Title: The Antithesis: Book 2β (Two Beta)
Author: Terra Whiteman
Published: 19 October 2011
Publisher: 1889 Labs
Genre: genre mash-up of mythology and science fiction
Source: own copy (ebook)
My Rating: 7/10
Terra Whiteman left me dangling from another cliffhanger at the end of The Antithesis: Book 2α. I was trapped. I had to read the next instalment right away so I clicked my was over to Smashwords and bought the ebook (it’s only $2.99; money very well spent)
Note: this review contains spoilers for books 1 and 2a in the series.
Book 2β picks up a few days after the end of Book 2α. Qaira is in hospital recovering from his fall from the Archaen ship after his devastating battle with Lucifer. He managed to chop off the Archaen’s hand but also got his entire team slaughtered and would most likely have been killed too if Leid hadn’t come to save him. The battle destroyed half of Sanctum and killed over a hundred thousand Nehel, but achieved absolutely nothing. This is enough to make even Qaira realise what an arrogant, selfish, stupid bastard he’s been and he makes a public apology. When two Vel’Haru come to take Leid back to their home world to be punished for violating the terms of her contract, Qaira caves completely. Devastated at the prospect of losing her forever, he swears to end the conflict and let the Archaens make the Atrium their home if only the Vel’Haru will let Leid stay with him.
The two Vel’Haru agree, and a decade of peace and social reform follows. Sanctum is not just rebuilt but improved upon, with the help of the Archaen’s advanced technology. A slow process of integration begins, and even Lucifer and Qaira manage to work together. Leid and Qaira get married and they live very happily.
Everything is just dandy, but, based on book one, you know that this story can only end in an epic disaster. It keeps the novel a bit tense even during the good times. You’re often reminded that heaven and hell will be at war several centuries from now, thanks to several appearances (in this book and Book 2α) of angels who will later become demons. Book 2β also sees the first cases of the deadly respiratory disease that afflicts the angels. According to book 1, Yahweh will eventually create a cure that (unknown to him) will affect the angels at the genetic level, turning them into demons. I really liked the idea that ‘god’ created the demons and that it was the angels’ prejudice towards this new race that started the war. From books 2α and 2β however, you can understand the root of that prejudice – the demons look just the Nehel (red-rimmed pupils, black wings), who oppressed the angels for decades.
But more important, for now, is the very volatile couple at the centre of the story. You know that Leid is keeping some extremely dangerous secrets, and you know that Qaira is eventually going to do something horrific. If you started to warm to him, know that very soon you’ll almost certainly want to scream curses while beating the crap out of him. He’s struck by an appalling tragedy for which he blames Lucifer and then becomes completely obsessed with revenge. The novel doesn’t definitively state whether or not Lucifer is innocent, but either way, Qaira’s revenge is so destructively over the top that there’s no hope of redemption for him. His actions are also the catalyst for what we know must happen – the extinction of the Nehelian race, with the exception of Qaira who is sent to the Nexus and has his memory wiped, to become Alezair Czynri.
Once the novel concludes the this tale, it leaps back to the time of book one and picks up where that narrative left off, having equipped you with some of the backstory that puts the later story into better context. Alezair Czynri wakes up in the Nexus, having relived the story you just read. He reclaims his identity as Qaira Eltruan, now more pissed off and hateful than ever. Lucifer, no longer willing to let his people suffer miserable lives in the cold, dark, subterranean levels of the Atrium, makes a decision to change the course of the war.
The novel builds up to fresh conflicts and violent clashes but once again, Whiteman ends it without resolutions. But this time I couldn’t go out and get the next book because, unfortunately, it hasn’t been published yet. I’m told that The Antithesis: Book 3α will be released sometime in February, but an exact date has not been decided upon. I for one cannot wait and will be sure to get my hands on a copy as soon as frickin’ possible.