4 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of Life’s Defeat by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
Upon her parents’ death, a young girl is taken in by StPatrick, the headmaster of a private school. The inside of the school’s walls is all she’s ever known, so when she is recruited to become a soldier for her school at a young age, she agrees. On one particular mission, the soldier comes face to face with Rochester, whose evil knows no bounds.
The soldier gets a small taste of freedom before being sucked back into military life and ultimately captured. She learns just how different she is from others while in Rochester’s captivity, and while most would say her abilities are a blessing, she views them as a curse. Once saved by her friend and a band of soldiers from her former school, the soldier finally has a purpose in life: seeking revenge on Rochester. But in the end, that revenge could prove her ultimate demise.
Life’s Defeat is an intriguing thriller. This is the author’s first novel, and I have to say I’m impressed. This story is completely different from anything else I’ve read. To start with, we never learn the main character’s name, even though the story is told in first person point of view by her. I kept thinking I missed something, but the author purposely did not give us her name. She was a soldier, and that pretty much defined her throughout the book.
The soldier had a genetic anomaly that kept her from dying, but she was unaware of this mutation until she was captured by Rochester. One would typically think this would be a good thing, but Rochester used this against her. Not only was he searching for the secret to this mutation so he could build his own army of undefeatable soldiers, but he also tortured the soldier to her breaking point, hoping she would become part of his team. The soldier’s inner thoughts were fascinating as we watched her personality essentially split into two throughout her captivity, and to see how she processed events and reacted to them was remarkable.
The book was also unique in that it focused solely on the soldier. There was a romantic interest, a father-figure, a villain, and a few other characters who played parts in the story, but they were secondary to everything the soldier was going through. Even the villain, the mastermind behind the soldier’s torture and repeated deaths, felt like a minor character compared to the soldier’s reaction to each of the events.
Although fascinating and well-written, the story did drag in a few places. I didn’t mind the gruesome nature of the soldier’s repeated deaths—be warned if that’s not your thing—but at times I felt as if we saw too many of them and the story could have moved forward without them. There were some minor editing errors, though they didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. There were also some inconsistencies in the timeline of when she became a soldier and rose through the ranks.
Overall, this was a wonderful debut novel, and I look forward to reading more by this author.