn
Series/Number: No Man’s Lander #1
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Adult
Publication Date: June 9, 2022
Publisher: The Kraken Collective
Themes: Capitalism, Class divide, Selkies, Underwater City, MM Romance, LGBTQ+ rep, Disability rep, Trans rep, Depression, Alcohol Consumption

Synopsis:

Rubem of No-Man’s Land was content keeping to his wine, his pets, and his extensive collection of fishnets.

But since a sentient, fuel-producing parasite bonded to his brainstem, every morally-depraved scientist and hardcore rebel for a hundred miles wants to ruthlessly dissect him. The parasite itself is no better, influencing his emotions and sassing him with his own memories as it slowly takes over his body.

The only person offering Rubem help is Tavish K. Findlay, a dashing and manipulative philanthropist whose mother’s fuel company monopolizes their corrupt underwater city with an iron claw. She desperately wants to tear Rubem apart for the parasite before those who oppose her can do the same. Her son is irresistibly charismatic though, and after a lifetime of being kicked out and disavowed, Rubem is desperate to believe in the friendship Tavish offers.

With revolutionary plots and political schemes tangling his every choice, Rubem must soon decide whether or not to trust Tavish in his fight against the parasite’s growing control.

Odder Still is a M/M fantasy novel with a class-crossing slow burn romance, murderous intrigue, and a Marvel’s Venom-style parasite-human friendship in an underwater steampunk city. This book exist in the wider These Treacherous Tides universe, coming chronologically after Once Stolen, but it is the first book in the No-Man’s Lander series and is an easy entry point into the world. Each No-Man’s Lander book has a romantically fulfilling ending and a final HEA, with steamy thoughts and foreplay but no explicit sex. (For more information on reading order, please visit D.N. Bryn’s website.)

Content warnings include alcohol consumption and animal death.

Thank you to D.N. Bryn for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

D.N. Bryn has done it again and given me a queer fantasy book that I absolutely adored. Odder Still is like an underwater revolution adventure that is messy and complicated and frustrating in all the right ways. I honestly loved it so much and am so happy to have read it.

I adore Rubem, but the poor man needs a hug. He has been through so much shit in his life and the hits just keep coming for him. He’s complicated and not always making good or right decisions, but I loved watching him grow over the course of the book and start making decisions with a different motivation in mind at the end. The book starts off with a pretty dramatic beginning and meeting of Rubem and Tavish and it just keeps on going.

There is so much mystery and intrigue in this book. I could feel the moving parts behind all the action and situations Rubem kept getting into. It felt like there was a whole world behind the main plot that was moving along regardless of what Rubem and Tavish did. It was really cool to feel like things were happening and would continue to happen, no matter what choice Rubem made. This made the stakes feel higher, because his choices could actually effect the outcome.

I also loved Tavish. Though he came from a higher class, he was trying to do his best, and he was also incredibly kind and caring. I loved the discussions of class, resources, development, and wealth within the story. It was really interesting to see the characters struggle with their decisions and the impact they had on the greater population. I thought the action was really amazing and heart wrenching at the same time. I was so scared for the characters at some parts and it was stressing me out. There were also some beautiful moments between the characters and Rubem himself about changing, being more and better than your past. There are also discussions of abandonment and depression that I think were really nice and really interesting. I really enjoyed watching Rubem learn from his experiences and his parasite.

Overall, I loved this book so much. I highly recommend reading it and all the other books by D.N. Bryn to fantasy readers.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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