As vivid and breathtaking as the first volume, I was once again completely taken into the world of Constellis Voss. With a focus on characters histories, and relationships I've found my self deeply I love with more then one character. And topped off with jaw dropping twists THAT ARE MAKING ME LOSE MY MIND IN THE BEST WAY!!!!!!
It's kind of ironic that alot of scifi glosses over the human aspect of the dystopian vison the author puts forth. That is not the case with Indigo Voss. It's right in your face and you have to deal with it.
Where do I start? This book moved me to tears! The cast is as dynamic as ever and never strayed from their own stances on social issues. Kira did an excellent job with this book! I like how it ended realistically and all of the cast are able to live their own lives and be happy. I hope to see more of this universe that I’ve come to love. I recommend this book to anyone who’s a sci-fi lover.
This book is incredibly intense at all times and that is very much modern queerness.
I'm not going to talk about the plot because where this book shines is the consistent tone of the narrator.
It's this "been there done that" voice that describes sex, the transition of gender, alternate realities, and everything.
It's exceptional in that way to start. Imagine if the coolest person you ever knew told you the coolest story you every heard.
And you are also very queer. Hearing the queer version of Luke Skywalker tell you not only are you not alone but you aren't crazy.
Indigo Voss is about the gun-toting, knife-waving, throat-tearing, a-moral moments of violence and betrayal in the curated memories of Alex Voss in pursuit of a life worth living.
It is also about the spaces between despair, where we can find things worth living for; sometimes another person, sometimes a moment of passion, and sometimes a particularly colorful sky.
This story is as heavy with metaphorical rebirth as it is with literal death,
Rebirth is something I feel is pivotal to the queer experience and central to the immigrant and diaspora experience, aspects I felt I could relate to (myself being those things).
Killing yourself in all the ways just shy of in the literal sense to learn who (and what) you are.
Returning yourself from the fringes and dark spaces you were forced in to, realized and unashamed.
Indigo Voss goes hard from the start and the underlying feeling is told in a way that speaks loudly from a familiarity with the subject; something I think many authors try for but don’t have the experience to draw on (or the self awareness to recognize stories they have no business telling). In this case I felt the story brought a secluding and visceral reminder to the reader of where they’ve been (or are); and simultaneously an endearing (and I pray with every piece of myself, achievable) promise that things could be better.
I heartily recommend Indigo Voss and look forward to the prospect of seeing future works by K. Leigh.
This book meant a lot to me. Its themes of feeling disconnected from society, of identity and being lost, of being transactional because that’s what was tortured into you resonated strongly with me. I also absolutely should mention how important it is to the story that Alex is trans.
I just can't see myself in the innocent farmer's son who goes with the bearded wise man to find a sword and become king. Honestly, I don't trust them, I don’t like them, and I was never, ever innocent enough to do either. But a first-person narrator who constantly tells me how much they hate being manipulative, while being manipulative toward me; who tells me how vile they are while also being kind of proud of it; who so desperately wants me to love or at least understand them while also not giving a fuck? I’ll happily let them live rent-free in my head forever. That’s what Indigo Voss delivers, and then some.
I have a comparison for you, not about the kind of book this is (or reminds me of), but about the style it is written in. It's been a while since I watched Angel Heart, and my long-term memory is one of the victims of too many depression-related ECTs. But I do remember the impression the movie made in my brain. The feelings of a feverish, manic, fractured narrative that was less told and more inserted - under great pressure - into my skull. That’s how Indigo Voss read to me.
While reading Indigo Voss, it sometimes felt like a different kind of performance I invented in my head. An actor, standing alone on a small stage, in a small club, screaming, crying, laughing, winking the whole text as a monologue directly at me.
Indigo Voss asks the question: who is Alex Voss?
If you read the author's preceding books the Constellis Voss trilogy, you probably have a good idea. But for newcomers, he is complete mystery.
In this novel, Kira Leigh takes us through a hellish beginning where a genre is battled and the embers of hope are crushed beneath the foot of a persistent pervading threat.
