Rating: 4 stars
They came as saviors to a deteriorating Earth
Julip Thorne questions whether there is more to life beyond the barren dirt, acidic seas, and toxstorms her people work and die in. Living in poverty on the withering Greenland Human Reservation, she wonders if the alien Mezna goddesses are truly as holy as the temple preaches. Julip begins to dig deeper into the history of the planet and her leaders’ rise to power. But nothing can prepare her for the atrocities she uncovers.
Meanwhile, Jakkattu prisoner Sabaal suffers constant torture and heinous medical experiments as her Mezna-priest captors seek to unlock the key to her genetic makeup. Escaping from captivity, she finds herself suddenly alone on the hostile alien planet of Earth. To survive, she’s forced to work with the same Mezna-human hybrids she’s loathed her entire life, but the more they work together, the more they realize that their enemy is the same.
When humans and Mezna collide, will Sabaal turn out to be the genetic vector the Mezna have been searching for all along, or will she spark the flame that sets a revolution ablaze?
I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily reviewed it
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book when I started reading it, but I heard of this author before and the blurb had me curious, so I decided to give it a try. The Jakkattu Vector is a story driven book with rich world building and an interesting cast of characters. It’s a bit of a dark world, bad things happen and at times it feels pretty bleak. And at times it feels like you get an overview of this world and planet, and the characters are just there as a means to tell the story. But that doesn’t do it justice either. As the characters are an important part of it all.
I really enjoyed immersing myself in this world. The start of the book was a bit difficult and confusing at times, some of the characters speak a dialect that took some time getting used to and there is this whole wide world I didn’t understand much about. By the end of the book I get used to the dialect and read it almost as easily as the rest of the text and the world building is so masterfully done by revealing small parts at a time that I didn’t mind feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused at first. I quickly got sucked into the story and really enjoyed following Sabaal and Julip their stories. There are surprises along the way and the book is very well written, I enjoyed seeing everything unfold and change. And by the end I wasn’t quite ready to leave this world yet.
It’s a story about ideas and how what you always thought was true isn’t always true. It’s about questioning rules and what you know. It’s about opening your hearts and mind to other ideas. It’s even a bit about prejudice, about not judging people by their looks. And about being in a cage so long you don’t know what outside it or realize it’s a cage. It’s about standing up for what you believe in. It’s about choices and changes.
The Jakkattu Vector is a story mostly told from two point of views, I say mostly as we do get one other point of view eventually and there are two interludes as well. One of the point of views is Sabaal, she’s a Jakkattu, an alien from another world. The Jakkattu got enslaved and brought to another planet called Peritha to work there and eventually Sabaal is brought to earth where she got experimented upon. We never fully find out what made her special and why the Mezna need her for their experiments. We only know as much as the characters know and the reader finds out about the world through them. Sabaal escapes her prison and has to find her way in this to her alien world. I really liked her point of view and there’s this scene where she finds a church, but she doesn’t know it is a church, so we get to see her describe what it look like through her eyes. I thought that part was well done and made her seem alien.
The other point of view is Julip, who has lived her whole live in a small city where humans live. There are more of these cities and they pick brides or husbands for their kids from other cities. But they are separate from the outside world. Julip always had a good life and doesn’t know much about what’s beyond the walls, but due to something that happens in the book she starts questioning everything. At first I preferred Sabaal her story as that was action filled and she knew more about the world and what was going on. But Julip her story was interesting as well, it read a bit like a dystopia book at times. And slowly I got to appreciate both their stories.
Those two point of views seem unconnected at first, like we get two sides of a story, but it wasn’t clear how they were connected. It stays that way for a long time. Only late in this book the point of views are sort of brought together. But most of the time it feels more like we get two stories in one book, showing different sides of this world, different perspectives and different lives. The pov switches could annoy me at times as I wanted more of the point of view I just was reading. Especially with the point of views being so different it felt like switching between two books at times instead of continuing the same one. But as I did enjoy both point of views I usually got over my annoyance of the pov switches soon enough. Then there are two interludes almost randomly added to the story, they give another point of view, another piece of information and of the world that wasn’t possible to get in another way. It was a bit weird, but in the end I could appreciate these extra pieces of information and story.
The characters in this book where interesting, but at times it felt more like the focus was on the story or the changes in them and their opinions than the characters itself. Like the characters were just a means to tell the story. But that sounds too negative as the characters are likeable and I enjoyed reading about them and following their stories. It’s just that at times I would’ve liked a tad more emotional depth. It’s not that it was really missing, but I would’ve liked a bit more of that, but on the other hand this way of telling the story did fit somehow. Does that even make sense? I really liked seeing the characters change over time, they learn new things, adjust opinions and ideas they had and change as a person.
