Judith’s review of Spider-Touched by Jory Strong.
In a post-Apocalyptic world where supernaturals have emerged from hiding, wealthy humans live secure while the masses struggle to survive. Civil rights belong to the powerful—and ultimate freedom to those brave enough to risk their souls by embracing ancient enemies…
Held prisoner by humans, his angelic memory and power lost because of the sigil-inscribed collar around his neck, Tir dreams of freedom and hungers for vengeance. He’s sworn he’ll never lie with a mortal, but when Araña removes his shackles and helps him escape his captivity, she melts his icy control and leaves him burning with desire. She’s a temptation he can’t resist—an unknowing enemy who might well enslave him more thoroughly than the chains he’s worn for centuries.
Branded, feared, untouchable because of the deadly spider-shaped mark on her skin, Araña is unaware of her true origins. Raised in a fundamentalist settlement until she escaped and found refuge among outcasts and criminals, she believes herself demon-tainted. But when her unnatural psychic ability causes her to weave her destiny to Tir’s, their alliance turns into an exploration of passion, and begins a quest that will lead to her Djinn heritage.
Powerful forces brought them together to serve a greater purpose…but learning the truth of what they are will destroy them—unless their love is strong enough to overcome the dark legacy of a battle that began with the birth of mankind.
Jory Strong is an author I have not encountered before reading Spider-Touched. However, whatever may have been the public’s response to her previous efforts, this novel is a memorable experience in the literature of alternate realities. This book is filled with shapeshifters, dark and violent humans whose sadism violates the citizenry by their very presence, witches, gifted humans of various psychic abilities, wealthy and powerful people who rule with no concern for anyone but themselves, vampires, fallen angels and ghouls. Strong has connected with the strangest of muses as she has built a world that is as dark and confusing as a John Carpenter movie, riding on a background of unrelieved sensuality and eroticism. In fact, the background of some of the contemporary post-apocalypse movies flashed through my mind as I was reading. Even so, this is a book that should be assigned in college courses on the contemporary American novel.
Spider-Touched tells the story of Anana and Tir, individuals who have strange and wonderful abilities but have not the slightest idea of what they are. The tale Strong weaves is obviously a story of good against evil, love against the forces of all that is alien to true relationship, but that is where any semblance of simplicity ends. The characters are dark, dark, dark!! Not many smiles, little tenderness to be found, and apart from the smouldering sexuality of the main characters, no regard or closeness to speak of. It is a world culture and society that is completely foreign to anything familiar; in fact, the world as we know it has ceased to exist. It is raw and cutting in its intensity and certainly not a novel for the fainthearted.
When all is said and done, Strong is an author of awesome proportion. Her skill at putting such a novel together is extraordinary. The various characters appear and then disappear, the strands of their individual experience merge and then separate and then merge again, just like the webs which spiders create with such care and intricacy. It is truly a work of literary art! It is not easy to read, but once begun, draws the reader on, moving from one scene to the next. When I read the final paragraph, my comment literally flew audibly out of my mouth: “Oh my gosh, what a book!” If one is seeking a quick and facile literary experience here, forget it. Reading Spider-Touched takes commitment to the reading task!
Rating 5 out of 5
This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here.