Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Date Read: December 01 to 13, 2014
Read Count: 1
Recommended for: people who like high-strung journeys across the desert
Best accidental buy ever? Maybe. This book is right up there with some of the better small press/independent/self-published books I’ve read, and that’s saying something because I rarely try books in this category, and it’s even rarer for me to like a book in this category. Plus, I don’t usually try books by authors I’d never heard of before. So this book had a lot of things going against it from the moment I started reading, but despite (or in spite of) these roadblocks, it impressed me.
It impressed me most with its adventures, mythology, and descriptive scenes of desert life. Very interesting to see an author weaving in various Native American history (of Western colonization and genocide) and mythology in a Wild West type narrative and adding his own flair to it. What starts out as a story about government conspiracy, secret magic agendas, and a prison break turns into a chase and many shoot-outs across the desert that eventually become a last-stand showdown between the forces of good and evil. Must admit I did not see that last one coming. This book is full of surprises.
The writing is concise and reveals just enough to move the adventure along without revealing too much. Things are explained gradually as they come up, but not too much that they get in the way of the story. Once the prison escape happens though, things escalate quickly. There’s a lot of dark humor in the writing. I didn’t expect much comedic relief in the face of peril, but somehow it works for this story.
Characterization of the two main characters are well written. Both have various depths and challenges they must overcome on the journey to defeat evil (and save the world). Both guys seem real and sympathetic; Keiran with his harsh upbringing and even harsher current existence, and Ash with his relentless optimism and buoyant personality that carry both of them through tough times. The evil forces at play are also well written. Cruel, malevolent, smart and manipulative, but not without purpose. They aren’t gratuitous in their wrath or when doling out punishment. I like that there’s purpose to the evil forces and that they aren’t just evil for the sake of being evil. Too many evil things in books these days are violently destructive and amped up without purpose, and it can be tiring to read about it over and over again.
That said, this book does have a few things that might bother some people, like grammatical and structural issues, but that’s to be expected of small press/independent/self-published books. I don’t usually pay attention to these things during the first read through, but there are enough of them to be noticeable. With the help of an editor, the story could become tighter and the writing even more impressive. As it is though, it’s pretty good and I enjoyed it a lot.