Kelvin is a teenager doing his best to provide for his mother while surviving in an oppressive society that exists to serve the elites in Sentinel City which are led by a man named ‘The Crusader’. General Sanders is the leader of the rebellion against the oppressively militaristic regime of The Crusader. He enlists Kelvin to command a diverse band of mercenaries on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the capital city and steal a cure for a disease that is killing his only daughter. Kelvin’s dedication to the rebellion is thrown into question when he must choose between the mission and the love of his life.
Envenom is an entertaining young adult adventure novel that succeeds in its ability to deliver a constant stream of action and character turmoil. It gets away with delivering the standard love triangle in the story by making that triangle obviously one sided; leaving the other woman after Kelvin stuck watching the love she wished she had play out in front of her. Kelvin is discovered by The General in the begining of the novel because of his skills with a sword and is quickly given the role as leader of the group. While as a young adult novel I don’t necessarily find fault with the protagonist being a teenager, I just wanted there to be a better reason to believe that the entire group of mercenaries, consisting mostly of teenagers, are the best people to send on such an important mission. But with that said, the shocking ending to the novel does provide some clarity as to why Kelvin is central to everything that happens in the book and really brings everything full circle in a dramatic turn of events. While the story was entertaining the writing was sometimes awkward, but it was nothing that couldn’t have been saved by several well-placed contractions. The drama between the characters is something that I felt was organic and made me empathize with their struggles, but was brought down by strained stilted dialogue that often felt too esoteric, poetic or studied for the characters. Imagination is one thing that is not lacking. There are a lot of contraptions that the General uses to train the recruits, and the numerous confrontations the mercenary team get into through the story work together to deliver a creative bright spot in the book. “We are going to trudge through a gross desert full of crazy animals, and then if we arrive in one piece, we have to find a place called Envirocorp and get some medicine called AnoTron. After, we are required to escape with our lives and trudge back through the desert to Liberty Republic.” I wanted there to be a better reason why Kelvin was selected to lead this mission and I wish that the Crusader was delved more into in this story because they are both central to the arc of the story, but I suppose this is why this is only book one of the series. All in all, I had a fun time. The ending was a wild twist that begs for a second book to be written.
Read a preview of the book at Amazon.com