I am not Sci-Fi/Fantasy’s biggest fan but damn if I didn’t love Stella Telleria’s ACROSS THE WIRE. Now THIS is one book I didn’t expect to love this much. When I signed up to review the book, I was honestly just trying to broaden my reading repertoire. I did not expect to meet one of my favorite reads this year. It’s a promising start to what I feel would be an amazing series!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!
When Mia Mitchell, a hardcore but lonely former Marine, steps into an alley to pull some thugs off an unlucky foreigner, she walks into a fight she expects. What she doesn’t see coming is the foreigner making her a job offer any sane person would refuse. So, she takes it. She thinks she’s headed for some third-world country; instead she’s mysteriously transported to an Earth-like parallel world. That’s a mad left-hook.
Mia discovers a matriarchal dystopia where freedom doesn’t exist and fighting for it means execution. Lethal force bends all to the law; women fear for their families and un-wed men suffer slavery. Mia’s job is to train an underground syndicate of male freedom-fighters for a violent revolution. However, the guys don’t want a pair of X chromosomes showing them the way.
Eben, an escaped slave, is encouraged by Mia to become a leader among the men. But when he turns his quiet determination on her, it spells F.U.B.A.R. for cynical Mia. Their unexpected connection threatens more than her exit strategy; it threatens the power struggle festering with in the syndicate.
Haunted by nightmares and post-traumatic stress, unsure who to trust or how to get home, Mia struggles to stay alive as she realizes all is not what it seems.
Across the Wire tells the story of Mia, an ex-marine who just got back stateside. The problem is, her body might be physically home but war took a huge piece of her and she knows she left that piece behind in the battlefields of Iraq.
Survivor’s guilt. Anxiety attacks. Night terrors. She has it. For Mia, nobody really recovers from the horrors that a soldier sees while on tour. Even the sound of distant fire trucks sends Mia careening into the terrifying memories of her days in Iraq. Physical exertion is the only thing that Mia can do to burn off the pent-up anxiety she’s had ever since she came back.
As she was on her way to her local dojo, she saved a man from being beat-up in a nearby alley. It was an odd encounter. After saving the bizarre man, he offered her a job, a job that needed her combat skills and experience on the battlefield.
She didn’t expect for the job to be in some kind of parallel dimension where women rule and men are the subservient gender.
Mia realizes too late that she’s in over her head with what she just agreed to. With no way to go home, since the device that can send her back home is broken, she has no other choice but to train the ragtag group of men she stumbled upon and help free them from the oppressive women that run their country.
This was one of the most amazing things I’ve found about Across the Wire. A matriarchal parallel dimension? That’s just insane! Even now after finishing the book, I still can’t even wrap my head around the idea of a matriarchal society. It’s pretty cool actually. Across the Wire was like a dominatrix book on steroids. I was intrigued by the premise of the novel. It was the thing that drew me in in the first place. The idea of men being subservient to women took me a bit to get used to. In our reality, this idea is sadly far-fetched and a bit unreal. I am all for the I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR thing but Across the Wire sheds some a different kind of light on something that we have only ever imagined.
What kept me reading right through the last page (and anticipate the next books) was how well the author built up this extraordinary idea so masterfully. I cannot see any fault in the author’s world-building prowess. She brought Gaia to life. Every painstaking detail with which she described this made-up world only contributed to its complexity. Stella Telleria gave this strange new world dimension and character. And what’s awesome is that she was able to make the readers feel like they’re part of the world. Readers are not mere observers of the lives of the characters they read. I felt myself BELONG to this fictional world. Stella Telleria paints a vivid picture of her story that I just can’t help but feel transported into this world she created with her words. She made it impossible to want to get out.
Aside from the world itself, who can’t help but love a book about men. Oh boy, this book sure has its fair share of incredibly hot fictional book boyfriends. So yeah, before I get carried away, I just wanted to say that I really admired Stella Telleria’s characters in Across the Wire. I am amazed with her apparent ease at bringing words to life. First, the world she established. And now, even the characters are jumping out of the page. Just like with how she presented Gaia, her characters were complex and multidimensional. I really appreciated how each character had their own backstory. This proves how much thought the author put into writing this book. The interesting characters surely added to the appeal of Across the Wire. Of course, Mia is such a riveting character all on her own. But combine it with the the men she meets in Gaia… well, let’s just say that it was one hell of a delicious mix.
I enjoyed the dynamic between the characters. I especially craved for scenes with Mia and her elite fighting force. Okay, as much as I love a good romance, I’m a sucker for some kickass fight scenes. Across the Wire is not short of these badassery. And yes, that’s a word in my world ;). Across the wire definitely made my heart race in more ways than one. The butt-whooping? It was awesome. Add that to the fact the Mia the ex-marine is doing the whooping. She’s just a badass character and I can’t help but admire her and look up to her. At the same time, she fights to keep her vulnerability hidden waaaaay inside. But Eben, one of the slaves they rescued from a mining camp, knows just how to get under her skin.
Eben is no stranger to pain and hardship. After all, he lived most of his adult years suffering through that damned mining camp. He sees the vulnerability behind Mia’s tough exterior. In turn, Mia sees through Eben’s docile façade, the result of years of being a slave. She sees the strong-willed man lurking just beneath and she can’t help but feel drawn to Eben’s quiet strength. I absolutely adored Mia and Eben. It was kind of frustrating that they can’t move along the relationship track fast enough. They’re made for each other and I can’t wait to see more of them under that kind of light.
Across the Wire also packs a surprisingly emotional punch. Stella Telleria just made me love her characters and it was painful every time they go out on a mission. I devour every word, every paragraph, every page… hoping with everything in me that these characters I’ve learned to love will survive to fight another day. Right at the end, Across the Wire guts readers in one of the most unexpected ways. And gutted, I was! Damn that last chapter. You’d have to read it to know what I’m talking about. And trust me on this, YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO MISS OUT ON THIS ONE. Go grab a copy and be mesmerized with Stella Telleria’s Across the Wire. I know MY head is still stuck in Gaia with Mia and Eben.