District City is full of monsters. Not the kind that appear particularly vile from the outside. The kind who murder innocent people for no apparent reason. Abandoned houses are haunted by wayward spirits. Leaders of rival Colors clash over the secrets of a brutal past.
After the Plague thinned out the population, Rin Morana figured people would have stopped killing each other. No such luck. Her parents disappeared, and now she is set to take over as the new Lady Morana, head of the Green faction. To be a leader, Rin must contend with her relationship to her rival, Lady Amaya, as well as her own history of violence.
A series of riddles take Amaya Verity out of her isolated room in the Blue compound and into the hidden spaces of the City. Running away from captivity, Amaya takes shelter with Rin at the old Sydis house. There she meets two young men with demons of their own to contend with and abilities to match. Alan who is hiding out from his abusive ex, and Kazuki who might be the only person in the City that remembers the events of the Plague.
As they dig deeper, Amaya and Rin must decide whether to fight monsters or become them.
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“The world is built of dualities of mutual destruction.”
“This will kill that…“
The old regime is dying, and revolution is on the horizon. This Will Kill That is Danielle K. Roux’s debut New Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy blend that immediately drew me in, and has left me desperately needing more. This is a tale of a younger generation fighting to undo the sins of those that came before, hoping to make the world a better place for all, regardless of their lots in life. It’s also a beautifully careful examination of the deepest of unlikely friendships, forbidden love, and loyalty, unafraid to cross lines, despite the dangers. As we commence our perilous hunt for the truth, lies and manipulation lurk around each dark, squalid corner of District City, and only a morbid trail of breadcrumbs set by a mysterious friend (or foe?) will lead us to the answers we seek.
Roux does a magnificent job of breathing life into beautifully crafted, easy-to-love characters, each with a defined, distinct voice. The story follows two women, Amaya Verity and Rin Morana, a reserved princess locked in a tower and a snarky, yet dissociated and brutal killer, respectfully. Although they appear to be polar opposites, they’re deeply drawn to each other, and this budding relationship alters the lives of both in profound ways. The supporting cast is incredible, and their need to escape the dire responsibilities forced upon is the key driving force of this entire story. False, exterior veneers begin to crumble, revealing the true nature of these tragically flawed characters as the bonds of friendship are strengthened – and this is something truly exquisite to behold.
The story takes place across the sprawling streets of District City, a dystopian society where violence is used a method of control, and murder and climbing atop a mountain of corpses has become the norm. Abandoned buildings, underground meeting places, and decay define what’s left of this once grand, now plague-ridden metropolis. The setting is so vividly constructed, you can almost feel the grime under your fingernails, and sense the dangers that await in the darkness. The city houses various factions defined by the colors that have been ingrained into their members’ very existence; each manifesting a particular persona, and all fighting for supremacy. The people also possess extraordinary talents – telekinesis, pyrokinesis, empath abilities, and more – a fantastical element successfully used to advance the story in interesting ways.
This is a fast-paced and hard-hitting narrative with a modern flair, ripe with pop culture references and relatable humorous cynicism. A well written, elegantly planned, non-linear plot allows readers to understand the history that has shaped the world, even though we’re dropped into the thick of things directly from the start. We catch glimpses of the past, allowing a deeper character development, which I personally always appreciate. In addition, a simple prose is used to allow connecting with those characters in much more extensive ways. My only bit of criticism would be that several aspects were mentioned or implied, but weren’t fully explained or were troubled by unnecessary meandering. As this is the first novel in the series, I’m hoping future books touch more upon why things are the way they are.
“Everyone alive knows loss and pain, that’s just part of it.”
This Will Kill That is an emotional whirlwind of a story that touches upon some pretty important and sensitive subjects, such as abuse, suicide, and living within a broken world. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in District City, and those cliffhangers (yes, multiple!) have left me in urgent need of the next book. If you’re looking for an action-packed and artistic tale of righting wrongs and the importance of unity, then this is definitely the book you’re looking for, and I highly suggest you give it a read.
Note: Thank you to Danielle K. Roux and The Parliament House for providing me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Danielle K. Roux is a writer, teacher, and historian. Her first novel August Prather is Not Dead Yet is currently available in e-book and paperback through Parliament House Press (and soon will be available in hardcover and audio book). Danielle has always loved reading and telling stories – especially stories with adventure, mystery, humor, romance and at least a little bit of spookiness. Not Dead Yet has all this covered, with a story-within-a-story structure and a quest for immortality in the early twentieth century paired with a present-day road trip. There’s a lot of existential crisis and a male/male romance that is sweet and steamy.
Danielle has been writing fiction since she was nine, after getting tired of reading from the perspective of white, straight male characters in fantasy novels. Her first written story involved a group of middle school girls who find necklaces used by a dead witch that give them supernatural powers. It was written in notebooks in purple and green gel pens that are currently housed in a box in her linen closet. She is inspired by travelling to new places and reading about the stories tied to landscapes. She has at least three novels building in her brain (or wherever novels come from) and wishes she was writing them all right now.
Danielle lives with her wife and two orange cats in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has added a lot of young adult fantasy fiction to her bookshelves recently, and regrets nothing. Her dream library would be accessed through a secret door and look something like the library in the animated Disney Beauty and the Beast, although it would also have a cute barista or sentient coffee machine that once was said barista.
When she isn’t writing or thinking about writing, Danielle is building houses in the Sims, listening to podcasts, or taking Buzzfeed quizzes to find out what kind of tree she is based on her hair color. She has recently been watching lots of old BBC period pieces, and some of them are good. She has begun to drink Diet Coke and is worried this might be a real problem. Coffee and tea are still her primary beverages of choice.