Marck is a very talented indie author himself that enjoys writing reviews to help get the word out on special titles. Thanks for spreading the love, Will!
Rating: 4.9 out of 5
I’ll start off by saying I purchased this book like I do every other unless they are free. I do not receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise (other than authors sharing my social media sites). The opinions are my own and they are just that, opinions.
If you are a fan of YA post-apocalyptic novels YOU MUST READ THIS! This book was an absolutely incredible read and I feel lucky that I found it. I always try and point out what I think readers will like and dislike so let’s dive in.
I must admit and shame myself publicly with the fact I have not read the original Robinson Crusoe. Yes, yes, flog me, I’m not a real writer (which isn’t far from the truth), it’s a hobby for me. I quickly went to Wikipedia which is no substitute for the original which I now want to read, but hell, it was the best I could do. I wanted to know how close this would be to the original. Other than a guy ending up stranded in a strange place trying to survive, I believe that’s where the similarities end.
It’s the year 2244 and we’re taken to a post-apocalyptic U.K. Turmoil ensues with the higher ups and lower social caste, ripe with political riffs. Alliances are formed, backstabbing occurs, and Robinson ends up fleeing and crashing his flyer, winding up in a deserted Washington D.C. He soon meets up with an older man, who trains him on how to live off the land and I don’t want to ruin any of the rest for you. There is a love interest, a bad ass antagonist, a loyal pet, and revenge to be had.
First, the negative, bitchy stuff. I hardly had any beefs with this book. Seriously, I critique pretty hard and it was difficult to find any faults. This book can absolutely stand on its own two feet but there are still some unanswered questions and slight cliff hangers. If that’s not your thing, well, I’d still suggest picking it up, because you’re missing out. But, it might be a slight turnoff. It only leaves you begging for more answers because it’s so damn good you don’t want it to end.
Grammar nazis, you may have some slight issues. It’s self-published and with that usually comes some issues. They are few. There are instances where a word is omitted or a few sentences that sound a little off, like the author was trying to make up his mind on what to say and left it sounding awkward. I could count the instances on one hand, but you’ll find them. I flew right on by, completely engrossed in the story. It’s obvious from the context what is meant and I didn’t find it distracting.
Had it been every other line, like the author just hit spell-check and publish, I’d have a problem with it, but this is not the case here. Having self-published myself, I give a lot of leeway on these issues. Until you’ve read and rewritten a book dozens of times, spending hours looking for any mistake that might land you a bad Amazon review, you really don’t know how difficult it is, especially with a full-length novel.
The only other thing I may have liked was a few more plot twists or unpredictability. That’s usually my thing, but this was more of a YA story which is usually more straightforward action and adventure. Less mystery. I didn’t knock off any points for it, because it’s a personal preference. There are still good angles and surprises, but it won’t leave your jaw on the ground after taking a swift kick to the dick.
Now for the good, of which there is plenty. I have to say, this book smacked me right in my damn face. It was a reminder of how good the competition is, even though my own work doesn’t really compete with this genre. A quick look at the author’s bio let’s you know he studied creative writing and has experience writing films (which may be another reason I liked it, with my love for movies and what have you). His training shows as his words flow effortlessly, moving the story along and building a world that you find yourself completely engrossed in.
Many writers with this type of training leave me flat, it’s like they have something to prove and go over the top with elaborate descriptions of doorknobs and using words I’m too stupid to understand. Not this author. I was sent highlighting with my index finger over a few words, but quickly realized it really was the perfect choice to describe that moment in the story.
He doesn’t beat you relentlessly with multi-syllabic vocabulary test monsters that leave you saying, “Why the fuck, man? Seriously?” I will take flack for this, but I absolutely hate Hawthorne and Dickens for this very reason. I don’t want five pages of filler descriptions. I know, you’re screaming “Crucify him! Give us Barabbas!” Well, to each their own I suppose. Perhaps that’s why I became an accountant instead of studying writing. But I truly believe if I’d read a book like this in school, I may have been more interested in English and Literature than Math and Science. I truly mean that.
Usually, an author is good at either world building or dialogue, and it shows. Occasionally, you hit the jackpot and find someone who does both well, and it transports you into another world, all else fades away. Before you know it, five hours have passed and you look up and find an EF-5 tornado (I’m from Oklahoma, sub earthquake for the West Coasters), aka the toddler, has destroyed the house and eaten a box of cookies for dinner. These are the books I run around telling everyone about.
The book’s title is Robinson Crusoe, but honestly, the vibe I got was more Count of Monte Cristo. A teen, exiled, is trained by an old man how to survive and fight, meets a woman (who is a complete and utter badass) who trains him further, and gets redemption on a weasel of an antagonist. I won’t ruin that for you, but it’s a ‘hell yeah, take that you little bitch!’ moment.
The pacing was perfect, nod to the editor Jessica Holland for keeping E.J. in check, and not letting him speed away or grind to a halt. The characters were original and three-dimensional. The heroes done well, but still slightly flawed, giving it a raw edge. The antagonists weren’t overlooked either. One is a ruthless, warrior savage, who will leave you running from your car to the door of your house if you spy a full moon out while your street is empty, thinking you hear drums beating in the distance. The other, a snot-nosed little asshole who deserves everything he gets, but not quite enough. The mentors were all well-written and unique.
It’s so hard to write reviews without spoiling anything, but I just have to say, I thought the girl was the stand-out character. Maybe others will disagree, but she was just a straight up bad ass chick. Think Trinity in the Matrix meets Pocahontas. This chick beats the piss out of grown men with ease and slaps Robinson around like a toy. Oh yeah, she’s pretty hot to boot. Well, wait, she may be a little young, so I don’t know if I should say that. But if I were a teenager again, yeah, wait, it still sounds…ok nevermind. She was my favorite though.
The descriptions were fantastic, I think I’m on to the author’s little trick. Setting the story in a war torn, deserted Washington D.C. was a great move. Everyone (in America anyway) is extremely familiar with the landmarks and setting, so I think he got away without having to do detailed descriptions, which I thought was nice. It left much to the imagination, while still painting a great picture of where I was and what I was experiencing.
So, bottom line, if you enjoy post-apocalyptic, dystopian, YA, action/adventure stories this is definitely for you. I recommend it to anyone who loves to read though. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author in the future and if you are a fan of movies, feel free to join us on Twitter as we have many conversations consisting entirely of movie quotes. This book was fantastic and I want to congratulate E.J. and others involved in putting another great story out in the world for people like myself to enjoy. Go pick it up today, you won’t be disappointed. It’s well worth the $2.99.
Please help out another indie author and share this review or the link to the book on your social media sites and with friends and family. It’s a book worth reading and it’s always good practice to pay it forward. If you want to connect with E.J. you can find his contact information at the bottom of this post. Thanks for reading.