Debt Collector Series
Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
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What's your life worth on the open market?
A debt collector can tell you precisely.
Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He's just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja's sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane... until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn't what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone--a dark pit he's not sure he'll be able to climb out of again.
In part 1 of the Debt Collector Series, we get transported into a dark world where money has no value and the currency is life.
I have to admit that when I began reading this series, I didn't really know what to expect. First, the story is dark and gritty. Second, it's short and are divided into episodes, which is really unique. Third, this is my first read from Susan Kaye Quinn, and at the intensity that this series has captured my attention, I'm confident to say that this book is only a first of many!
In Delirium, we meet Lirium. (I actually love the name-play/reference!) He's a debt collector -- basically, he takes the "life force" or "life energy" of someone and transfers it to people who can make use of it better (e.g. scientists, etc). Taking someone's "life energy" gives him a bit of high, but once he passes it onto another, he experiences a "low" or a feeling of emptiness inside him. Character-wise, I love how Lirium is upfront about why he's into debt-collecting. I love how he takes the notoriety of his job all in stride.
I also love how the world-building was done in Delirium! And as the first book in the series, I'd have to say that Delirium is successful in introducing the main character and carving an alternate world to the reader. At the same time, it's intriguing and it definitely made me want to read more!
- x o O o x -
Agony (Part 2)
Lirium tries to forget Apple Girl, but a rough collection finds him spiraling deeper into the abyss. He faces a one-way ticket to The Retirement Home for debt collectors, until his psych officer offers a way out.
Agony is just as painful as it sounds: it has a cliffhanger! (Dang-nabbit!)
In Agony, we get to see more of the dark world that the author has successfully carved out. Agony begins as soon as Delirium ends, and not a time is wasted because the reader is introduced to more people from Lirium's world: Candy, Lirium's psych officer and Ophelia, someone who has proficiency in debt-collecting, but whose work is mostly shady.
The interaction between Lirium and Ophelia is like sex on paper; it's pleasurable and it gives them a high, but it's not exactly sex. I'd have to say that I love how the author narrated the scene between Lirium and Ophelia. Through Lirium and Ophelia's interaction, the act of taking and giving "life energy" is demonstrated thoroughly. Though Ophelia told Lirium that it's Candy who sent her, I'm still a little wary of her. I don't know why.
What I didn't like in Agony though is that it has a cliffhanger. As a reader, I really dislike cliffhangers, but objectively speaking, since the author got me itching to read the next part, I'd say that the cliffhanger was an effective marketing tool!
- x o O o x -
Ecstacy (Part 3)
Lirium's attempts to find Ophelia take him to the last place he wants to be.
Deeper into danger: this pretty much sums up what Lirium gets himself into in Part 3 of the Debt Collector Series.
In Ecstacy, Lirium lands himself into more trouble because of Apple Girl and Ophelia. From Part 1 to Part 3, Lirium's sentiments in this series is this: women -- the downfall of men. LOL. If Lirium is portrayed as a straight debt-collector in Delirium (Part 1), this is where he makes all the choices which lands him into boiling water.
In this installment of the debt collector, he meets all sorts of people which he didn't think he'd even have a chance to interact with. He becomes an unwilling philanthropist to a couple of sick kids which leaves him reeling with a stronger high, and with a much stronger low. Basically, he ended up giving his services to the very people he's been warned not to entertain. Aside from the precarious situations that Lirium faces, it also doesn't help that his mental condition is in a state of chaos attributable to the illegal services he provided. Seriously, if external forces don't kill him, I have no doubts that his mental state will.
Also, what I like about this part of the installment is that Lirium is humanized. He's not some sort of heartless debt collector that people think he is. Once his neat and strict organization of things was messed up, his flaws were revealed one by one. And of course, just like the other installments, Ecstacy also ends with a cliffhanger which makes the reader crave for more.
From what I've read so far, Susan Kaye Quinn's Debt Collector series provides one hell of a ride in a distinctly dark world where life has a price!