A fascinating concept with intricate writing style but varied pace.
A city divided; a population addicted; Peace may be their only chance.
War has raged in the city of Terminus: now, you belong to a zone. In a green zone, you’re safe, it’s the playground for the rich and well-off. But the further you stray, as green becomes yellow and then red, crime is rife and danger lurks.
But one thing connects the zones: Power. A drug that shows you all that you could be capable of, before crashing you right back down to your usual existence. So why come down? Why not stay as high as you can, as powerful as you can. This is how Terminus came to be controlled by The Warlord, and the many gangs that operate under his say-so.
But in a world so full of chaos and division, slowly, Peace begins to infiltrate, a drug that instead offers you the opportunity to grow and heal, spread by the Peacemakers. Everyone wants a piece of Peace, a chance to escape the clutches of Power and deprivation. A chance to escape the clutches of The Warlord.
Terminus by Proto Dagg is a Psychedelic Biopunk novel that delves into a social commentary of what the world has come to. I found the concept for this work really thought-provoking which is what encouraged me to read it as I had never heard of anything even remotely similar.
Special mention must be given to the author’s mesmerising writing style, rich in description and imagery, that brings the city of Terminus to life. For instance, when highlighting the difference between zones, Dagg described how “Monitored entrances and exits now serve as choke points, keeping the red zones cauterised, lest they bleed into the corpus.” Without falling into the trap of being unnecessarily descriptive, Dagg’s style was enriching and offered great depth. The only negative I have for the writing was that I found myself tripping over more typos than I would like, bringing me out of the fictional world to understand what was being said.
With regards to the characters, I couldn’t decide how I felt about the protagonist, Matt. To begin, I respected his honesty to comment as to how his life had not gone quite to plan. However, in the middle I found him needy, suddenly looking down on everyone because of his association with the Peacemakers distributing the drug. I was glad to see that towards the end his character progression had come full circle as the impact that Peace had had on him became evident. In hindsight, this may be a testament to the journey that Peace is, though whilst reading it made him unlikeable at times.
Something that left me wanting was the pace of the book. When we first meet the Peacemakers, it’s exciting and curious, leaving the reader fascinated as to what is happening in the eye of the hurricane that is the green zone club. Yet, while the middle half of the novel was setting us up for the ending, at the same time I couldn’t help but feel not a lot was happening – the excitement was condensed to the beginning and end. I was happy to note that the conclusion of the book brought a few twists that became clearer the closer you got to them. It became clear how many of the characters fit together to form the story, though perhaps not so many Peacemakers were needed in the beginning as they did not contribute to the ending and it was a little confusing remembering who was who.
Overall, a fascinating read to reflect the inner turmoil we face on a daily basis, battling between Power and Peace. I’d recommend this to those who wish to question their thinking. After all, “Peace has always been there, and it will grow.”
Terminus is written by Proto Dagg and is available to buy on Amazon and is included on Kindle Unlimited.