It's Book Review Wednesday, and here is a book I feel very fortunate to have read. Not only is it a great story, but the author has been VERY friendly and helpful!
In the world of Altadas, there are no more human births. The Regime is replacing the unborn with demons, while the Resistance is trying to destroy a drug called Hope that the demons need to survive.
Between these two warring factions lies Jacob, a man who profits from smuggling contraceptive amulets into the city of Blackout. He cares little about the Great Iron War, but a chance capture, and an even more accidental rescue, embroils him in a plot to starve the Regime from power.
When Hope is an enemy, Jacob finds it harder than he thought to remain indifferent. When the Resistance opts to field its experimental landship, the Hopebreaker, the world may find that one victory does not win a war.
My Review: 4 Stars
The moment I opened the book, I was hooked. The villain was set up immediately, with just enough of a hint to make you fear him without really telling you why. I love a good mystery like that, so it helped me to want to read more.
My interest began to wane a bit in Chapter 2, and I was forcing myself to read by Chapter 3. The book was written well overall--very few typos, the occasional phrase I would never use, etc. There is a good amount of information given to keep you interested in wanting to know more, but without a huge info dump.
My main issue with this book was with the lack of description. The author uses the word "war wagon", but without telling us what it looked like, how big it was, etc. The main character spends a lot of time in this "war wagon", but I have no idea what it was. I thought it was a tank at first, but the description makes it seem WAY too big. Basically, I could only picture the immediate surroundings of the character, which made it hard to put myself in his world.
The writing was a bit erratic and jerky at time. The sentences were all TECHNICALLY correct, but the flow just wasn't there for me. The structure was very "UK-ish", which made it hard for me to read.
It tends to move quickly--sometimes too quickly, in my opinion. You get a lot of story, but without really getting a feel for the characters. The main character--Jacob--started off good, but I liked him less and less as the story went on. He's too cool (unrealistically so), and never experiences a moment of fear. His only "weakness" is his love of money, and the author goes out of his way to emphasize that WAY too much. At the end of the book, I strongly disliked the main character, and not in a way that would make me want to keep reading.
That being said, the diversity of the characters was pretty good. Some were a bit clichéd--the general with the walrus moustache, the predictable bad guy, etc.--but overall the characters were interesting. They could have used a bit more fleshing out, as it made me hard to care when they died or were in pain.
I give it a four-star rating because it was pretty well written and the story was interesting, but had the characters been more relatable, it would have gotten a five-star review!
Here's a Taste:
Darkness fell upon the dunes, sapping the yellows and reds, replacing the grains with the overwhelming blanket of black. While Jacob was comfortable in the darkness, he felt more than a little claustrophobic in his metal cage, and he found driving more difficult, because now he was following the tiny flicker of fire that emerged from the cracks of the vehicle ahead. He did not know if they had lit an oil lamp, or if it was just the light of the furnace, but he was glad that it was there, and he tried not to block the light of his own furnace, to avoid a pileup of landships behind him.
For much of the journey in the darkness the pale flicker was not enough to guide him, and the smoke and steam that each landship released was no help, so he had to strain his hearing to catch the revving of other engines and the turning of their tracks.
“We hadn’t quite planned for this darkness,” Jacob whispered to Andil.
“We did,” Andil whispered back. “Believe me. It’s better this way.”
Suddenly the tiny glimmer of fire from the landship ahead went out, and the sounds died off suddenly, as if the darkness had consumed all things.
“Stop and douse!” Andil whispered harshly, and he took a bucket of water to the furnace, which hissed angrily as its fires flickered out. Jacob pulled the vehicle to a halt, and he glanced through one of the peepholes in the back to see that the other fires were being swiftly snuffed out.
“What’s wrong?” Jacob asked.
Andil shushed him. In the tiny glimmer of light that the embers cast, Jacob could see that Andil was hugging his legs, and that his hands were trembling. Jacob bit his lip to stop it following suit. He was not certain if he should peer outside or just stare at the disturbing shadows on the inside of the chassis. He hoped with fervour that nothing was staring back.
It seemed like an agonising wait, made all the more agonising by the enforced silence. His mind screamed at him, and his tongue tried to defy his belligerent lips. He thought that perhaps that was another reason why he bit them so fiercely.
Suddenly there was a deafening screech, louder than any Jacob had ever heard before. He covered his ears, and he saw that Andil had done the same, but Andil’s hands shook even more violently than before, as if he was fighting off an attacker that assaulted with sound. Another cry of metal sounded outside, followed by a phenomenal thump, which shook the ground and shook the landships, and shook anyone inside who was not already shaking.
Several more thuds struck the ground, each one growing fainter and farther away, until eventually the sounds were very distant, yet no less terrifying. Even when silence returned from wherever it sought refuge, the sounds continued to echo in all minds.
“What was that?” Jacob whispered, much lower than before.
“A Behemoth,” Andil said.
“It sounded big.”
About the Author:
Dean F. Wilson was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1987. He started writing at age 11, when he began his first (unpublished) novel, entitled The Power Source. He won a TAP Educational Award from Trinity College Dublin for an early draft of The Call of Agon (then called Protos Mythos) in 2001.
His epic fantasy trilogy, The Children of Telm, was released between 2013 and 2014.
Dean also works as a journalist, primarily in the field of technology. He has written for TechEye, Thinq, V3, VR-Zone, ITProPortal, TechRadar Pro, and The Inquirer.
You can find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QO2FQ52
Or on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23698892-hopebreaker
Dean hangs out on his social media sites, as well as his own website: