Title: BloodStained Bliss
Author: Elle Limpkin
Publisher: February 12, 2020
Publication date: Self-published
Genre: Science fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Summary: Earth has been crime-free for 300 years. Advances in science and medicine have made it possible to eliminate the violence gene in unborn children, resulting in a world without violence and crime. Until now. Newly elected mayor of the island Roseside Reef Zeno is woken in the early morning hours because a body has been discovered on a beach. Faced with a murder and no clue how to solve it, Zeno and his aides rush to figure out who the killer is before more bodies drop dead, and instead discover Zeno’s own past may hide an important clue.
Earlier this year, I was just thinking that my life could use a few more mysteries this year since I predominantly read fantasy last year. And then Elle Limpkin contacted me, requesting a review for her science fiction mystery novel. I had barely read the part about Earth being crime-free for 300 years when I knew it was going to be interesting. When I got to the part about a body, I knew I had to read it.
The Characters: Strong Characters Make Things Interesting
I loved Zeno, but I also wanted to knock him upside the head. He went into politics to escape the military, so was an extremely likable politician. At the same time, he was incredibly self-centered because of his lifelong popularity. He made himself seem sympathetic, but really felt more like a monster when I looked at him through the eyes of another character. Still, I loved his character because, as much as he seemed like he was on top of everything, he wasn’t.
All of the characters were quite interesting. They had fun personalities that added to the story and made things more interesting. My favorite was Aiko, the AI the military use. She was unusual for an AI, but I loved how human she felt even though I knew she wasn’t a living person. I really liked how each person was so different and unique because it made their interactions more interesting. It was like reading about people who knew each other, who had known each other for years, jump to conclusions, run into each other, and otherwise create trouble for themselves. It was fun to read about them, and I was sorry to see them go at the end of the book.
The Setting: A Crime-Free Earth…Maybe
This book mostly takes place on Earth a few centuries in the future. There were some flashbacks to Zeno’s past that, at first, made little sense to me, but I enjoyed them because it explored a more sci-fi piece of another planet and another race. I enjoyed reading about that planet and its inhabitants so much that I sometimes lost track of where the actual story was going.
Earth of the future sounded very interesting. I loved the idea of no crime, and honestly wouldn’t mind having my own ship to get around in. So much faster than driving! But it was also interesting to read about Earth’s past via a surprising source. It was quite fun to read about the characters’ confusion over what this thing or that thing did. My favorite advancement, though, was how people with seemingly fatal injuries could make full recoveries. I wouldn’t mind that advancement right now.
Overall, this was a fascinating conceptualization of the world. There’s more to it than I’m mentioning here, but I fear talking too much of it would tell too much about the book. I really enjoyed Limpkin’s conceptualization of Earth of the future. It was functional and different, but not too wildly different.
The Plot: A Collision of Past and Present
This book is both science fiction and a mystery. I think the science fiction was well-done and largely explored. The off world mission Zeno had previously participated in and this futuristic Earth played large roles in the story and losing either of them would have made the mystery baffling.
I enjoyed the mystery, but felt it was a little lacking. I was intrigued by the bodies turning up, so was hoping for something of a thriller. Instead, it was more mystery and suspense, and I must say I was a little disappointed about how the characters came by their knowledge of how to solve the crime. But it did keep me guessing for much of the book. The end was very action-packed and I couldn’t guess how it would end.
My favorite part of this book is that it took a fairly ordinary concept (a killer) and put it into a world without crime, something unique that I hardly ever see. The world seemed so peaceful and then everything everyone had ever known was just shattered, leaving the characters to grasp at straws and scratch their heads all while being pressured to solve the murders.
Overall: A Fun Combination of Sci-Fi and Mystery
This was an enjoyable book. There were a lot of good elements. I was a little disappointed by the mystery solving bit, but there was plenty of intrigue and plenty of puzzles to solve. I loved the combination of the mystery and science fiction and felt they played off each other really well. The science fiction was integral to the mystery. Overall, a very satisfactory read, though not exactly the most thrilling mystery.
How many cups of tea will you need?
4 cups would be perfect
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Thank you to the author, Elle Limpkin, for a free e-copy for review. All opinions expressed are my own.