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One of Us

One of Us by [Craig DiLouie]

Craig DiLouie’s One of Us follows a group of teenagers named the plague generation. Known to locals as monsters, these youngsters have been placed in orphanages as they bear the markings of the most extreme genetic mutation.  Abandoned by their parents, the monsters have been raised away from those normal members of society, with a clear divide in place for many years. Yet, that divide is now at risk as these kids see adulthood on the horizon and tire of those normal people dictating their life to them. With tensions already high in a town that is still rife with racism and all manner of other prejudices, it’s only a matter of time before both worlds collide, with deadly consequences.

After having read One of Us, my first thoughts are, inevitably, this has to be made into a film! This has got to be one of my best reads this year.

Firstly, the setting and the timing in One of Us is faultless. The teenagers, both plagued and normal, are all at that point in their lives where confusion, emotions, and anger is high. Add in the many judgmental residents and old-timers of the town and the tension is bubbling at the very beginning.

Yet, Craig seems to present both the normal and the plagued with an element of good and evil, so much so that you find yourself veering between them, switching your opinions back and forth. So, you feel for the plagued, but at the same time, you understand the fear the normal people might have of them.

The book’s message is stark, and the plague is said to be spread as a sexually transmitted disease, as the normal teenagers have this message hammered home to them constantly. A sense of shame hangs over the town and its residents, with the news continually touted that all that those with the germ should never procreate.

Yes, there are a few scenes that make for uncomfortable reading, be it the actions of the older normal residents toward the plagued kids or the plagued kid’s acts of revenge, in particular Brain’s horrific act of retribution. But in reality, I think these harder to read scenes merely force us to question how we as adults have a level of power over children – which unfortunately some can and do act upon.

One of Us reminds me a little of the book, The Girl with All the Gifts, which I also thoroughly loved. However, I feel One of Us has the advantage here as it goes further by delving further into each character and offering us more individuals than just the one. As a result, you feel more invested in the plagued kids and the normal kids fighting on their behalf.

One of Us doesn’t let up with pacing that verges on perfection. When you add to this a bunch of entirely compelling characters, the result is a book you will not want to put down.

Pages: 400 | ASIN: B0776QMHPT

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Lost Frequencies

Lost Frequencies: The Soul Prophecies by [Lynagh, Caitlin]

Lost Frequencies: The Soul Prophecies by Caitlin Lynagh is a book that gives you all the benefits of escapism while maintaining a terrifying sense of reality throughout.

It is about a group of people in a dystopian world, trying to survive against all odds. Their world is ravaged by the carelessness of their ancestors. They have to struggle for their basic necessities, all the while fighting back an evil but pragmatic corporation.

The novel switches back and forth from the past, and between dream sequences filled with strange prophecies. I found this a little disorienting. But it provided great contrast and detail to their fictional world. It was also quite fast paced, so it took me a while to get a hang of all the things taking place, especially the dream sequences.

The world itself was reminiscent of The Hunger Games, albeit more exotic and more relevant. Especially considering how their world came to be from climate change and being indifferent to the state of the planet.

Some of the secondary characters were totally adorable- particularly Ehi and Zerren. I felt immediately connected to them and was rooting for them throughout. Apart from these few, however, there were a lot of other story lines of characters I did not particularly care about. They had interesting side plots, but I wish the focus had remained more on the main few.

The objects in this world were also incredibly fascinating- like Lif, a biological metal that can be manipulated with thoughts. The differences between the humans and Iyeekans were very interesting and creative.

If pressed, I would probably describe this book as a science fiction adventure, but that would almost be unfair. This is because the book almost transcends genre. Even the planet’s reality seems not so distant from ours. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a scary yet hopeful science fiction experience.

Pages: 310 | ASIN: B07T943KDL

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End of Crows – Trailer

The world was chaos. War has torn apart the country, politics and families. With the Dominion taking over, 15-year old Willow and her family flee to safety in the west.

She has been raised as a member of the Crows, rebels who fought against the Dominion, a group now scattered across the country, to heal, plan and regroup.

Willow, along with her brother Brice, are continuing their training as warriors in their remote mountain hideout. As time passes, Willow’s strengths and talents promise to launch her quickly into leadership of the rebel faction. But will the jealousy of others threaten the very life she’s been groomed to live?

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Metrofloat New York

Metrofloat New York by [Belle, William Quincy]

A rampant epidemic wipes out a large chunk of the world’s population, leaving behind a meager percentage to fend for itself and save humanity from extinction. With the use of highly sophisticated scientific and technological methods, man attempts to increase his chances of survival by creating floating cities and Metrofloat New York finds itself among them. The levitating city is run by five powerful members of the OligCouncil and everything seems peachy untill tragedy strikes. Someone begins to murder the ruling members. Detective Heart and Sergeant Stanton are called upon to find this harbinger of death before the equilibrium of the city’s government is disrupted and chaos rises. But they soon discover that sometimes, things aren’t as they seem.

