by Teyla Branton
I loved the plot for this book, it was exciting and different and the book has a very strong, well written opening that initially draws you in. I tried really hard to like this book and get absorbed in the story, but I found myself not caring for the characters and that ruined it. I no longer got to experience that magical feeling you get when you are so wrapped up in the lives of the characters that you care about the outcome.
I bought this book based on the good reviews, thinking it might be an OK read. I was a little hesitant as plots involving old men don’t ordinarily appeal to me as a 30 year old woman! However, this book was very well written and overall a great read. Yes, the story quickly becomes a bit “way out” and what some people might call unbelievable, but the author in this case has been able to make the unbelievable storyline, actually believable, which makes this book quite genius. I found myself totally immersed in the plot and quickly warming towards the old man, Allan.
The book weaves together tales from two eras, the current one in which Allan escapes from the nursing home, and the era of Allan’s youth. Initially I found hearing about what happened in the 1940’s rather dull and just wanted to know about Allan’s escape from the home, but as the book went on the past era part of the story became more and more interesting and had me totally gripped. By the time you get to the end of the story the tales from the two eras beautifully come together in a subtle yet brilliant way.
The plot behind this book is fantastic. The story is well-paced, with plenty of action, yet the author also displays an ability to slow down to allow the reader to catch breath without making me feel like i’m going to fall asleep completely or that i’m being fed some nonsense to ‘fill out’ the story line.
I felt that the book was going to be very predictable in places, but it really was not. There are plenty of interesting details and mysteries which were resolved only near the end of the book. The weakest part of the book in my opinion was the very end. I won’t go into detail here because I don’t want to spoil the experience for others, needless to say that the end has been left very open for a sequel but seemed to lack the real ‘punch’ that it could have had given the strong nature of the rest of the book. One other thing which bothered me slightly is that i kept finding my mind drifting, thinking about what is at the ‘edge’ of haven since they can’t possibly have built it ‘up there’ across the whole world , it is only one city, and this made me continually wonder why those left down below didn’t try to escape to another city. I count it as a good thing that my mind wandered as it means the story made me stop and think.
The characters are strong and believable in all instances, with well developed personalities portrayed clearly in the plot which leave you in no doubt what each person is really like if you were to stand in front of them and speak to them yourself. All this great characterisation was achieved without long boring diatribes explaining minute details as is so often seen in many books and in a more natural and flowing manner as the story unfolded.
I noticed some reviewers have commented on some of the dark themes behind the book. I actually didn’t find the themes too much or over the top at all and although dark, none of it was out of place and fitted in perfectly with the whole storyline which gave an air of realism and credibility to the whole thing.
This is one of the few books I might consider reading for a second time, I really enjoyed it and very much look forward to the sequel(s). I would love to see the errors in this digital edition corrected as it really lets down what is a very good piece of work and a real entertaining read.