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When Industrialization Runs Amuck

Justin Grimmett Author Interview

Rilloön: Dark Passage follows a young and strong humanoid-like female who takes off on a dangerous seafaring adventure to save her people. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

Believe it or not, a very vivid dream served as the inspiration behind Rilloön. I dreamt of an island clan that I presumed had once lived on Earth.  It was simple hunter gatherer society that farmed from a rice paddy field.  Life was somewhat simple for these people with one major exception.  The problem these folks encountered was a major snake infestation.  This issue was so bad, they had created a temple for the snake gods.  

Unfortunately, this wasn’t exactly a pleasant dream.  These people practiced ritualized sacrifice so their entire population wouldn’t be decimated by the plague of serpents.  Sacrificial beds lined the deepest room in the temple.  The unlucky few were slid into the snake mouth carved at the foot of the bed.  This tunnel, in turn, emptied into the dark “underworld.”  These lost souls were never seen again.

What was the inspiration for the culture of your characters? Is it modeled after any particular society?

Primarily, the culture is heavily influenced by ancient Mesoamerica.  I studied the Aztecs and Mayan while in school.  There is also a generous helping of Greek mythology mixed in.  I paid homage to Apollonius’s ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ in the later chapters.   As you can probably guess, I was pretty much geeking out the whole time.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There are a few themes that I explore in my book.   The first is that of an oppressive society.  The echniodyne are a poor and ragged society.  They have somehow managed to survive after the brutal decimation of their world.   (Fun fact.  The name I gave them is a zoological reference to barnacles.  They literally cling to the volcanic spires that jut out of the Alkaline Sea.) 

The echniodyne are ruled by the Fettaris, an upper-class order of priests.  This sect administers the fell will of their new gods, the evil Lecht’veneá.  It was interesting to dissect the many different levels of their hodgepodge society.  The echniodyne work together to survive, but things are far from harmonious.  From top-down, every level preys upon the other in some manner. 

You could also say the book is very environmentally friendly.  Karoquil is an extreme example of what happens to a world when industrialization runs amuck and unchecked.  Let’s just say that there is no love lost between the surviving mutants and their forebears.  Their world is a living hell.

Is this the first book in the series? If so, when is the next book coming out and what can your fans expect in the next story?

This is the first book. I am planning on finishing the story up in a second which will be a bit different from the first.

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Embark on a seafaring expedition that spans the diamond-shaped world of Karoquil.

Set sail across the treacherous Alkaline Sea.

Join the ranks of a brave crew as they travel into the unknown.

But beware, there are more than ravenous creatures waiting out past the forbidden zone.

Sinister forces lay beneath the dark undertow.




Rilloön: Dark Passage by Justin Grimmett is a seafaring sci-fi epic that is sure to leave readers on the edge of their seats. The story follows Rilloön, a young echniodyne living on the island of Chloelle on a diamond-shaped planet called Karoquil. The echniodyne are a scaly humanoid race living under the despotic rule of the cruel lect’veneel after being abandoned by their gods eons ago. After a vision calls into question everything the echniodyne know, Rilloön must make a dangerous journey into forbidden waters in hopes of finding a better life for her people. Along the way, she’ll face up against the deadly leviathans that inhabit her world’s oceans and the secrets and history that have been hidden from the echniodyne for generations.

Though science fiction on its surface, the worldbuilding appears to draw heavily from the fantasy and dystopian genres as well, coming together to form a setting with a little bit of something for everyone. Whether you want a tale of rediscovered lost technology or an action-packed adventure on the high seas, this book will not disappoint. It also features a strong female protagonist, something that can be a bit of a rarity in the genre. The author does a good job of avoiding some of the more negative tropes associated with female characters- while Rilloön is unquestionably competent and fierce, she’s also allowed to be vulnerable and, for lack of a better term, human, in a way that many a “strong female character” is sadly lacking.

While the worldbuilding is incredibly in-depth, I found some of the word choices odd. For example, as it takes place on an alien planet completely disconnected from our own, slang terms like “heebie-jeebies” felt a bit out of place. Other than that, the writing is incredible and readers are able to immerse themselves fully into the world created by Grimmett.

Rilloön: Dark Passage is a gripping sea story adventure novel that science fiction and fantasy novel readers will be able to enjoy as elements from both are present. The unique world the author has created is truly fascinating, and I look forward to spending more time there in future installments.

Pages: 460 | ASIN : B096ZK86JX

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