Archetype by M.D. Waters (Feb 2014)

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I loved this book. It’s futuristic, dystopian, scifi that should attract even those who, like me, don’t normally get into that genre.  I’m dying to read the sequel, Prototype, coming out next summer.  What I really like about this book is that you’re never really sure exactly who’s the good guy, and who’s the bad.  And with the bad guys, you’re not sure exactly how bad, or if the bad bits are actually kind of good.  There’s also romance, which is a plus on my checklist.  But again, you’re not sure whether the love is well-placed.  I’m reading another book, Parasite by Mira Grant, that reminds me a little of Waters’ Archetype, in that both deal with medical advances, and what they could mean for our future.  Corporate medicine, pharmaceutical giants, loom large — and don’t they loom large in our own lives lived off the printed page?  This real-world connection makes it easy to relate to and get absorbed in these fast-paced novels.  Hooray for M.D. Waters!  It’s too bad you’ll have to wait until February when it comes out — but put it on your list today!  Advance Reader’s Copy provided by Penguin.

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The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood (July 2012)

Benjamin Wood’s debut novel, The Bellwether Revivals, is a well written tale of a young man, Oscar, whose chance meeting with the mysterious Bellwether siblings, Eden and Iris, reshapes his entire life. The novel is ambitious in its scope as it forces the reader to question the reality of Eden’s unlikely, but creepy, talent of healing people through music. But while the idea of music therapy initially is the focus, the novel switches to a psychological study as Iris and Oscar enlist the help of a psychiatrist to try and diagnose Eden. It is at this point in the novel when the steady buildup begins to go off course. As the reader, we are waiting for almost the entirety of the novel for something extraordinary to happen and instead there is a buildup to an ending that is predictable while also being confusing and quite sudden. After the slow quality of the majority of the novel, the ending feels rushed as many important events rapidly occur without any explanation as to what just happened. Oscar’s character is well planned out and he goes through a steady arc that is relatable and incredibly realistic. He comes across plainly as the everyday guy that he is supposed to be. Another character that is done well is Eden; while his creepiness could’ve been a bit more extreme at points, his manipulative character was always five steps ahead of everyone else and he was fascinating to read about. A major issue that could be had with the characters is the portrayal of Iris whose personality jumps back and forth without any explanation as to why she changes and what suddenly makes her revert back to who she was just as suddenly. A couple of the supporting characters had problems finding their purpose in the course of the novel and by the end they fell flat.Overall, The Bellwether Revivals is wonderfully written but the story itself doesn’t quite match up to the crafted prose and it could’ve used an editing hand to speed up the action and cut back on the number of characters. — Jennie Conway, Orangeburg Library Staff.  Galley provided by BEA.

Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay (Sept. 2012)

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In Trust Your Eyes, Linwood Barclay maintains his stride as a major author of thriller novels. This all-night entertainer is replete with thoroughly believable irony as the web of deceit becomes ever more tangled, sucking both perps and innocents into a frightening situation that escalates out of control to a climactic confrontation. Barclay maintains the integrity of his plot in the face of inventive twists through the clever device of a handicap that also represents a rare genius. His character development was suberb – it led me to hope for a sequel for the chance to revisit the innocents.  Get this book – you won’t go wrong.   — Art Perkins (Dad), advance reader’s copy provided by BEA

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