Book Review: Left Alive #1

Left Alive #1 by Jeremy Laszlo

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First off, this book is one that is a bit outside my preferred reading. Not because of genre–I simply don’t usually read books that are written in the first person point-of-view. When I do read books written in this point-of-view, they have to be tightly written or I find myself putting them down. This one was not as tightly written as I prefer, but I did push through it simply because I’m a writer, too, and I would like to think that people will give my books the same consideration.

A few things I noticed that really made the book seem hum-drum to me was that it really needed a good, thorough editing by someone who does that type of thing for a living. In the first 38% of the book (I read it on the Kindle), the main character essentially thought the same cluster of input about his wife and two daughters about every other paragraph. I almost put the book down, and I’ll be honest, I did close it out on my Kindle and go read some short stories to give myself a break from it.

The other major issue I noticed is that all the trees and plants are dead. With all those people breathing, the world would be full of carbon dioxide pretty quickly without our natural carbon dioxide scrubbers going through photosynthesis. I’m assuming that some survived somewhere, but it would not be enough to sustain an entire planet of people, and there still seem to be a lot of people.

It had great potential for an excellent dystopian novel, and I do believe that if Laszlo had gone through a few more edits, it could have been a 5-star novel. It just needed a bit more polish.

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Book Review: Pawn

Pawn by Ernie Lindsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I pulled this book off the free book list a couple of months ago, I was a bit iffy about it. It looked interesting, and I love Dystopian-style novels, but it also had an alternative fiction sound to it, and I’ve never really been able to get into that, but I tried it anyway. It was a very good read.

It takes place in the distant future in the area that is made up of Southern Virginia and, I think, the north-eastern pocket of North Carolina. I know what Warrenville used to be, but the geography was a bit hard to determine. A larger sect of one of the governments is invading this governmental group to capture “workers” to run their factories and harvest their fields.

There is a small group of people known as the Kinders that seem to be a scientific experiment that turned on their own government. It never fully explains what they are because the only information Caroline (the young narrator) has is all handed down through oral history, and it’s been distorted over the years. They are super-humans, and Caroline and her buddy, Finn, turn out to be the only two left. They have had no true training in their powers, and Caroline is not even supposed to come into her powers until her fifteenth birthday.

Two major things about this story really bother me, and both seem to be “coincidental bits of luck” that seemed to only happen because the story could not have unfolded like it did if they did not happen. However, it did not make sense that it unfolded that way.

Number one: Yes, Caroline is a great scout, and she seems to be very well-trained in surviving, but she is fourteen years old. Why would a grown man and his band of outlaws follow a 14-year-old girl who at the time is not showing that there is anything special about her?

Number two: She had been struggling with her powers the entire novella. She could not make them work when she needed them to. She does not even know¬†what all of her powers are because Finn says that every Kinder’s powers are different. It just bugged me that in that dire moment at the end of the novella, that her powers suddenly came to their full strength (before her birthday, mind you) and that she was able to control all of them, even the ones she had never exhibited before this moment. For me, it was “convenient” and mostly unbelievable. Now, I know that there are sequels to this story, so her getting killed because one of her powers failed or because she overestimated herself was not an option, but she could have gotten hurt. That would have made it more believable for me.

All in all, though, it was a good read. I will definitely be keeping a look out for the next one.

Book Review: Wool, Part One by Hugh Howey

Wool (Wool, #1)Wool by Hugh Howey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this! I’ve had the novella on my kindle for a while but kept putting it off because it was a shorter piece, and I knew I could read through it quickly. And quickly I did. I could not put it down. I wanted to know more about this world that these people lived in, and I wanted to know more about the world outside that they were not allowed to really think about.

I loved the concept of those that were sent outside being asked to clean the screens for everyone else on the inside to see the world beyond the silo.

I’m going to add the rest of the series to my “to read” list so I can get the full story!

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Book Review: Alternative History Issue 1 by Mark Lord

Alt Hist Issue 1Alt Hist Issue 1 by Mark Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love reading and writing alternate history, so finding a copy of this to read was a real treat for me. It was pretty good. There was only one story in the whole edition that I could not get into and that was simply because it was written in dialect, and I don’t particularly enjoy struggling through a piece because I have to translate it from phonetically-spelled English to literary English.

Otherwise, though, it was a very interesting read, and it really opened my eyes up to the possibilities of how one event in history can be changed and so much more could be changed by it.

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