BDN Archive – Oppression by Jessica Therrien – Book Review

This was originally posted by me at on March 10, 2012. Some time-sensitive material has been removed from this re-post, and the cover has been replaced with the current one.

Purchase Oppression on Amazon (affiliate link)
Purchase Oppression on Amazon (affiliate link)

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. 

For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she’s been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. 

Or so she thinks. 

Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her.

Among so many of her kind, she should not be very remarkable–except for the prophecy. Some believe she will put an end to centuries of traditions, safeguarded by violence, which have oppressed her people for centuries. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning–and she’s not entirely willing to play by their rules.

I’ve always had a fascination with mythology.  My choice of poison, most of the time, is Norse and Celtic mythology, because that’s what my ancestry is, but Greek mythology would be my next preference.

I was excited to read Oppression, because I met Jessica through the Third Writers Platform Building Campaign last fall, and she was still in the pre-published stage, though she was working on final edits.  I have a few close friends who are published (all of them self-published, except Jessica), and my success rate so far has been about 50/50 – it’s either really good or really bad.  I’m not naming names here.  I can’t do that to someone.

I had very high hopes for Oppression, since it is published by an actual traditional publishing house, not CreateSpace or Smashwords.

It met every expectation.

Elyse isn’t a true young adult in the sense that we are familiar with, and I’ve lived through enough stuff in my life that was similar to her tragedies that I could easily relate to her.  I haven’t lost as many people in my life as she has, but there have been times that it was close.

Oppression is a book that I didn’t want to put down, even when I had to.  Elyse struggles with the classic battle of obeying the rules, or doing what she feels is right.  It’s a fine line to walk, and the internal struggle she goes through is well written, but also doesn’t overpower the rest of the story.  There’s much more at stake than just what Elyse is struggling with.

The supporting characters are believable and real.  They make mistakes, they hurt each other, and they make up.  Even the bad guys are so much more than just bad guys in this story (well, with the exception of one of them).

This story is a reminder to look beyond what you see about a person, even when it comes to the fictional part of the “children of the gods”.  There are always forces at play in a person’s life that sometimes dictate the choices they make.  This is a reminder to look past their actions, and to see where they’re hurting.

I gave Oppression 4 stars on Goodreads, and that’s only because I’m very picky with handing out 5-star ratings.  The book has to have greatly influenced my life for that rating, and Oppression hasn’t had time (yet).

Congrats to you, Jessica, for a book well-written, and characters that inspire!

What do you think?

About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.