The Beautiful Land | Alan Averill | Reviewed by Ria

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Beautiful Land book cover
Takahiro O’Leary (or just plain Tak) is an explorer…a time-travelling one at that!

An employee of Axon Corporation, he’s tasked with the job of exploring alternative timelines and dimensions. It’s a great job until he finds out the company’s goal is to create a monopoly over the entire world and place themselves as kings of a new reality by changing the course of time itself. Tak decides to take matters into his own hands not only to save the world but the woman he loves too.

Samira Moheb is that woman. An Iraq war veteran suffering from severe post-traumatic stress and depression, the last thing Sam expects to storms back into her life again is Tak. Especially when he’s seemingly speaking nonsense about alternative realities and a crazy corporation on the verge of taking over the world. 

Tak’s plan is to use the time travel device he called The Machine – conviniently stolen from Axon – to transport them both back to stop all this mess from happening. What they, and Axon themselves, didn’t count on was the darker and more psychotic motives of The Machine’s inventor, Charles Yates, who’s plans are far worse than making a quick buck or monopolising the free world.

It’s now up to Tak and Sam to do much more than save each other…they need to save reality itself.

So what’s my verdict?
The Beautiful Land has been one of the most surprising books I’ve read in a long time. Despite a plotline that sounds like it would be formulaic, the story feels fresh and Averil’s thrilling take on the time-travelling genre is something I’ve never encountered before with some incredibly interesting characters.

Sam character in particular is one of the most interesting female protagonists I’ve read in a while. Deeply wounded with the psychological scars of war, she battles with depression and post-traumatic stress throughout the whole book. Yet she pushes through and proves that she’s stronger than she thinks, not because she’s this ultimate warrior hero – and she certainly never admits to be one! - but because she has to to get past the physical and mental pain of their journey.
Tak O’Leary is equally as interesting. On the surface he presents himself as the hero and pivot the story winds itself around, but right from the beginning of the book we see that he too is battleing with plenty of inner demons and needs saving just as much as Sam. The pair make sacrifices for each other throughtout the book and you root for them to win right from the get-go.

Averil’s writing is fantastic, the book is dark, vividly gorey, and transports you into cruel and dangerous settings right alongside Tak and Sam. It will mess with your mind and take you on a thrilling ride. A definite recommend from me!

Reading Soundtrack:
Kanye West: Power; Paramore: Let The Flames Begin; You Me At Six: Rescue Me; Imagine Dragons: Radioactive; We The Kings: Any Other Way; Panic! At The Disco: This Gospel; Lykki Li: Tonight 

For lovers of…Doctor Who, Inception, and the works of Robert J.Sawyer (both TV and books).

This book was reviewed by regular reviewer Ria, get to know more about her here!
*image © Ria Cagampang
author image

Post author: Ria

Ria is a coffee addicted, part time blogger at Thoroughly Modern Millennial and professional fangirl (it's a thing, believe me). She co-founded Blogger's Bookshelf with Erin back in 2012 and the rest, as they say, is history...

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