Sirk TV Book Review: THE FIRST [EVO Universe]
Some of the incidents in “The First”[Kipjo Ewers/EVO Universe/379pgs] run the gamut from the mundane to the utter fantastical but like many stories fueled by amnesia and accentuation of power by unknown means, it takes a matter of perspective. Sophia Dennison, who receives this power, could be like any one of us. The problem is that she doesn’t have defining qualities. Her background or even looks are kept interestingly neutral which I think quite helps until at certain points her slang comes into play because certain perceptions are altered. The book was written some time ago and just now re-released so perspective is an interesting form here. In the book, we begin with Sophia making her way to be executed for the brutal murder of her husband. We get an idea of what she did but like many in her position, she thinks she is innocent. Only when she is placed under while fulfilling her promise on Death Row do things start to go awry. She begins exhibiting superhuman powers in many ways. The absorption and changing slightly of her body type is expressed as well as the fact that she kills one of the guards who we find has a sordid secret. Of course, the narrative points to this making the reader initially believe that this occurrence is maybe a dream sequence or one of altruism that is simply occurring in the doomed’s mind as she falls away from this life. But that is not what happens. The path becomes rather a search for identity as Sophia tries to uncover why her husband was killed. It turns out to involve super soldier aspects and a secret society of mercenaries. Sophia’s journey is a dark one but one that is highlighted by bursts of humor and her sense of altruism. Certain visuals bring to mind mech warriors or “Akira” but sometimes they take away her humanity which in a sense is what she is fighting for. The revelation the book points to is a plot point Sophia easily decides to omit from her early thoughts. But it is simply a decision of the author since it doesn’t work for the dramatic tension at the beginning. The story point, as a result, makes the climax less believable while keeping the stakes still high. She has help along the way. One in the form of the unrequited love of a doctor who helped her when the murder rap took place. The other is an FBI man who is coming to terms with the fact that he has wasted his life when he comes face to face with the fact that there are facets of the government he works for that will do anything to win. These are hard ironies but the novel only looks at them fleetingly in a sense of a bigger picture. The action is swift but disjointed especially when it comes to the death squad hunting her. It becomes more of a Hollywood one liner fest which, while entertaining, doesn’t not fit into the function of the story with the exception of the laughable but consistent Director Rosen who leads the squad. Ultimately, everything spirals out of control, but like the end of the film “Lucy”, one is meant to think that the higher form leads to greater things. It was just the matter of getting there.