Thursday, February 23, 2012
This Reader's Review: Part V "Diamond Life"
I love to read as much as I love to write. Anticipating a new work of art from an author I dig is an awesome experience. This is what I've been waiting for. I can't even contain my excitement for the sequel to Aliya S. King's "Platinum." The first book was this peek behind the curtain look into the lives of the Hip Hop elite. King's characters which consists of Z, a rapper with am addiction; Jake, a rapping CEO; Kipenzi, a soulful singer; Beth, Z's suffering loving wife; Josephine the designer wife of Ras, another rapper; Cleo, a groupie who's written a tell all that mentions some of the other characters; Alex, a writer who ghostwrites Cleo's book; Birdie, the rapping husband of Alex; Zander, son of Beth and Z and a singer; Bunny, singing girlfriend of Zander. Every character is fully thought out and developed. I love the depth of each individual character and the manner in which they interactive with one another.
King has the gift of spinning a story that makes the reader feel as if they are an integral part of the storyline. I have been completely invested in her characters from the first chapter of the first book. And even though I'm not privy to the underbelly of the entertainment world, King through her characters make me feel like I am. From both books, I have wanted all of the characters, minus Cleo, to win. I'm a fan of these characters. They are all flawed and real. They seem like people I know. I can identify with so much of their triumphs and failures, their gains and their losses. These characters became people to me. That's one of the signs of a great book by a great author. I have to address the eerie similarities of King's Kipenzi in "Platinum" and the late Whitney Houston and Aaliyah. Kipenzi was America's singing sweetheart who dies a tragic death. It's so ironic that Whitney and Aaliyah suffered the same fate. I reread both books and that is the one thought I could not shake.
"Diamond Life" picks up in a great spot. The ending of "Platinum" was an equal mix of great happiness and sadness. The characters are different yet the same. The character that is most different has to be Z. He's clean and sober. He's doting on his family and working on being a better person. I was most impressed with his evolution. Any person who has watched a family member battle back from an addiction will definitely know what I'm speaking of. I wanted Z to win the most. His wife Beth is totally different. She has become a shell of a person now that he is clean. This affects their relationship in ways Z's cheating, drugging and abuse could never do. It was very interesting to watch that marriage change throughout the book. Their son Zander is stepping into the entertainment world that his Dad seems destined to walk away from. Talented he is but he seems to lack some common sense. But don't all teenagers? His story was essential in so many ways. It shows that the "business" is brutal and if you aren't tough enough it will chew you up and spit you out. Zander was not prepared for all of the pitfalls. His girlfriend Bunny was another person not built for the industry. She was talented but full of herself and had a bad attitude.
The triangle that is Ras, Josephine, and Cleo explodes during this book. Their story is so intertwined, so deep and so devious. I did not see this epic twist coming. I loved it even more because of that. Josephine is still one of my favorite characters. While Cleo remains the one I hate the most. The woman is categorically flawed. In different spots in the book, I felt empathetic towards Ras and Josephine. Their story really pulled me in. Birdie and Alex had an roller coaster ride during this book. Some things I felt were going to happen did, others I couldn't picture happened as well. I still love them as a couple. Last but certainly not least, is Jake. Jake for most of the book is a drunken, grieving mess. I expected Kipenzi's death to affect him in many ways. His storyline goes to so many different ways. He goes from the lowest of lows to an extreme high. His ending in the book caught me completely offguard. I personally did not like his final choice. It seemed adverse to the man he has been portrayed as. There are a few new characters. None more intriguing than Lily. Her story is one you have to read to believe. I am still shocked about it. Any one reading this will become totally invested in each of these characters.
"Diamond Life" was everything I wanted in a sequel and more. Aliya S. King did a wonderful job of bringing her characters full circle from "Platinum." I was a fan before and now I am an uber fan. I loved her writing style. As an aspiring author, I see her writing as a blueprint for what I want to accomplish. Her books made me feel a range of emotions. Her words made her characters come alive in my head. Her story just flowed. I read both books in one sitting. I did not want to put it down. That is the characteristic of a great piece of work. I suggest all of my literary loving readers get into this book and it's predecessor. You will not be disappointed. Trust me.