Book Review: Neglected Merge

Eve Koguce’s Neglected Merge paints a complex, detailed portrait of a seemingly Utopian world, created following a catastrophic event that brought together the remains of two disparate worlds. Each builds its post-Apocalyptic society with contentment at its core. How the worlds defined the idea is as different as the nations themselves as well as the fated mates who strategize to merge their ways of life so they might have a future together.

Tauria, who is Wingless, was born into a life of perfection because happiness is a universal truth: Every need is met. Hobbies are encouraged. Relationships exist only to bring pleasure until they don’t, and then, they’re easily discarded. Though she often doubted her true happiness within this paradigm, she never gives herself permission to question her contentment with her way of life until a fated meeting with Doron, a Winged One. By contrast, his world seems austere; the Winged Ones are contented in their technological savvy and appear to be unreadable. Their mutual fascination spurs a series of events that re-opens dialogue between their nations for the first time in centuries.

This is where Koguce’s brilliance comes out to play. Through poetic prose that constructs two vivid and complex worlds with beauty and dimension, she urges her reader to consider whether perfection can be defined in concrete terms, especially if it is subject to fluid interpretation.  The ideological undertones are striking, poignant, and well on point as delegations from the respective cultures, led by Tauria and Doron, grapple with the question of how and whether their societies might co-mingle and/or co-exist. It’s typical to bring skepticism and mistrust to the unknown. But at a point, is one forced to explore whether assimilation – of culture, ideals, and even appearance – is required for total acceptance?

This is the central question that ultimately catalyzes Tauria’s actions and motivations. Empowered by the notion that their worlds are more alike than different, she leads the nascent, blended nation into a new phase as they face new conflicts – together.

Neglected Merge is hopeful, colorful, and thoughtful. It is the type of novel that tempts subsequent reads, each of which promises to reveal some ever yet more insightful tidbit.