Author: Tigris Eden
Genre: Sci-Fi / Dystopian YA
Date of Publication: 26th April 2016
I like my Sci-Fi gritty. That’s always been a given – whilst I love a bit of cheese when it comes to my televised Sci-Fi (think space operas), I’m a lot less tolerant when it comes to my reading. I would state that, in my opinion, Diamond does a good job of being light on the dairy.
This is dark. There’s a lot of really savage themes here which, considering the length of the book (just topping two hundred pages) and the tone (think a mix between Dredd and Mad Max in terms of world building / characters), are presented really, really well. If you have triggers for sexual abuse, this may not be a book for you. However, I would say that I personally found Eden’s exploration of sex trafficking and prostitution, in the confines of Sci-Fi, to be far and away improved from other books I’ve read attempting the same.
I was definitely not expecting to be reading a book which looked so starkly at a potential world which accepted this as run of the mill. What made me feel the content was well placed was two fold; Eden writes the material un-apologetically, and she writes it without making it sexy. Sure, when our main character sees a man’s sizeable man parts, she takes a second glance. When the same man insists on entering a shower with her without her permission, she is suitably uncomfortable and unappreciative. I know that this sounds fairly elementary – but dear reader, I’m afraid to say that usually it’s not. People taking advantage of each other through sex is something which is romanticised so much in fiction. To see what I felt was a logical (as far as the dystopian world allowed) divergence of that was something I was really pleased to see.
I’ve never read anything by Tigris Eden before, but she is a great writer. Considering how much happened in such a short number of pages, her pacing was really great. In fact, I would argue that another fifty pages could have laid out some really great character development, which could have elevated this read for me further. I was a little thrown by the amount of characters introduced at once; especially Diamond’s gang, who (except Emerald who is my not so secret favourite) seemed to largely serve very similar roles. I don’t think merging a couple of erroneous characters together would have hurt – but saying that, their multitudinous nature didn’t offend me either. Those extra pages could also have connected events a little more smoothly – towards the end I definitely felt that a little more string to connect the dots would have aided the rhythm of the read.
My only other critique would be that, now this debut is out of the way, I am looking for a little more “show don’t tell” in later installments. I often bang on about this in reviews, but for the uninitiated; I have a low tolerance for lots of inner monologue exposition about fictitious historical events. There were a couple of occasions here where what begins as a character’s internal observation quickly morphs into a history of post-comet-Earth. I understand that this is often unavoidable. However, a way to enhance the story would be to find ways to insert some of these revelations to the reader (but not to the characters who have lived through it) into plot, dialogue – or a mixture of the both.
I liked Nadya as a main character; her strength and pride really made me want to root for her throughout. I felt like she sometimes lost track of herself and her goals (though this can be put down to various memory issues, as outlined in the book – read if you want to know more!!) and could forgive that. Her interactions with Diamond were largely relatable, considering the situation. Diamond was also great – every time Eden shined a glimmer of humanity on him, she was sure to remind me a paragraph later that he was a piece of shit who dealt in prostitution and human organs; and despite everything, that was not looking likely to change. Having a character who was unflinchingly bad whilst also showing (very) select good traits, worked brilliantly to highlight both Nadya’s character, and the motives and ethics of those around him.
I could probably talk about this book for another hundred paragraphs, but I think a summing up is in order. Diamond, as I imagined upon first requesting it via Netgalley, seems like any other YA Sci-Fi. I think those low expectations really allowed me to see that there’s so, so much more here than meets the eye. A strong female character, a great introduction to a new dystopian world and an enjoyable, often intelligent, read. I’m definitely on board to further installments.