I only read a portion of this book as part of the Pass it On Challenge, but what I read was entirely engrossing and well written. The main character is likable and there is a real sense of mystery surrounding the beginning of this story. It's no surprise that this is a published book on Inkitt and I would encourage anyone to check it out!Read the story now
Excellent Premise in Need of Some Polish
Let me start by saying that Ryk Brink's style of writing is excellent. His prose kept me engaged from the beginning to the very end, and I have no trouble saying that I wouldn't be surprised to see his work published some day. Having said that, there are some niggling details with this story that keep it from truly shining.
The biggest thing in need of work here is the grammar. Several proper nouns aren't capitalized and there are a few typos and construction problems in every chapter. Most conspicuous, though, are the mix of British and American English. Sometimes the author chooses a British-ism or a British spelling, and sometimes an American. This was quite distracting and - seeing that the author is from South Africa - I would encourage him just to do it the British way except for dialogue (the story takes place in the USA).
The other big problem here is one of agency. The main character simply does not do anything in the story of his own initiative. I'm sure that was partly the purpose in the tale, but it simply felt distracting to have a character to do nothing but be led around by the nose the whole book.
This might sound overly critical, and I don't mean it that way. I see a lot of promise in this author and will probably check out more of his work. I want him to improve and his work to get even better over time,and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
I should preface by saying I'm not the target audience for this book, but I have read a decent amount of YA.
The descriptive settings, interesting brain teasers, and funny - occasionally snarky - dialogue really roped me in. The book has plenty of riddles and cyphers, which I found quite engaging. The characters are also smart, which is refreshing, and used their brains to both navigate their quest and overcome their adversaries. There is also a nice message about compassion in the book that I also quite enjoyed,
The best part of the book is that it doesn't talk down to its audience or treat them like hormonal egomaniacs. Rather it pits the characters against smart puzzles and throws in a little bit of teen angst along the way. I can highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good YA or high MG level book.
I would like to start by saying that overall I thought this story had a very good premise. It is impressive to see someone so young getting involved in writing novels and I hope to encourage her to keep at it.
Having said that, there were some problems with this book. Overall, what it really needs is a good line and content edit by an outside editor. A line edit would fix the numerous grammar and phrasing problems, a content edit is needed for the rest.
The biggest problem I found with the book was a problem of logistics, a scourge that troubles many an author. Namely there were a lot of little details and questions that were not thought through. Some of the questions I had while reading this book: How does a two year old abandoned in an empty building survive with nobody to care for him? Why does he have a bunch of video cassettes when there are supercomputers and laser guns? Where do they go to the bathroom on their 6+ hour train ride in a cargo car? How do some untrained teenagers knock out several highly trained guards? Why doesn't a government building have more security than this? How far away is this city if you can paddle there without having to eat any food? The list goes on and on ....
The other problem was really one of dialogue. I never really felt anything separated most of the characters from each other, with the exception of the snarky twin. The way they talk simply needs to be more distinct. There was one point where a negative event happens to one of the characters and I had to go back and remind myself which character that was.
I don't want to sound like I completely hated the book. There is a lot of promise here and I did read the whole thing cover to cover. Rather, I think there is some polishing needed to bring out the potential in this work.