Review: The Breadwinner ~ Stevie Kopas

The breadwinnerThe end of the world is not glamorous. In a matter of days the human race was reduced to nothing more than vicious, flesh hungry creatures. This three part story takes you into the world of the survivors, coming from different generations and different sides of the tracks, they all share one thing in common: who you once were can no longer determine who you will be in the face of catastrophe.

Samson, a once wealthy and powerful criminal defense attorney struggles to keep his family safe and keep his sanity intact when the world comes apart at the seams. Veronica, the high school track star races to get her brother out of the city and into the safety of Franklin Woods. Along the way we come across the struggles of finding solace, finding out who you really are, and making decisions in a post apocalyptic world. The Breadwinner is a three part story and the first book in a planned series that will leave you craving more.

4 Thumbs-UpThis novella length book is the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy, and is a good start to what promises to be an interesting series.  Some readers may think that at 139 pages it couldn’t possibly set the scene for a gripping trilogy, and those readers would be wrong.

This type of post-apocalyptic themed novel seems to be all around us at the moment, but in this debut novel I found something I hadn’t come across before, a complete storyline and some very relatable characters.  The main protagonist is a strong man faced with unenviable choices and following a course of actions he may have thought himself incapable of before the collapse of the world he knows.  Through a skilful use of writing and rich development of the characters, this Author is able to give this books readers a thoroughly emotionally charged and realistic journey through their trials and tribulations.

The situations the Author places her characters in are well described and thought through to the point the reader is made to think and examine the way they would react in the same circumstances, and as I have said in previous reviews I do like a book that makes me think.

Although I am not a big fan of zombie novels, I am looking forward to reading the remainder of this trilogy and would, therefore recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre of book or is an avid viewer of The Walking Dead.


Review: The Rise (Trials and Triumph #1) ~ Kenneth E. Nowell

The RiseJesus Christ s cryptic question has puzzled Christians for twenty centuries: If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? (John 21:22) Now, when a bizarre death shatters the serenity of a New York monastery, and a mysterious, Semitic drifter is accused of murder, the ultimate forces of innocence and iniquity are set on a collision course, careening to the Apocalyptic end of the Age. Highly researched and eerily reflective of today’s global headlines, this trilogy races around the world and through the centuries to a pulse-pounding climax.

2 Thumbs-UpThis novel is the first of a trilogy, and is definitely of the Christian Fiction genre.

From a character development point of view, as I read my way through this book I noticed that the majority of characters were, or seemed to be, a hodgepodge of current day cultural icons spanning from generic political figures through to well-known media ‘darlings’.  Using this approach to their characters, I felt that the Author had negated the necessity to give them any real depth or back story, as it was assumed that we would know everything we needed to about them from their intrusion into our everyday lives.  I think this book could have been taken up a notch by using more original characters, giving them back stories and personalities a reader could actually relate to and, in turn, come to care about the characters themselves.

Some readers may pick this up and feel like they have read it before, this is due I feel to the great similarities this book has with ‘The Left Behind’ series; it is nothing like that series.  The Author has a great writing style, and this makes the book flow along at a nice pace, they have filled it with footnotes that support the great amount of research the Author has put into writing this novel, and are there for any others who may want to dig deeper into this subject for themselves.  However, there are times when the book becomes a little derailed, and the reader can find themselves lost as to what is actually occurring.  Whether or not these loose ends will be picked up and tied off neatly in subsequent books would be interesting to see, even if they are it will be still hard for the Author to justify the inclusion of suicide in these books.

Unfortunately, and here I must apologise to the Author, this book was not for me as at times I felt I was being preached to and told that if I didn’t follow steps A-Z I was a lost soul.  I have read some great Christian Fiction but, sadly, this was not one of them and I doubt I will be reading the remaining books in this trilogy.

I would recommend this book to lovers of the Christian Fiction genre, but if you are expecting to find a budding C.S Lewis or Tim F. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins combination, you will be sorely disappointed.


Review: The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1) ~ Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass WarsAlyss of Wonderland?
When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carroll, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!
Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination

3 Thumbs-UpThis is NOT Alice in Wonderland, it is the first novel in The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy and a debut work for this Author.

 Also, I have to say that this was a lot more interesting to read than the original Alice and, in some way this book could even be said to be nudging into the Steampunk genre.  Without giving away any spoilers, I’m going to say if you are looking for the drug crazed explanation people like to put behind Carroll’s book, don’t read this book.  If you’re looking for an enjoyably good read, and are prepared to have an open mind, settle in for the night.

The intent of this book is both intriguing and audacious, with a hint of healthy disrespect thrown in for good measure.  The Author does away with clichéd characterisations in his writing, and makes all the players in this Trilogy exactly who they seem.  There are no grey areas, good and bad, or hidden agendas that the reader has to get their minds round but even so, some of the characters in the novel may seem striking familiar giving a feeling in the back of the mind that they have been encountered somewhere before.  This lack of development of characters, and even the lack of a devious plot twist, made this book a little hard to digest, and I kept thinking that it would pick up and have me beginning to actually care about Alyss as the pages turned.  This was not to be, I found her to be spoilt and imperious; disrespectful and a downright bore at times.

Location descriptions were a little better for me, as it brought into the book an aspect that was lacking in its one-dimensional characters.  I was made to think of ‘Whoville’ and ‘Oz’ (as it appears in the recent release of this take), and I could actually see the colours and places in my mind.  This brought me to thinking that maybe a more suitable medium for this book would have been a graphic novel, were the artwork plays a more integral part in the story telling, and there isn’t as much expectation from the writing side of the house.  Another reasoning behind my thinking this would fare better as a graphic novel is that it was the image on the dust jacket of the book, and the artistic representations of the suits in a deck of cards that first attracted me to the Trilogy; I was hoping the writing contained in its pages would do justice to the graphics unfortunately it was not to be.

When reworking a classic, I feel it must always be done with some measure of guile and finesse, neither of which I found to be in evidence here. All that the Author seems to have produced in this novel is a sloppily plotted mish-mash of ideas, which failed to convince me in any way.  I will read the remainder of the Trilogy, however, to see if the writing style does improve and that this book was just a case of first work nerves coming through on the page.

I would recommend this to teens, as this is the demographic it appears to be aimed at, but also to anyone wanting a quick read that they don’t have to put too much thought into.