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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Spartanica by Powers Molinar | Book Review

I was expecting this book to be cool and a fun read, but it had so much more to offer. It had a tiny bit of the Chronicles of Narnia feel, a lot of fun Science Fiction elements, cool technology, and some great characters. Two brothers find themselves in a world they could never have imagined and it only gets more intriguing from there.

The first thing that hit me when I started this book was how good the authorial voice was. The book has a very interesting approach to character and viewpoint. The entire book is first person but each chapter is from a different character's viewpoint, and those viewpoints expand as the story unfolds and we meet more characters. The author really uses this to his advantage as he writes each chapter with a very strong slathering of the character's personality. The way they talk, the way they think - it was awesome!

Some characters are very smart and analytical while others were more fly by the seat of their pants and get things done type of characters. Each one flavors the chapters wonderfully. You start off with a narrators voice that you can tell is a kid's right away and it's really fun to read. It's written with a great authenticity that makes the characters come alive and the world their experiencing do the same through their unique point of view. It was fun to know some things one group of characters knew and then see how the other characters reacted once they found out.

This book had some terrifying creatures in it that made the action scenes work really well. I can remember them vividly as I think back on them. I think nail biter would be a good way to describe some of those scenes. They were tense. The dangers the kids in this book face were pretty scary even for me as a 31 year old reader. I was scared for the characters. I could easily see how the characters could not survive their encounters with these creatures. I cared about the characters and so when they met danger it was very real to me. I think the first person narration helped draw me into the story in a very personal way. The way the author broke up the chapters to be through different characters allowed him to use the best parts of first person narrative while also gleaning some of the things you can get from third person narrative. Like getting a broader scope of the world as it is seen through different characters eyes.

The technology was awesome in this book and really added some fun to the story for me as a science fiction fan. I'll just say I wish I could shoot one of the guns they learned how to use in the book. It was really cool and I really liked how the showed the characters have a tough time learning how to use them. It wasn't a case of them just finding guns and suddenly going into battle with them. They trained for hours and had a hard time with it. That was another way the author Powers Molinar added authenticity to the story world of his novel. The transportation vehicles were very interesting too. I enjoyed seeing the enemy and the protagonists use different vehicles in this story.

I saw this author tweet that he was giving out free copies of the book to reviewers and ever since I started my book reviews podcast I've been getting more serious about my book reviews so I asked him for a copy. I'm so glad I did. This book was as good as the ones I've been recommended by friends. If you think of me as a friend, and I hope you do because that's how I think of podcasters I listen to even though I haven't met most of them, then let me recommend this book to you as a friend. If you know any teenagers or have some of your own. Buy this book for them. They'll love it and think you're cool for having bought it for them. So be that cool uncle, aunt, friend, or parent. Heck I'm almost 32 and I absolutely loved it so buy this book for all your friends young and old, after you pick up a copy for yourself of course.

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