by J.W. Wargo
…And they lived happily ever afterrrrrrrr!!! Or not. Let’s just say that these two lovebirds have a lot of shit to put of with to get to any ending at all. It’s not exactly the kind of world you think about a future with husbands, wives, kids, white picket fences…etc. in it.
There’s his megabitch mother for starters. A certified Rich Old Fuck and totally against her son getting jiggy with some low-classer he met god knows where. She’ll not see her rearing efforts sullied by a whore-slut the boy’s just met, heaven’s no! She’ll have to take more precautions is all, just like she’s always done for her family.
But perhaps the cranky ROF won’t have much longer to worry about her son’s raging commoner boner. You see it appears the world is sick. It was an old fuck long before we got here, and now our diseases are its diseases. Nothing but rot and ash, rust and bone, tremors and slow, slow death.
If it’s all fucked, done, and over, and you’re truly going out for good, forever, what would you do to die with the one you love?
I admired Isobel’s seeking to balance her life amid a chaotically crumbling world. She wants Dresden’s love above all else but is willing to work for total equilibrium in regards to Dresden’s mother, Elise. Though he believes their efforts are futile, she still hopes for some conciliation.
In the inverse, I see Dresden wanting more disorder in his rebellion against his familial norm. Mirroring the outside world, the one he’s been carefully sequestered from all his life, he wants his old life to fall apart. From the moment he chose to move against the grain, he worked to destroy the path behind him.
Both characters are sure of one thing, and one thing only: each other. Their strength lie in the desire to be together. To overcome even the end of the world for those few precious moments when they feel complete and totally satisfied.
Elise only wants what she believes is best for Dresden, which is to survive. Due to her high class status, she has been able to afford the best medical care this apocalyptic future can provide. It’s kept her alive and relatively healthy for over a century. But why would Elise be so opposed to her son’s happiness? There is something more than class division going on here, and methinks the answer is lurking under those bleeding gloves.
Bittersweet love stories always get you every time. Something about being swept up in waves of emotion ultimately dashed against the rocks and receding into sad memory resonates with the human struggle. Sometimes, the end result is so clearly visible it pains us to open our eyes. Thank the fates that love is blind.
Our protagonist’s struggle is more on the bitter side of things. It feels like a downward spiral. Yet for all her faltering, she stays singularly focused on her choice. It is the need for one last connection with love that keeps Isobel limping forward. Where other’s would have simply given up and lied down among the mountains of gangrenous corpses, she does everything in her power to stay alive, believing he is doing the same.
At first, I believed Dresden’s mother, Elise, to be the antagonist, but as I delved deeper into the text, I realized it seemed the entire world itself was trying to keep the lover’s apart. Every move against Isobel is like a reiteration of the title. It is a warning, a prophecy, and a fate all tied into one.
Ms. Scandal has woven a tightly knit book here, one devoid of extraneous background characters or background story. The sentences are clear and concise, the exposition comes in only when necessary, and the action and emotion carry the plot to a beautiful finale.
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J.W. Wargo is a writer and author of his own NBAS book, Avoiding Mortimer, a novella that sparked an audiobook, an original soundtrack, and the image of which appears to only the most faithful readers on toasted PB&J sandwiches. You can also read about all the crazy shit he gets into while hitchhiking the world over at Imperial Youth Review.