The second act introduces (technically reintroduces) Alex's chosen family of flawed misfits and how they band together with a touch of manipulation in 1990s New York City.
And finally, the third act bends and distorts everything with an ending that struggles against the predestination chosen for the protagonist.
This is about the life of Alex Voss, but it is also about his death. The specter of his death looms over the whole story. And yet the protagonist resists fate. The chosen family resists fate.
It is a struggle that yields immeasurable hope in a world of obscene darkness.
This story lacks the trappings of a scifi world centuries beyond our world, but it does not need it. The author presents a dogged determination to break the pattern to create a second chance. Indeed, it shows how "something awesome" can change everything.
It's very much the same message as Constellis Voss with a different package and wrapping, but it's the same message which cannot be said enough: If we band together, we can overcome those who exploit the exploitable and seize happiness from those who hoard it.
Both Indigo Voss and Constellis Voss go together like peanut butter and chocolate - they complement each other profoundly and yet can exist apart as equally delicious pieces of art.
I greatly recommend you read both to really get the optimum experience from this world, this character, and this pathos and ethos presented by the author.
The content itself can be harsh and unflinching so it is very much not for everyone. Depictions of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse run throughout the story - but for a very good purpose. This is not a pulp novel but a real shot at creating art that represents a tortured individual in a bittersweet world. But, again, not for everyone so just be careful if it's not to your taste. (not everyone likes peanut butter and chocolate, but that's okay!)
There’s something about the way this book opens that punches you in the gut right away. The care and attention given to each scene in visceral detail reaches out and refuses to let you go, which isn’t something most books can accomplish.
If this book is anything, it’s dripping with intent. Don’t be afraid of the heady messages and themes that are buried in here about trauma, love, self-worth and how people who are different are forced to navigate a world that often makes no sense to them.
If you know Alex from the Constellis Voss books, it helps, but you don’t need to have read the previous books to be immersed. Alex is a complicated character who just wants the surrounding people to be happy after growing up a subject of abuse, neglect and forced into a life of sex trafficking and crime. Alex’s struggle with identity is never internal, it’s almost always external. While Alex understands he’s a boy, it’s everyone else insisting on treating him differently, be it like a girl or placating him by calling him a boy, but treating him differently.
When Alex can finally make friends is when things get complicated. At that point, Alex has already morphed into an assassin, hell bent on destroying his captor and boss, Boris, and is convinced not just that he’s a bad person, but an irredeemable villain that doesn’t deserve love and affection. While love is a central theme, don’t confuse it with romance. There is some romantic love at parts of Alex’s life, but it all gets jumbled up in his head while he’s fighting his fracture psyche and trying to literally push Boris’s deadly bullet leveled at him out of his head and prevent his own death.
Most of the book is Alex experiencing and fighting for these memories. The ones he doesn’t want seem to be the strongest, while the ones he wants to hold on to and cherish are the ones being wiped out by the bullet that’s coursing through his mind. Because there are always those people in life that want to control, to take all the accumulated good and block it out to maintain that control. Whether Alex realizes it or not, Alex isn’t the villain, nor is he only the summation of the things he was forced to do (mainly fuck and kill), but is a person with a lot to give and built up a community of people initially to help reach his end goal of destroying Boris, only for that to become something much more.
The book’s climax was masterfully built to, and not at all expected. Because this isn’t a story about revenge, fucking and killing. It’s a book about finding the people who love you, accept you for who you are and will accept all the messy bits that come with these relationships.
Getting to know, and I mean really know, some of these characters is also a treat, and helps add more context to the other books. Getting to see prime Alex interacting with all of them and forging these bonds that will carry forth into the future is really something.
Indigo Voss is lots of things.
Like the opening pages would have you believe, it's very similar to pieces like Mr. Robot (with all the mind-bending uncertainty that you'd expect from such a comparison). It keeps the reader on their toes and challenges the assumptions we take for granted when reading fiction. It also builds a strange rapport with the main character/narrator that, while reminiscent of Elliot, is definitely his own character that stands on his own. Reading Indigo Voss will be confusing, and a bit of a slog. But by the end, it all comes crashing together to make a violently beautiful picture.
