Path of Jen: Bloodborne

4 StarsPath of Jen: Bloodborne is a political thriller based on current events, which gives it a feeling of immediacy. It’s not hard to imagine this story scrolling across the major news networks with breathless newsreaders dissecting every nuance. The title is a clever play on words, and the rest of the novel does not disappoint.

Jena Amadhi is a typical teenager. She has all the latest gadgets, loves music and fashion, and giggles over boys and pop stars. Though her parents fled Iran for the US, she speaks only a little Farsi. For her sixteenth birthday, her father takes her to visit relatives in Iran so she can connect with her family, culture, and values of his family’s mainstream Muslim faith.

Once they arrive in Tehran, Jena is a foreigner in every sense. She doesn’t speak the language and is overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. When she wanders away from her aunt in the Grand Bazaar, she’s kidnapped, transported to Syria, and held captive by the Islamic State. When a visiting doctor learns she’s American, and has had all of her immunizations, he buys her from her captors and moves her to a medical facility. He says she will be the savior of the revolution, and she is renamed Jenna, meaning “paradise.” When the local Imam declares her a holy virgin of Islam, Jen knows something is terribly wrong.

I enjoyed the novel. Jen is intelligent, headstrong, and uses her wits to stay alive. There’s a nice scene where she puzzles out how to load and fire an AK-47 rifle. After being imprisoned around fighters for two years, it’s not out of character, nor is it unusual that a girl that smart wouldn’t be able to figure it out. The story has good pacing, and the switches between Jen, her parents, and the US soldiers trying to help her keep the action – and the tension – moving forward.

Jen’s parents are desperate to find her, of course. Fouzia and Najid Amadhi immediately go to the Tehran police, and though they make one arrest, neither the local authorities nor the US State Department has much to offer. Fouzia’s frustration with the authorities not bothering to look for a girl mirrors her feelings that women are not valued, and it drives her to a life-changing decision. Fouzia’s hope and persistence pays off. A squad of US soldiers discovers evidence that Jen is still alive. One soldier in particular, Staff Sergeant Dustin “Deep South” Parks, plays a key role in the search for Jen.

One particular thing in the novel gave me pause. The idea that a pathogen affects its host with full-blown symptoms immediately on contact isn’t medically sound. Viruses need time to incubate, replicate and induce the immune system to react, which causes the symptoms of infection. To me, this feels like the author is adopting the outbreak mechanics from the zombie craze.

If you’re looking for a timely, edge-of-the-seat thriller, I recommend you read this book. It’s a good start for a gripping series, and the cliffhanger ending will leave you anxious for the next installment.

Pages: 247 | ASIN: B01C9UN2IU

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on June 3, 2016, in Book Reviews, Four Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.


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