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Emeline and the Mutants

In Emeline and the Mutants, the cure for AIDS has been found, but it brings a strange virus that melts down DNA. This causes a strange dystopia in Australia, where zombies (along with fairies, trolls, and mermaids) are now real.

Emeline, one of a group of survivors, lives in the compound with her brother. When he disappears, she must team up with Gwennie, a short person (the author uses the politically incorrect term of  midget) and the witch who lives outside of the compound.

I know there are many dystopian novels about compounds and zombies, but Emeline is unique for several reasons:

The author knows her setting. Rachel Tsoumbakos lives in Australia and she handles the terrain with a deft hand. She describes Emeline’s house, clothes, food from the Aussie point of view, and it’s lovely to get a look into that world.

Emeline is a great character. She is strong, and her reaction to her brother’s disappearance and probable death is to get a facial tattoo. I can relate to that.

Gwennie, Emeline’s partner and eventual friend, is amazing. I love when I encounter a character that is completely new, and Gwennie was not only very original but also a lot of fun. When she first arrives, Emeline greets her with an “Oh, no, here comes Gwennie” attitude. It establishes a tough, realistic stance that shies away from a sentimental take on short people.

I love when a book creates a firm friendship between two women. Female friendship is so important to me, and I rarely see a good example of it in books. Yes, romance is important too, but friends are often the glue and the support that keep you going between love affairs.

So it is fantastic to watch the relationship between Emeline and Gwennie grow. Their interactions are perfectly natural and very organic, so throughout the book they were living, breathing people to me.

The action itself is nonstop, and Tsoupbakos doesn’t hold back when it comes to gore and blood. Once I started reading the book I really felt involved with the novel and concerned for what would happen to the people in it.

Reviewed by Alison DeLuca : a writer of urban fantasy and steampunk adventure. She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.  As a teacher she taught every grade level in every kind of school district possible. She wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey. You can also find her at

Rachel Tsoumbakos is a stay home mother of two. Her main passions are writing, reading and organic gardening. Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and seven chickens in suburban Melbourne, Australia. While she has had several articles published through mainstream magazines, she has also written extensively for Suite 101 and True Blood Net. Emeline and the Mutants is her first published novel. A new novel, The Ring of Lost Souls, set in an abandoned mental institute on the outskirts of Melbourne, is her second novel.

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One Comment

  1. It’s good to see a great author review a great author. Emeline is a fantastic book. I’ve just yesterday started reading Ring of Lost Souls and am loving it from the off!

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