Publishing Date: July 17, 2017
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction (Dystopia)
Format: ePub / ARC from Booksirens
Goodreads Rating: 3.66
My Rating: 3.5
S Y N O P S I S
Ten-year-old Brandon Chambers is suddenly thrust into a national scandal when his father, a top-ranking captain in the U.S. Army, is implicated in a tragic explosion on the army base while spearheading a top-secret weapons project. During the aftermath, both his parents are labeled as traitors, and he’s haunted by visions he can’t understand.
Brandon struggles through adolescence and college, still troubled by hallucinations that are also witnessed by others, leading him to believe that someone—or something—is deliberately laying clues in his path. Doggedly pursuing one clue at a time, Brandon seeks the answers.
R E V I E W
For some unknown reason, I thought this was going to be a middle-grade read.
This was an interesting read and did a good job making me curious. I was fine with the pacing of the story for the first half but there was a point when it started to drag and there were some things that I thought were unnecessary. Though, this could be based more on the fact that I started to relate less to Brandon’s life as the story went on. Nevertheless, I expected something different going into the book and I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong.
This book was strange, but in the good way. It was fascinating to me and well written.
I found the synopsis of this story to be alluring.. even though, to be honest, this book was a bit weird to me at first. Weird in the way that the premise was unconventional and I think a lot of authors would never considering starting off a book like how The Strange Life did for fear of scaring readers. I liked that Spotson took that risk as it made the story different.
As a fresh high school graduate, I was very amused by the technical mathematics and scientific terms that were included. For some reason it made Brandon’s life that much more relatable. The reader is able to connect their own experiences with Brandon’s through that one word or sentence, even though it may be nothing alike. Except when it started to get too complicated towards the end of the book. It took me some time to read through, what was to me, gibberish. There was a lot of technical talk but it should not be something that hinders the reader’s enjoyment. It matched the theme of the book.
There was nothing in the plot that really surprised me. It did lose me on some pages but I did enjoy it more based on the way it was written rather than what was actually happening, mostly by the second half. Parts of the stories touched me in that soft and subtle way. There were also some uncommon elements that gave the book something different. It also went through a big chunk of his life which I did not expect even though it said so in the title.
The writing style not bad and I actually enjoyed Brandon’s narrative even though it was less descriptive that those that I usually prefer. The problem with a lot of narratives that are more on “describing” rather than “showing” is that sometimes they tend to be bland and boring, as they are pretty straight forward. This was not a problem for me in this book because of the interesting premise and that the speculation itself kept me curious.
Brandon’s character was okay for me. I related with him on some levels, some I did not. But his character was written well for my opinion and it matched perfectly to the theme that the book seemed to be going for. His characteristics and thoughts gave me the vibe that the plot was giving. I find it greatly important that a character is written to match the story that they are a part of. This book did that.
His dreams were what interested me the most and reminded me of The Monster Calls. The book kind of gave me that vibe at some points.
Wonderfully well-written, the author takes the readers on a journey through the darkest patches of Brandon’s life while maintaining a light and subtle feel. There were parts of the story that slowed which will be a problem to readers with shorter attention spans, like me. The book tackled a lot of societal and modern science fiction topics which was what made me realize that this is not a middle grade read. In the end, I did enjoy this book. It was able to keep from diving too dark, which is easy with a plot such as this one. The story flowed smoothly and reading it was easy but still a bit heart racing.
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