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Friday, December 19, 2014

Kalahari Jessica Khoury *ARC Review*

If you're wondering whether the third novel in the Corpus 'series' is worth your while, even if you perhaps disliked either Vitro or Origin...YES, yes it is. This story will seize your heart (and possibly make your blood pressure spike on occasion).

*I received access to an e-galley through Penguin's First to Read program. Woot woot!*

Before you dive into Kalahari, it'd be a good idea to block off a solid chunk of do-not-disturb-unless-there's-a-fire reading time, because this novel's too good to put down. 

I started reading during naptime at work (about an hour), and after I got off work, I read...and then, well, dinner and stuff...and then I read more. I finished just shy of midnight because it was just too compelling to save for tomorrow. 

I was torn as to whether or not this would be my new favorite novel from Khoury because, while it definitely surpassed Vitro in my eyes (though I enjoyed Vitro immensely), Origin has a special place in my heart. As I debated the why-I-love-these-books-and-don't-know-which-I-love-more, I came to realize I love both equally for different reasons. 

I love Origin because it blends sci-fi and fantasy seamlessly—the ideas, the themes, the prose and the's the wonder of it all that made me fall in love with it.  

I love Kalahari because the sci-fi edge is cutting, because the plot is riveting, and because I connected deeply with these characters and journeyed through the desert (oops, I mean...semi-desert) with them hoping they were all going to make it despite the treacherous landscape and deadly wildlife. And, as always, the prose is beyond brilliant. 

In her previous novels, I perceived Khoury's character-building to be acceptable, but not anything particularly remarkable (T_T sorry). But in Kalahari, I felt her characters were operating on a completely different level. These characters will surprise you. If you've read the sample chapters, you may be, no they won't. But trust me. They will. This includes villains. 

I suppose it's odd to have a sense of pride as a reader, but I do. Khoury earned it, big time.

There are few instances I've felt such a sense of presence while reading a novel. I have an uncanny ability to 'disappear' into a world, into a character's mindset, and live that out while I'm reading (I say uncanny because I often take on the attributes of a character while reading, even if I'm taking a break to cook dinner or something. I just get really into it I guess lol)...but I've never been so thoroughly invested as I was while reading Kalahari. 

It was really weird...and totally cool...when I took a human needs break and seriously thought I was in the middle of the Kalahari (despite my surroundings). *Mini spoiler, yet not spoiler:* I even thought for a second after scratching that I'd been infected, horror included, until I looked in the mirror and realized, 'Oh yeah. I was just reading.' It was a lot like when you have a dream but aren't really sure if it WAS a dream because it was so real.

Yeah. I know it's hard to understand how in the world that even happened...but I'm telling you, Khoury almost literally brings the Kalahari to life. 

My favorite part of the novel wasn't the incredible prose, the gorgeous—and deadly—setting, the breakneck—and crazy suspenseful—plot, but the relationship Sarah had with her mother. Khoury dedicated this novel to her mother...and if I was her mother, I'd be more than honored to know how much love is displayed in these pages. The bond Sarah shared with her mother—it's not something you could understand without having experienced it. I envied and delighted in their connection, and loved that her mother's wisdom and joy was woven into the plot and the relationships (platonic and otherwise). 

Kalahari is utterly astounding—put it on your tbr shelf if you haven't, and go get this book!!

Final Verdict: 

(Fyi: A sneak peek or two of Kalahari is available on Wattpad!)

About the Author

Jessica Khoury wrote her first book at age 4, a fan fic sequel to Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur, which she scribbled on notebook paper, stapled together, and placed on the bookshelf of her preschool classroom. Since that day, she's dreamed of being an author.

When not writing, Jess enjoys spending time with family, playing video games, and traveling the world in search of stories and inspiration. 
Jess currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina. She is the author of Origin, Vitro, and forthcoming Kalahari.

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