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Orchid Island (Xavier Cecil), Apocalypse Doll 01

I want to start by stating that initially, I had a lot of concerns when reading this book. It took some getting used to the First Person Limited POV. Differentiating between what would normally have been standard description and the internal monologue of the POV was tough. But it fell into place after a while and I grew to like it. Others reading this may have similar experiences, but I would like to point out it is worth spending the time to get used to the POV.
With that stated, I really enjoyed this book.
Orchid Island is a hot-mess of plot line. It appears to be right in the middle of a severe societal upheaval tied to a mysterious infection (read: zombies). The novel’s namesake, Orchid, is pretty well versed in survival. She is trained in varied martial arts, and works in the general field of “Security”. More specifically, she has found niche employment preying on unsuspecting Billionaires, worming her way into their lives and manipulating them toward products/services she provides. This allows her cash flow while she searches out her next Billionaire victim/client. I wont go into details for risk of spoiler, but it is an interesting ploy.
A couple chapters in, Orchid wakes up on the beach of an undisclosed island. It becomes pretty clear the the island has few Billionaires, and a number of undead occupants which she will need to maneuver around in order to survive. The story slowly unfolds as to the nature of the zombified humans and how they came to be. This area of the book is a bit lacking, and you may find yourself wondering as to the details of the Zombies and why there is not much focus on them as more than a passing reference in some cases. From my read through, this was not intended to be more than a plot device to further the story. No matter what you read on Amazon (or other sites), this is not a zombie novel. More likely, the zombie aspect is touched on here in a limited manner where other books in the series will be more undead-centric. Having not read the other novels yet, this is obviously supposition.. This novel has very little to do with the undead. If that is what you are looking for, you will get a taste, but that is about it. In fact there is more explicit sexual encounters than individually zombies.. In fact, there is a lot of sex, thinking about sex, talking about sex, dreaming about sex.. Some of it is a bit heavy handed, but over all, sounded like a fun time for all involved.
One of the high points in Orchid Island is the plethora of back story. As chapters transition, the timing flips between present day and 4 months in the past. Because of this, the plot is broken out into smaller meals for easier digestion, not giving away anything in a large lump sum. This was excellent, and kept me on the hook till the end trying to learn what was really going on. There is a second POV included, of a mysterious infiltrating soldier, which was interesting. Some of it seemed extraneous to the story as anything but tying the back story to the apocalypse that the series pivots on.
The core back story that is the real book is tied to ‘Gynoids’. Humanity has found that Synthetic Humans can be used for various purposes, from serving drinks to indiscriminate sex in public. Some models will perform both actions among many others. They are pretty much the new slave class. The back story to the gynoids ranges from inception to manufacturing, the laws of Asimovian robotics, and the breaking of these laws, Court cases etc. All of this is great, and I would have been pleased with it by itself as a standalone.
I would also point out that after reading the novel I learned there is a prequel to it (titled Fleshware Requiem). I wish I had read in advance, as it would have likely cleared up a large amount of any plot confusion I may have had while reading. The story is neither the beginning of the Apocalypse Doll universe, nor the end; Instead, it is set in a transition period where a lot of global ‘unknowns” are only truly beginning to come to light.? Feel free to check out Fleshware Requiem on Amazon or Smashwords (for a free copy of the same novel).
This is a self published novel, it has a lot of the common issues that I report after reading self-published works. If you can work past occasional spelling errors and the odd stylization that sometimes comes with the territory, you should have no problem reading this book. The author has put an incredible amount of time into the work, and it definitely shows. There are a number of individual paragraphs and descriptions that frankly blew me away. Unfortunately, the same stylization sometimes left me with a campy/corny feel. In a comparison, it would be 85% awesome, 15% corn which is pretty decent ratio and something that can easily be grown out of as the plot line matures.
As with any self-published work, I feel that an additional editorial review would have been beneficial, but can recognize that an author needs to draw a line in the sand else risk perpetually editing, or even over editing. Perhaps additional 3rd party review would be a better option. Ultimately, this is one of the better self published I have read over the years, and definitely has the most promise for a long term plot line.
I would advise keeping an eye on this author and playing by ear if this sounds at all up your alley.
You may choose to snag the free Prequel from smashwords to give it a test drive.
If you do, stop in here and let me know what you thoughts. i would love to compare notes.
  • Pages: Approx 214
  • Publisher: Self Published (2011)
  • ASIN: B006IX7AOW

This review is based on a book kindly provided for free by the publisher or author. Please check my FTC Douche-claimer for details regarding this disclaimer’s existence.


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