I enjoyed the way this story was told, but my favorite part is probably the world building. The world building is really well done. At first we basically know nothing about this world, but slowly we find out bits and pieces and we only know as much as the characters do. There are no info dumps here, just slowly figuring out the world through the eyes of Sabaal and Julip. The two point of views really help to get a more complete image of the world. And there’s so much to learn, at times it felt like it went too slowly as I always felt like I didn’t know enough, but the way of slowly revealing pieces of the world and learning more of it was really well done. This book has a bit of sci-fi, dystopia and almost post apocalyptic elements. Nicely blended together to create a world that’s similar and also so different from the one we currently know. By the end of the book I did feel like I had a pretty good understanding of the world, how it changed to this and how the current state of the world was. But there were still questions that remain, we get to know very little about the Mezna themselves as we only hear about them from other point of views. And I wanted to learn more about the Jakkattu, but I think we’ll get that in the next book.
To summarize: I really enjoyed this book. The way the story is written and crafted and we find out slowly more about the world was really well done. It’s dark and gritty at times, it’s shows a bleak future of a world that’s similar, but also very different from our own. The story is told through two point of views, that almost felt like reading two different stories at times. But this way of telling the story also worked as we only know as much as the characters know, so the two point of views provide us with more information about the world and what’s going. I enjoyed seeing the changes in the characters, how not everything they believed in was true. I would’ve liked a bit more emotional depth to the characters at times. The world building was really well done with how we learn more and more about the world, little by little through the characters their eyes. All in all this was a great read and I am already looking forward to book 2!
IT STARTED TO RAIN AS they walked, but Norwood kept an impossible pace. Julip slipped and fell more than once, but he just kept going. She guessed he was right to hurry; they had to get back before nightfall so they didn’t get caught. Ma would be furious as it was, what with them gone missing for so much of the day.
The sky darkened despite it still being midday, and clouds rolled in behind them. Back home it would be a mess. Rain put everyone in a sour mood. The sea was too volatile to risk going out when it stormed, and while the rainwater was clean and safe, the ocean steeped in chemicals that could peel a person’s skin before too long. Their father had burning water scars up and down his arms and speckled across his face from working as a jellyfisher for so long. By comparison to other men who worked the sea, he had remained pretty intact.
The Cotillion was probably having a great time. Rain meant clean air and fresh water, for a little while at least. Sometimes if the rain came at the same time as a toxstorm, it would bring the fumes down to Earth, keeping everyone inside for days, sometimes weeks. The last time that happened, Julip had been nine and was forced to stay in her parents’ dwell with no one but her brother for nineteen straight days. The damage the fumes caused still marred the walls of the bedroom they shared.
The siblings had complained, begged to be allowed outside, but nothing they said or did would convince the adults to let them go. Only her father ventured out to pick up a daily ration of food and water from the Center-of-It-All. He would bundle up, covered from head to toe in fabric and plastic. Even his head was wrapped in one of her mother’s scarves, and his eyes hid behind goggles he’d made out of extra window plastic.
Thirteen people died during that storm, and two more were blinded. For months after, there was a rash of stillbirths on the reservation. The Daughters all agreed that the fumes had come down and poisoned the babes. It’d been five years since the last bad toxstorm whipped through Greenland, so one was due to come soon. Julip loved the cool rain as it soaked through her scarf. She uncovered her head and felt the water trickle down her face and saturate her hair. Parents would take the littlest kids on the rez outside, strip them, and scrub them red. Clean rain meant a real washing, not a quick, timed wipe-down with the gray water from the sinks.
Norwood pulled a canteen from his trouser pocket and caught drips of water from the oversized leaves surrounding them. The trees weren’t much taller than him, but the forest canopy closed in as they walked. Soon they walked on dry earth, and the only remaining evidence of the rain was the heaviness of her hair and the sound of water dripping on leaves high above.
“I’ve never been deep in the Wilds,” she said.
“Ya’ve never been shallow in the Wilds.”
“True, but there ain’t even words for this back home. It smells different, dirty, but my nose ain’t pained by it.”
“‘Cause it’s real. This dirt is from the Earth, not the toxes.”
“Why do we have so much tox on the rez if this is right here?”
“I dunno, but I reckon it’s ‘cause we’re human. People made the toxes. In some way, I guess it’s only right we live in ‘em.”
A howl rose from deep in the forest, and Julip yelped and bent down, trying to blend in, hide in the underbrush. Her legs wanted to give out, but she squeezed her eyes shut and demanded her body not betray her.
About the author
P.K. Tyler is the author of Speculative Fiction and other Genre Bending novels. She’s also published works as Pavarti K. Tyler and had projects appear on the USA TODAY Bestseller’s List.
“Tyler is essentially the indie scene’s Margaret Atwood; she incorporates sci-fi elements into her novels, which deal with topics such as spirituality, gender, sexuality and power dynamics.” – IndieReader
Pav attended Smith College and graduated with a degree in Theatre. She lived in New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off-Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry for several international law firms. Now located in Baltimore Maryland, she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not penning science fiction books and other speculative fiction novels, she twists her mind by writing horror and erotica.