It's also a story about trauma. Alex drags the reader, face first and screaming, through the events and scenarios that had a part in forming his self. At the same time, Alex proves himself to be more than his trauma, wrenching control from a position of near powerlessness to become someone with a life to live. All the while attracting people like him to his side and offering them refuge and power.
Indigo Voss is also about fate. K. Leigh has often described this story as being about a man changing his fate, and I have a hard time disagreeing. Throughout the entire book, Alex reminds himself and the audience of his inevitable demise at the hands of an imprisoner turned colleague turned enemy. It haunts every chapter as a spectre of what's to come. Turning even the wholesome downtime into pure anxiety for the reader. What it does with this is something truly special that you have to read to fully comprehend.
It's also a story about queerness. Almost every protagonist is queer in some way. Alex is trans and bi (potentially pan, he doesn't label it in that kind of way) and boy does he not let you forget it. He interjects throughout the book to remind the reader how being trans has viscerally shaped and changed his life. All the while yearning for it to be nothing more than a simple fun fact about him. Alex captures the trans experience, especially the traumatised trans experience, in a way I've never seen before and crave to see again. This story also presents a good view of transmasculinity in general, which is sorely missed from our media.
Indigo Voss is a violent crime drama. Alex flies through the American and Russian crime worlds throughout the book and gives us a tasty yet dark experience for fans of such tales. From mob bosses to prison breaks, this doesn't have everything, but it has a lot. And it's described in gruesome detail.
This is a story about love. From sexual to platonic to familial. From the toxic facsimiles to the real thing. IV explores, in-depth, many different ways to love. It cheers on the ones that help, even if they're unconventional. And it spits on forms of love can don't deserve the name. There's heartbreak and heartwarming. And Alex is at the center of it all, recounting every detail, whether it be lovely or excruciating.
And, for as depressing and violent as it can be, Indigo Voss is hopeful. Not only for Alex, but for his friends and loved ones. For the future. And even for the reader.
And I think that should be the take away: IV offers a plethora of things (I haven't even touched them all) but behind all of it is hope.
Solid 9/10. Would recommend with the caveat that you can handle violence, rape, queerphobia, and disassociation.
Can't wait to read the other books in the series so I can come back and read this again!
Now Alex can adorn my walls and silently judge me while I work. Great.
Kira Leigh's character-driven space opera universe has expanded once more with a fourth installment. Indigo Voss takes place in a past far removed from the interstellar spacecraft we became familiar with in the original trilogy, Constelis Voss Volumes 1 through 3. Leigh reveals Alex Voss' 'true' backstory, previously shrouded by our unreliable narrator's copied computer mind. The Alex we are familiar with is a copy of Alex Voss, a transgender man from Russia. Alex is enslaved into prostitution from an early age, his birth family unknown to him. Alex’s indigo motif begins with the vivid blue sheets of the bed he is forced to perform on for cis male clients.The entirety of Indigo Voss, from my own reader's perspective, is a reflection on the boxes the gender binary places us in - from our professions to our personal lives, it is an iron fist around our throats. While Alex tries desperately to escape his feminized prison of sex, the men in his life that he attempts to reflect are poor specimens of masculinity, thus the image Alex displays to the world can be cruel and callous. Similarly, the alienation he experiences from the world of women is jarring and paints his feminine companions in occasional unpleasant colors through his own warped perspective. When he arrives to the United States in search of his freedom, the friends he makes along the way shapes his experience of gender and identity, helping to heal his trauma and ultimately save himself.
One scene that particularly sticks in my mind is when first meeting Moira, Alex is dressed as a woman. His English is not yet refined enough for in-depth conversation, but his connection to Moira begins with camaraderie and affection - juxtaposed to the pepper spray he is greeted with when approaching her as himself, a man. The metaphor could not be clearer.
