Ethereal Like Me by Tressa Messenger
The creation of a book series can be complicated in many ways. One of these is creating the past of the main character, the world they live in. More than that, trying to insert into their lives who they know, what they mean, adds another layer of complexity to things. At some point the world, and the characters, needs to pause to allow the story to catch up and then, hopefully, tell that story.
It isn’t necessary to bundle every single character that will, or might, appear in the series, or mean something in the first work. There is such a thing as anticipation as to where things go. Pushing the envelope and creating so many plots and threads that the story becomes confused takes away from what otherwise is a main character that has a story to be told.
- Title: Ethereal Like Me
- Author: Tressa Messenger
- Length: 21 Pages
- Length: 102 Pages
- ASIN: B00YAW67C4
- Publishing Date: May 25, 2015
- This work at Amazon.com
The work tells the story of:
When paranormal creatures intertwine with humans strange things are sure to happen.
Tarina never expected life to turn out the way it did when she married her human husband four years ago, but being a succubus, she needed him for his essence. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize just how much she’d dislike him in the end.
James thought he was marrying the perfect woman. She was sexy and independent. But her mouth seemed to get her into trouble, which for James, was not acceptable.
Logan had no clue what he was in store for when he had a meaningless one night stand with a hot woman from a bar.
No one could have predicted how Tarina’s personal life altering decision could lead to such a dramatic whirlwind of events that would eventually expose her world of creatures who preferred to be left unknown, and affect everyone’s lives she comes in contact with.
All she can do now is clean up the mess she made and try to leave it in the past, if that’s possible.
Tarina is a Succubus who thought marrying a human was the best thing for her, considering her past and what happened there. But the marriage hasn’t been a good one, she’s finding herself wanting to do things that are not a good idea, and after things go very wrong for her, she makes a choice. Things go down a slippery slope from there, and Tarina finds that sometimes no matter what you try to do, the universe sees to it that something goes wrong.
The one thing about this work that I found the most interesting was the detail in the universe that Tarina lives in. There’s quite a lot told about the human and supernatural sides of things and how they connect together. It’s quite telling how Tarina sees both sides and how that has effected her life.
Tarina herself is a complicated character in many ways as well. She is a succubus, in a Lost Girl sort of way as a whole, which does work overall. There’s a lot going on in her mind, her life, all around her, and there’s a telling sense of her losing her grip on things from the first page that is very strongly told in the work. She has a moral compass, she wants to have a life, to try to do some good and, in many ways, forget about her own past.
But that past overwhelms both Tarina and the story as a whole. It doesn’t take long for her past to come, from her friends, from being drawn back to her real home. In the same way, her present continues to nip at her heels, eventually taking the story on an arc that was, if not unexpected, quite sad in a lot of ways. There are so many threads that are layered onto Tarina page by page that her character becomes lost within the plots and seems to, at times, just be taken for a ride wherever the story decides to go.
There seems to be one mistake after the next occurring, or a moment impacts Tarina and those around her to add another layer of tension to the work. This does not pause for a single moment in the work save for a tiny, significant moment, where Tarina had a moment of joy before her past intrudes upon it and rips it away. Considering how the characters are told to be, how careful they are for the most part, a lot of these moments feel awkward and odd. Some make sense, quite a few don’t.
It is like one domino falling after the next leading towards events that change everyone in the work to some extent. When the climax happens, it feels muted for the most part as so many things are going on that aren’t settled. Being that this seems to be the start of a new series, that made some sense, but in other ways it didn’t.
There are so many dangling threads at the end of the work, but the author layers on top of them still a few more, a mostly-cliffhanger, and a series of open ended questions that leave the work ending on them. It feels a bit clunky, a little rushed. Perhaps that is the overriding theme in this work, in that the story rushes from point to point, plot to plot and in doing so really leaves little time for the characters to gather themselves before the next crisis.
With all of the plots and threads in the work, there is well enough material for four parts of a series within this one. There are four separate plots, overlapping, and being so that added more complexity and confusion than needed to be. Splitting this work into two parts might have been a thought and I think in doing so there would have been more focus as a whole.
In spite of all of the confusion, I liked Tarina quite a lot, I liked how she was not a stereotypical Succubus and that she cared, deeply, about those around her. It is because of her, who she is, all that she goes through, that I wanted to see where things go next and why. Emphasis on the why because that part of this story didn’t quite manage to make it out and it needs to.
Four pitchforks out of five.
I felt there were too many plots and character stories here and in being so that took away much of what could have been. The number of threads passing through this work became overwhelming and by the end there was more confusion than actual story and that bothered me. Being the beginning of a series, or so it seemed, focus might have helped here. Having what felt like four books worth of plot crushed into one was a shame. Tarina is captivating in her own skin, those around her need to find a way to be comfortable in theirs.