I powered through this book over the weekend, and thought it would be a good one to share as my first review of a NetGalley e-ARC.
Colt McAlister is a sixteen year old surfer whose life is going pretty smoothly until his parents are killed by a drunk driver – or are they?
The story really kicks off once Colt has moved to Arizona to live with his grandfather. Or more precisely, from the moment Colt overhears a conversation between his grandfather and a man he doesn’t really know, which raises suspicions in Colt’s mind about who – or what – actually killed his parents. Very quickly he finds himself immersed in a world that is no longer what it seems, questioning everything around him.
Colt’s main allies in this novel are his childhood friend Danielle, a pretty gamer girl, who has loads of smarts and computer skills (read: hacker), and Oz, who he meets at his new high school. Oz seems to know everyone and everything, actually he seems to be pretty much perfect.
Which brings me to one of my very few criticisms of the book – the trio are pretty great. They don’t seem to have many flaws, unless you can count being shy at times, a little awkward with the opposite sex, and feeling out of depth in some situations flaws; personally, I think those are all just normal things for teenagers. I haven’t read a lot of YA, so perhaps that need for flawed characters isn’t so important for the audience as it is with adults – obviously their situations and lives aren’t perfect by any means, and they have a lot going on anyway. I really like them, but I do wonder if they aren’t just a little too good to be true. That said, if my kids grew up and were that well adjusted, I’d be happy; they make pretty great role models.
I love how the story blends in legends from history, as well as actual historical fact, to the main story line. It sets up this beautifully imagined alternative history for earth and that really brings the current situation to life. I could totally buy into that world and can see that it would appeal to teen and adult readers alike. I also love how there were layers slipped in there. The first book definitely works on its own as it completes the first storyline, but there are lots of little pieces of information filtered in there that raise questions and make the reader want to grab the next one and see what comes of those threads.
It’s nice to see something out there for the boys (and men), nice to see something that has strong male role models, and is relentless in its action. That said, where are the girls? Danielle is a great female character, but as yet she is relegated to the computer side of things, and left out of most of the action. Also, all the information about C.H.A.O.S seems to suggest that it’s an agency of men. The end of the book raises questions of what Danielle’s role will be, and I strongly hope that she is brought fully into the world that Colt and Oz seem destined to occupy.
All up, this was a fantastic read. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would and I’ll definitely be checking out the next novel in the series when it comes out. I want answers, folks, I want to know what happens next! So far the series promises to give me all the things I love about movies, shows and books such as Hell Boy, Ben 10, Men in Black and the X-Files.