Book Review of Justine and Et Cetera by Liza Del Sabin
Liza Del Sabin is the creator of the Only Ones’ series. For those who don’t know, Only Ones is a Spanish-language book series that tells the stories of only two main characters. One is a human girl called Ariel and the other is a spider-like person called Spider. They’re thrown into a world of magic and fantasy after a failed suicide attempt attempts, and only one of them can regain the love of their lives.
I’ve read a few Liza Del Sabin novels before, and while her writing style is nothing like what I’ve experienced in her past works, I found this to be a very pleasant surprise. The book is also fast paced, yet at the same time has some very good character development. It’s well done, too, that is for a couple of reasons.
First of all, it’s obvious that Liza Del Sabin loves her work. In Justine and Et Cetera, she wrote about a couple of teenage girls who were in an abusive relationship. While the subject matter of that book was definitely graphic, it wasn’t at all what this novel is. There are no blood sheds, no guts, no anger, just pure, heartfelt emotion displayed by these two young women. It’s also clear that the writers knew exactly how they wanted the book to turn out, so you get a sequel that’s almost exactly the same as the first book. It just has more of it.
Speaking of which, I think it’s safe to say that Liza Del Sabin’s talent lies in her world building. She knows how to put readers into the characters’ shoes, and she does a fantastic job of it. When I took this book apart, each of the three parts felt like it was a mini-movie. There were explosions, reflections, secret messages, foreshadowing… everything you could have ever hoped for in a fantasy novel.
In addition to the intricate world building, Liza Del Sabin has a gift for weaving complex characters into an engaging storyline. Her unique take on sexuality also adds a bit of levity to the story. I especially loved how she threw in some romantic subplots, such as a crazy rich guy who has feelings for a poorer but attractive secretary. It added a nice touch of unexpected romance, which worked really well in the book. Add in a strong female protagonist and you have one of the best-read books out there.
I’m also really fond of the way she switches things up, moving between genres with surprising success. This book isn’t your typical fantasy book; it takes on a different form. It’s entertaining and engrossing, and I would highly recommend it. Highly recommended!