Omega

Omega

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Omega, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel mini-series, Omega Beginnings. You can read my review of these short stories [here].

Omega was written by popular indie author Lizzy Ford and is due for release at the end of this month. It’s a dystopian fantasy story set in a world when Greek Gods still meddle in the affairs of man. Omega is the first part of a planned trilogy and will be followed by two sequels – Theta (2016) and Alpha (2017). It also has a prequel mini-series which consists of eight short stories, collectively titled Omega Beginnings.

Ever since she was a little girl, Alessandra has been kept hidden from the rest of the world. Sheltered by priests, she has been trained in secret by Herakles to be able to survive any kind of adversary. As her eighteenth birthday looms, she is full of nothing but worry. Her nymph friends are all already preparing to enter employment but Lyssa doesn’t know if she will ever be free.

The decision is made for her when their home is attacked in the night and burned to the ground. Before they too are killed, the priests finally reveal the truth to Lyssa. She is the next Oracle of Delphi and only she has the power to return the world the Old Ways – how it was before the Gods came. Fleeing from her home, Lyssa finds herself in the care of Niko, a mercenary, but quickly comes to realise that he’s not the kind of man that she can trust.

It is not long before she discovered that Herakles has been captured and taken to Washington DC. With no one else left to turn to, Lyssa heads after him in the naïve hope that he can be rescued. However, her upbringing has not prepared her for the real world. What she finds is a land torn by war and a tempestuous political system that hinges on the conflict between the three members of the Triumvirate. In such a world, Lyssa’s safety is not assured and she needs to learn who she can trust quickly if she doesn’t want to meet a fate worse than death…

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When I reviewed Omega Beginnings last month, I questioned whether or not it was necessary to read it to fully understand Omega. Now that I’ve finished the novel, I’m still uncertain as to what the ideal reading order would be. It’s clear that Omega does stand-alone pretty well, helped by a time-skip of about twelve years, and so I wouldn’t necessarily say that you need to read the prequel series to understand this novel.

That said, not everything that occurs in Omega Beginnings is referenced in this novel, particularly with regards to Lantos and Cleon, and so you’d probably appreciate this novel a lot more if you were already familiar with the shorts. Yet, unfortunately, if you’ve read the shorts you also are left with a pretty good idea of who Lyssa can trust and so some of the surprise betrayals of Omega aren’t that effective. I leave this decision up to the reader, though if you do decided to read Omega before Beginnings, I’d be curious to hear how you found it.

With that out of the way, let’s focus on the story of Omega itself. The novel is actually very well written. The advanced copy that I read had very few typographical errors and those that remained were mainly misspellings of character names (e.g. Leandra occasionally became Leanne) which hopefully will have been amended by the time this is published. The story is nicely paced, balancing action and political intrigue very well, and I found myself getting more and more invested in the plot and characters as the story progressed.

However I did have some small gripes, which I’ll quickly get out of the way before I talk about the good things. My primary issue with the story is purely personal. I’ve been a big fan of Greek mythology since I was a little girl and some of the errors in the legends were a little distracting for me. I’m not sure if the author intentionally changed the myths (though if this is the case I struggle to see a reason for it) or if it was just a lack of research but it just sometimes drew my attention from the action. Things like stating that Bellerophon rode on the Pegasus to slay Cereberus (it was actually the Chimera) or saying that manticores are male sphinxes (although the famous sphinx from the Oedipus story is female, they can be either) were just weird little errors to have in a story about Greek mythology.

The other thing that I found with this story is that it focused far more on the characters than it did the world as a whole. While this, again, isn’t necessarily an issue (I personally really like character driven things), I didn’t really get a feel as to what the world was like as a whole. We’re given the general impression that the world lies in ruins – that five years of war against the Gods have pretty much destroyed most major cities and left the survivors in poverty – but we never really see it. As most of the novel is either set in the woods or the palaces of the fabulously wealthy, we only see the bigger picture through tiny glimpses and exposition.

However, as a political story, Omega works incredibly well. The novel puts Lyssa at the mercy of three different people – the Supreme Priest (who commands a Gestapo-esque police force called SISA), the Supreme Magistrate (a human politician who simply wants to maintain the status quo) and the Silent Queen (who seems at a first glance to be lesser of three evils). Each of these individuals is constantly trying to one-up the others and has their own selfish reasons for wanting the Oracle’s power under their control. While I won’t spoil anything for you be revealing too much about  their inner machinations, it’s needless to say that most of the story is taken up by Lyssa trying to determine who (if anyone) she can trust.

At its heart, Omega is a very character driven story. The central cast is made up of the eight individuals who were introduced in Omega Beginnings – Lyssa, Adonis, Phoibe, Lantos, Theodocia, Niko, Cleon and Herakles. While some of these characters get a little more development than others, it was interesting to see how each of them had changed in the years since Beginnings. It was particularly nice to see that Cleon succeeded in his power grab because, as I noted in my previous review, I previously felt that he wasn’t as tightly involved in the plot as some of the other characters.

Ford is at her best when she’s writing characters. Each of them spoke with unique voices and had their individual set of goals, alliances and rivalries. Although the core cast was rather large, I never once felt lost within the story. It was easy to keep track of everyone’s whereabouts and politics and I was left wanting to find out more about each of them. Like what would happen if Mismatch finally returned for Phoibe or if anything would come from Dosy’s evident attraction towards Herakles. There is certainly a lot of room for these characters to be developed further over the rest of the trilogy.

Particularly, the novel focuses on the relationship between Lyssa and Adonis which is just perfect. I actually really liked the way that their amnesia plot developed, with both of them being drawn to each other but initially being confused as to why. This is particularly testing for Lyssa who can’t understand why she’s attracted to a mass-murderer. While their relationship never really blossoms into romance, I found myself really hoping that it would. Unlike a lot of young adult pairings, I genuinely could see Lyssa and Adonis together. They had history, they had chemistry and they had a dash of sexiness. I do hope that something more comes of this in Theta.

So, all in all, Omega is a pretty strong start for the series. Although I have a few small issues, I did really get into the story on the whole and I started to feel for the characters. While I’m still of two-minds with regards to the reading order, I would certainly recommend this series to fans of urban fantasy stories. I have really high expectations of where this story will head in book two and I definitely want to look at more of Ford’s work in the future.

I also feel that I should note that the author is going to be given all proceeds from Omega‘s pre-orders to charity. The charity in question is going to be decided by her fans over the novel’s release week. For more information, you might want to keep an eye on Ford’s website which can be found [here].

Omega is due for release on 26th October and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon.co.uk

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Giselle
    Oct 02, 2015 @ 13:52:08

    This sounds like an entertaining and solid first book! Glad you liked, Kim! Wonderful review!

    Reply

  2. lizzyford
    Oct 02, 2015 @ 18:07:52

    This is such an amazing and thoughtful write up. Thank you so much, Kim! I really appreciate it! ❤ *hugs*

    Reply

  3. Trackback: The Sobeks – Part 4 | Arkham Reviews

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