Peppered with psychedelic artwork by the author-slash-artist, Indigo Voss is a fun, nail-biting romp through the multiverse that cuts the strands of fate with an indigo-handled knife - rather than a blue bed - named Alex.
Indigo Voss is breathtakingly poetic; with each sentence the darkest parts of Sofia and New York come alive in vivid color. Simultaneously a 90s crime thriller with a focus on the Russian Mafia and a mind-bending sci-fi experience of fate being braided and rewoven right before our eyes, it’s an exploration of despair, madness, and self hatred crashing against love and the constantly-reaching hands of friends and lovers.
Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, neither Alex nor his author pull a single punch in relating the story of his painful life. IV fully embraces the darkness, and the healing is all the sweeter in contrast. This prequel is an absolute knockout followup to the Sci-Fi masterpiece of Constelis Voss.
Pattern Recognition is an amazing sequel to the first book. The writing is just as deep and detailed as Colour Theory. The second book dives deep into the repeating cycles of trauma the cast still face in some ways. We also get to see more of the backstory of the gang’s lives as humans. And we see some backstory with Tyr as a mob boss in his previous life as well and why he became the man he is a little bit. The book also explores the conflict between Alex & Tyr and the gang’s interaction with each other in a deep and methodical way. I adore this book so much! I highly recommend this amazing novel!
Where do I start? Reading Vol. 1 was absolute blast to read through! It felt like I was a reading a manga and gave me a sense of nostalgia too. The writing was phenomenal! The descriptions of the book’s lore & concepts were spectacular and vivid. The characters were dynamic and real. I found myself emotionally connected to all the characters, especially the antagonist as well. I felt like a companion to their story, watching it unfold. The book also explores the relationships the characters have with each other. The more I read, the more gritty & gut wrenching it became. This book is subversive and queer as hell. I definitely recommend this amazing sci-fi novel. Kira has made a wonderful book!
Amazing writing, dynamic characters, intriguing plot line, vivid descriptions. This book has everything a reader could be looking for, but that's not why I love it. The emotional connection I had with the characters felt like a gun shot wound, and I mean that in the best way. It touches on feelings that we are often scared to look at, let alone put into words and I adored ever moment. This book is subversive, gorgeous, gut wrenching, and feels more personal then book I've read from a larger publisher, and the authors input makes it feel like taking a journey with a companion rather then braving the complex world of Constelis Voss alone. This book is the best example of why "industry standard" isn't the best approach to writing.
Excellent quality print for the price and looks gorgeous framed on my bedroom wall. This particular piece seems to breathe with motion by the colorful array around the subject. The X's scattered around their mouth and chest suggest silence and obscurity of the self. While the character's hair is short, the swath of yellow in the foreground gives the illusion of long hair blown forward by the wind. Prone hands drip magenta like blood, vacant gaze and posture implying a dissociative state. This piece is among my treasured favorite prints that I have purchased.
I feel myself at a bit of a loss with this book. I realise this ideally should be read as a continuous single session, vol 1 all the way through, but while I was intrigued by what on earth was going on, I can't say the experience was good enough to make me want the next installment.
The narrative was confusing (purposefully so), and while some might see that as a selling point, it made me gradually less invested as things went on. This wasn't helped by a breakneck pace, so not only was I unsure of what was happening, there was also a lot of things happening at once. I don't know how much of this is just personal taste (clearly there are a lot out there who enjoyed this one), but I thought a slower pace would have really served the narrative better.
There were also some other niggles. Due to the common use of epithets, and some characters sharing characteristics (how many blondes did we have again?), I found myself losing track of who was speaking, which obviously didn't help me make sense of what was going on. The meta asides from the narrator also came off as a trifle self-indulgent, but again, that's probably just a matter of taste.
Character-wise, their bizarre evolution as the novel went on was clearly part of the point, but it made it a bit difficult to connect. In the end, I wasn't really sure what character traits to assign to whom, except perhaps for the main character, who was a bit of a dick. That's not a criticism (characters don't have to be likeable to be interesting), but it did mean that he was the only one I ever felt any connection for, since he was the most consistently characterised.
