The Arrivals

The Arrivals by Melissa Marr

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Imagine purgatory is the wild west with monsters. This fantasy novel is set in a desert dimension populated with demonic monks and bloedzuingers (vampires), where people from Earth arrive in a seemingly random way. Except that they’ve all killed during their time on Earth. When they die in the Wasteland, sometimes they stay dead, and sometimes they don’t. (Maybe calling the Wasteland purgatory is just my interpretation, but it seemed to fit, especially in the first half of the book.)

The main characters are Jack and Kitty, a brother and sister who were the first Arrivals from Earth, coming from a frontier town in California. Their cowboy sensibilities shape the story, and also explain why they’ve survived so long in the dangerous Wasteland. Chloe is the latest Arrival, from 2013, and she and Jack have an almost instant attraction. The villain is Ajani, a rich and powerful man who’s also from Earth and seems to be pulling all the strings.

This novel is by Melissa Marr, who wrote the Wicked Lovely series, and it has all the strengths of those books–action, romance, description–but with a different feel: grittier, less ethereal. The characters are all battle-hardened, yet quirky, and the plot moved quickly, especially toward the end. A fun, adventurous read.

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