I’m catching up on a few book reviews today. Some good, others … well, not my particular brand of awesomeness. But to each their own.
A Review of “Lock In” by John Scalzi:
So lately I’ve been a little underwhelmed by many of the traditionally published authors I’ve been reading, finding more original works through self-pubbed authors. I picked this up on a whim, and found myself immediately submerged in a world unlike any other I’ve read about.
First off, this novel should be studied for its world-building. Typically when you think of world-building you think of those crazy fantasy or sci-fi epics that have more maps than subplots (which says a lot). But this novel was brilliantly constructed with a single idea that was then expounded upon, but what makes it so unique is that the idea isn’t the center of the novel. Instead it’s the cushioning that surrounds the plot, making it one of the most unique “detective” stories I’ve ever read.
Did I mention that I liked this novel?
The idea is a virus that affects a small percentage of humans by “locking” their bodies completely up. They can’t move or speak and are, for all intents and purposes, trapped within their own minds. But so many are affected by this, (as well as the President of the United States’ own wife), that they go about creating solutions for this sector of the world. There are “threpes,” basically robots who those with “Haden’s syndrome” (lock-in) are able to inhabit through a link. There are “Integrators,” people who were affected by the virus but never locked-in, who can link to those who are locked-in, allowing the lock-ins to use their bodies much like the threpes. And there is a virtual world where the Hadens can interact, much like a virtual but visual internet / social media hybrid.
There’s a lot there, right? And in the hands of a lesser author, that would have been the story, the tale of these people who get locked in.
But that’s not what this story is about.
That’s just the background, the peripheral backstory that’s revealed as you go through the actual murder mystery that is presented in this unique world.
Whether you’re a fan of science fiction, murder mysteries, or suspense thrillers, this should be a book you put on your radar. And by that I mean purchasing it and moving it to the forefront of your To-Be-Read list. By far my favorite novel of the year (so far).
A review of “Ash” by Jason Brant
A “hero” who despises people and lives a hermit-like life as a vagrant suddenly decides to get involved in a bank robbery, saving the day.
A “heroine” who is described by her “big breasts” and little else, who is saved by said hero, is somehow intensely attracted to our him despite the fact he looks and smells (and lives) like a homeless man.
A “villain” who kills because he is bad, intent on destroying America.
Dialogue where every other line is an off-handed quip or action movie one-liner.
Speaking solely as a reader, I had a very difficult time finishing this novel. I realize it has a ton of great reviews and admit there are those who might enjoy reading about a one-dimensional woman defined by her “large tracts of land.” I was a little offended, however, that that was the ONLY attribute our leading lady could be defined by.
The thing is, Jason Brant is a good writer. His prose was smooth and polished and you can tell he has talent. But this just read like one of those hurried B-movie scripts from a guy who’s trying to write a tent-pole movie while copying everything he’s ever seen in a movie to get there. Just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Brant graciously gives this first book in his Asher Benson Series away for free on Amazon, so pick up a copy and let me know if I’m the only one with a ticket on my own personal crazy train. You might just love it.