No doubt if I read the remaining books the narrative would make a whole heap more sense, but I'm trying to review this as an intro to the project. To that end, at least for me, I don't think it hit the mark. Interesting, certainly, but not enough to get me to stick with it.
CONSTELIS VOSS eBook Trilogy Bundle
Action was good.
The colors came out very well and the canvas wrap and backing are solid and I’m very happy
It’s been a long time since I read a book in one sitting, and it happened again with COLOUR THEORY. This book hooked me from the first sentence, and Alex is so relatable and badass I swear I want to get a tattoo of him. This book is vivid, gritty, and it’s queer af; to say I'm in love is an understatement. If you haven't yet, pick the whole series immediately. Trust me.
Though Empty of Nothing can be read and appreciated without its greater context, it is nevertheless an essential addition to the Constelis Voss universe. Kira Leigh’s short prequel gives us important insight to the inner workings of Alex’s mind prior to the events of Colour Theory. For those familiar with the existing story, the sudden shift in setting was jarring in a deliciously horrific way.
Alex, now an unnamed narrator, is trapped in a hellish, white-walled complex filled with those who are Empty, seeking to fill their Lack. On the shoulders of their jumpsuits is stenciled what they are missing. One reads, ‘Empty: Water’ and seeks another whose ‘Empty: Dry’ will complete them. Those who are coupled are permitted to leave the facility, those who are not must stay. Alex is designated as an ‘Empty: Nothing.’ Because ‘Nothing’ cannot be a fulfilled Lack, he is stuck in the complex. The only other option is to become Violent and to be expelled from the facility through a tube that shoots its passengers up to the unknown surface above.
Alex and Olive struggle against the Didacta, an all-seeing computer entity that monitors their every move. However, it is an unfeeling creature and provides necessary information for our protagonists as well.
Empty of Nothing is a delicious morsel of story, an appetizer before the main course of Constelis Voss. Colored with Alex’s characteristic piss and vinegar and Olive’s optimism, this addition to K. Leigh’s post-apocalyptic space opera will scratch any sci-fi addict’s itch for the unusual.
Aside from its part in the greater storyline, Empty of Nothing is an important meditation on finding one’s place in a world where every puzzle piece is expected to fit. While the rest of the Empty individuals are expected to fill their Lacks, to seek satisfaction in others, Alex poses a question - why not fill your own Lack? Or, in Alex’s case, why should anyone be considered ‘lacking’ in anything?
Empty of Nothing is a different beast from the Constellis Voss trilogy. It's an introspective look into a neurodivergent mind, embracing that their understanding of the world is different but not wrong. To the contrary, the author extolls that neurodivergence as a path to truth and perhaps liberation from the restrictions of a binary world. It's a very thorough exploration of a perspective often poorly understood by neurotypicals (including myself!).
It's a really great story to read after finishing the trilogy. It will get you to go back to Color Theory and start reading the original books all over again. Even without the preceding story's context, it's still a good mindtrip and exploration of neurodivergence but reading the whole trilogy beforehand makes it a real treat, especially as a prequel.
This is it. Our cast of misfits is stretched to their absolute limit. The truth is finally laid bare. All hell is breaking loose and it's up to Alex and company to make things right. But can they overcome the hatred and injustice of the past? There is a spark of hope, yes. But can our heroes grab it? Can they fix this? Kira Leigh brings things to a worthy, showstopping end, leaving the audience wanting more.
The next chapter of Constellis Voss continues right where Color Theory left off with a BANG. As we decipher the characters' actions via Pattern Recognition, we see more of the big picture. Revelations strip away any pretense of coincidence as the machinations of another come to light. And with those revelations, superpowers! You will continue to fall in love with the quirky cast of characters as they are put through their biggest trials yet. Kira Leigh truly gets to have his cake and eat it too while deftly building to the unavoidable climax on the horizon.