A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden

Firstly, huge thank you to Rebecca for sending me a copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date:
Length: 304 pages
Sci-Fi | Dystopian

CW: n/a


A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta. The rich live in Anais, the capital city of Cutta, sheltered from the famine and disease which ravage the rest of the Kingdom. Yet riches and power only go so far, and even Anaitians can be executed. It is only by the will of the King that Nate Anteros, son of the King’s favourite, is spared from the gallows after openly dissenting. But when he’s released from prison, Nate disappears.

A stark contrast, Catherine Taenia has spent her entire life comfortable and content. The daughter of the King’s Hangman and in love with Thom, Nate’s younger brother, her life has always been easy, ordered and comfortable. That is, where it doesn’t concern Nate. His actions sullied not only his future, but theirs. And unlike Thom, Catherine has never forgiven him.

Two years pass without a word, and then one night Nate returns. But things with Nate are never simple, and when one wrong move turns their lives upside down, the only thing left to do is run where the King’s guards cannot find them – the Outlands. Those wild, untamed lands which stretch around the great walls of the Kingdom, filled with mutants and rabids.



I haven’t read a dystopian novel for a while, despite loving the genre, so when A Touch of Death landed in my email I was very excited to get started on it, especially as it was the first in a series. Whilst I had some minor issues with the novel, it didn’t stop me from enjoying it or from purchasing the sequel (which I’m also excited to start). 

Whilst both Nate and Catherine are the protagonists of the novel, however the novel is mostly told through Catherine’s perspective. It’s because of this that I found it difficult to get into the novel at times as I didn’t particularly like Catherine. I think this is more because I really liked Nate, so when she frequently seemed like she was whining or hating on Nate for no real reason. I could see that there was clearly bad history between them, but it would have been nice to see it in more detail so we can really understand where Catherine’s hate came from (before the events that caused them to go on the run), other than her love of Thom and how Nate’s actions had hurt him. I did enjoy seeing how their relationship developed through the novel and the new friendships they made with the sibling group along the way. 

I was very interested in the world that Crunden had built, however there were times where I was confused in how the world looked and worked. I feel that for a first novel in a series that I would have liked more details about the world as it wasn’t always clear. However, as it is a first novel I do think that more will be revealed and explored through the series. Whilst it wasn’t always totally clear of the reasons behind certain elements of the world or the actions of the characters, that didn’t detract from the plot for me. I was very eager to see what would happen to Catherine and Nate and to learn more about the reason as to why they were on the run (you do know why, I’m just avoiding spoilers!). By the end I had tears in my eyes, which I wasn’t expecting and I wanted to see what was going to happen to the characters in the next book! 

I’m very keen to see where this series goes and I think this has the potential to be a great dystopian series. If you’re into dystopian novels, this one is definitely worth picking up, the end really brings it altogether!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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