Author: NYT Bestseller David Farland
Publisher: East India Press
Released: December 2011
I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with a hardcopy for review.
Favorite Line/Passage: But it wasn't like pages flashing before his eyes. It was more like little explosions in his head, as if landmines in his brain were going off, and these dark thoughts were just bits of shrapnel. Hundreds of them blossomed like mushroom clouds by the second. Bron was shocked and disgusted by the enormous quantity of them.
Description: Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Because thats what his people do. Raised in foster care, hes kicked from home to home, for being too strange. Because thats how his people are. At age 16, hes the ultimate loner, until hes sent to a new foster home and meets Olivia, a marvelous teacher. She recognizes that Bron is something special, something her people can a Nightingale, a creature that is not quite human. Steel yourself. Youre about to meet Brons people. Suddenly epic forces combine to claim Bron, and he must fight to keep from getting ripped away from the only home, family, and girlfriend that he has ever known. He must risk his life to learn the answers to the mystery of his birth: What am I? Where did I come from?
My Splats: a world within a world and a boy striving to do what was right despite the odds.
Bron was immediately easy to fall for. A victim of the System, he'd been bounced from one foster home to the next with no advocate really watching out for him and his best interests. The story opened with him in one of those less-than-fortunate situations, which sent the images of a male Cinderella to my mind. Emotionally battered, yet a strong will to survive, his plight was one many can connect with. Like most teens, Bron felt different. And he really was.
The mystery of Bron's tale soon took him to yet another 'foster' situation. However, this time was a move of fortune - a window into his real identity and a provided him with a guide to show him the way. The setting was interesting: a school focused on kids with creative talents such as artists or musicians. From this world building, Farland thrust the reader into Bron's first of many threats that could cost him his new found home - which he actually liked.
Another race living among the human race was clean and probable. Good verses Evil bled through the hidden race as well as between that race and humans. Basically, there was plenty of 'bad.' The concept of implanting memories and/or erasing them was intriguing. I won't say that I bought every explanation of the process throughout the book, but it was thought-provoking.
At one point, the story took a turn, refreshing the reader with a loving and self-examining tone. With all this memory swapping, implanting, and altering, it had to be difficult to figure out what one believed and who could be trusted - just as in real life: What really makes a person behave the way they do? Could more hope, love, or courage change their behavior?
At the climax, Bron was wedged between good and evil again, but more than that, he was forced to confront the inner battle of right and wrong within him.
As expected, the writing flowed and engaged me. Crumbs of information lay scattered amid the words with each turn of the page. Strategic places, teasing the reader. There was no doubt - Farland could tell a story. Though Bron was surely the main character, I enjoyed seeing his development through Olivia's (his new step-mom) eyes.
I'd have to say my only frown upon the book was the pacing. At times, the story lagged, almost seeming like information dumps, even during a few sections of dialog; felt too convenient. But in Farland's defense, he definitely had a ton of information to feed to the reader.
I would recommend this book to any tween/teen/adult with a passion for reading longer novels consisting of strong world building and characters. Check it out.
ALLEYWAY ALERT! Something majorly exciting is happening today for me as well as some other amazing writers. The Best of Vine Leaves Anthology 2012 launches today!!! I'm thrilled to be included in such a wonderful collection of work. It would make a fantastic Christmas present for someone in your life. Or why not you?? I'd be forever grateful if you'd check it out and/or spread the word about it's release today.
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Out today! @VineLeavesLJ Best of #Anthology, #NewRelease Awesome vignettes, incredible talent. Great 4 #xmasstocking!http://bit.ly/VdvIKj