I thought it’d be nice to highlight a brand new writer today. I belong to a fair number of writers groups on facebook and not a day goes past when I don’t see one or another author rhapsing waxodical about their latest book, which is currently going free on Whatever.com or has just been published by Whatever Publishing and has garnered rave reviews…
I get fed up with them sometimes, and I rarely pay much attention to them except to comment if I know them. However, sometimes I do actually read the blurb and think “That sounds interesting.” , I might even be interested enough to go to Whatever.com and check out the blurb and the reviews.
Rarely however, do I actually buy the book. I’m more likely to buy an electronic copy than a print copy (I only buy print books of the authors I know I am going to read more than once) and one of the things I do is to review it once I’ve finished it.
I also post it in as many different places as I can, my blog being one of them, Whatever.com another and so on, so if you want a review of your book, you have to be able to interest me enough to hit “checkout”… or give me a free copy. *Looks innocent*
Whoops, slightly off track there… Let’s haul this train of thought back to the track.
Anyway. I came across the book “Amethyst Eyes” by Debbie Brown in one of those Writer Groups on FB I was talking about. The cover and tiny bit of blurb I could read interested me enough to send me to Whatever.com to check out the reviews etc.
Just so you know what I’m talking about, here’s the lowdown:
The biggest thing on 15-year-old Tommy’s mind is convincing Mom to let him go to the drive-in, but when an accident claims his mother’s life and puts him in the hospital, the arrival of his estranged, alien father brings more changes than he had bargained for.
It doesn’t take his father long to figure out that Tommy knows nothing about who or what he is. Without any explanation, Tommy finds himself onboard his father’s spaceship where he is forced to trust a man he does not know in a world he knows even less about. Adapting to his new life seems overwhelming, and his father’s solution may prove to be Tommy’s finest challenge yet…Jayden.
A few months younger than Tommy, high strung and always in a mood, the doctor’s daughter definitely didn’t like being ‘told’ to help Tommy fit in. Jayden is not the most welcoming or patient of tutors, let alone a friend. As fate would have it, Tommy quickly learns that none of these things compare to the peril that comes from being born with amethyst eyes.
I’m not bothered by Indie authors – some people don’t like to read any book that doesn’t have a Big 6 publisher name on the cover – I have enough friends who are indie authors to know that their work is just as good and in many cases much better than the dross that can occasionally make its way out of the printers from a Big 6 Company. It never affects my reading decisions.
Anyway, enough of these thoughts; to the review!
The blurb left me with an impression of a kind of Star Trek scenario and there were enough similarities in the science fiction aspects at the start of the book, that I thought it was going to be a clone. There was the dour medical practioner who thought earth medicine was barbaric, the tight fitting shipboard clothing in one or two colours, the replicator and the ship’s computer. But that is where the similarities ended; they help the reader to engage with the story and characters through familiarity with the scene, so they perform a useful function.
We follow Tommy through his introduction to his father’s shipboard life and the job that he does as Commander of the ship itself. Seeing it through a teenager’s eyes takes me back to when I was a teenager myself, wondering what it would be like to live on the Enterprise. Debbie’s characters are well rounded and believable, I felt a good emotional connection with Tommy and to a lesser extent with Jayden. My mothering instincts kicked in several times and I got really quite angry with Tommy’s father at certain points!
My only criticism is that the occasionally formal style of Debbie’s writing felt stilted and initially I found this difficult to engage with as I lost the flow of the story when I came across these points. After Tommy’s experience with Jayden in the Performance Evaluation the story seemed to pick up and flow more naturally and I no longer noticed the formality.
Although this book is clearly aimed at Young Adults, I found it very engrossing. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting – I was so involved with the characters and the emerging story that I felt as if I’d been shocked out of sleep when the phone rang! I really enjoyed the book and I’m currently wondering if there is going to be a sequel, because I want to know what happens next. This is definitely one for the teenager in your life and I’m glad that I bought a print copy, because as soon as my kids are old enough, I’ll be recommending that they read it!