William Quincy Belle’s Metrofloat New York is a gripping science fiction thriller set in post-apocalyptic times. Marked by tremendous advancement in science and technology and its adaptation to man’s peculiar circumstances. The author paints a vivid picture of the changes the world has gone through by introducing several elements like flying vehicles, brain siphoning weapons, ingrained ID chips, mutated bacteria and surprisingly, new meals devoid of any form of meat but dominated by insects and worms.

Although SciFi novels describe new realities, the best of them involving humans reveal that though times may change, our fundamental values, prejudices and quirks will not. Metrofloat New York does this with its resonating themes. For example, the writer shows that although tools of social stratification may become incredibly limited in the future, man will still get creative. In the book, we discover that the very human frailty which we are currently trying to subvert can be turned into a marker of status when it becomes a rarity. Also, we see that man’s present shallowness and pettiness will not be suddenly altered by the alienation of over half of humanity. He will still struggle with common defects like greed and the belittlement of others who seem slightly different. But thankfully, we won’t get to retain only our cynical traits, the qualities of compassion, love and solidarity will also remain with us. The writer also emphasizes the complexity of the core of humans: our thought process. Our consciousness is so intricate that it might prove impossible to recreate.

One thing I like about the book is what William does with the characters. He makes them real by progressively unraveling their traits, thereby reiterating the fact that people aren’t always what they seem. Based on first impressions alone, one may consider one of the key characters; Detective Heart, a frivolous and shallow-minded bum, but upon subsequent encounters, one soon discovers that he is far from that.

If you are one who fancies a SciFi novel whose plot rolls along quickly but still provides sufficient thrills and is greatly imaginative, then this book has your name on it.

Pages: 216 | ASIN: B07K631LDS

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A Single Light

A Single Light: A Thriller (The Line Between Book 2) by [Lee, Tosca]

It was early on a Monday morning at 4 am that I had gone through over one third of the book in one night. This book quickly became one of the best reads I have gone through in the past 3 months.

A Single Light begins with around 60 odd people forced to take shelter in a time vault due to the outbreak of a virulent epidemic. A runaway named Wynter and a former soldier turned bounty hunter, Chase are at the heart of the story. Both appear to be an unmatched pair as they have their own motivations and secrets. For the people in the vault, the only source of comfort and connection with the outside is periodic transmissions from Noah, the person who brings hope to the individuals. But all of a sudden, the link goes dark, causing to lose their composure. And when the time vault door opens all of a sudden, it begins a whole new set of unknown dangers to the group, stressed for many months. Infected animals, ghostly town, and people driven to the brink of anarchy. The support systems have failed, all semblance of order and law lying bare. What do you do? That’s where we find the characters in the story.

The story is intense and riveting as is the description of the dynamics at play between the different characters in a confined space. The notes that the story touches are really fundamental, fear, loss, joy but the presentation is remarkably somber and in line as to the way the plot is weaved. I really liked the way the author describes the gritty and raw emotions at play which I have seen only in a very few authors.

The best thing is that the author does not try to bend the story in a way that seems disjointed. It is a skill that is honed by working at the craft for many sleepless nights and long hours.

Though the story may not have political beliefs one may have, I wholeheartedly agree with what the author has penned about the need to break down the walls and be more exclusive. Normally a stickler for neat wrapped endings, I love the way the story concluded. I can’t wait for the next book.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B07P5JKYT8

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Enemies of Mankind

David Crane Author Interview

David Crane Author Interview

Makers of Destiny is a thrilling novel following Tanya Grey through a post-apocalyptic New America. As a writer, what were some goals you set for yourself with this novel?

This novel is a direct sequel to the book Die To Live Again, in which the main protagonist Tanya Gray survives the global nuclear war, and is changed by the nature’s hidden defense mechanism that is activated as a result of the atomic detonations. I ended the first novel on a positive note, with Tanya being transformed into a new being superior to humans and exposing and punishing the people responsible for the nuclear holocaust. I had several goals when planning Makers of Destiny. The first goal was to show the United States recovering from the most devastating conflict in human history. The second goal was to explore Tanya’s character further as a person, presenting her in this novel not only as a warrior-healer, but also as a diplomat, a wife, and a mother. The third goal was to introduce new challenges and dangers that Tanya must overcome while helping to restore the country and combat hostile social and religious forces considering her species as enemies of mankind.

What were some ideas you wanted to continue in this novel from book one and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?

Writing a sequel is always an interesting challenge. The events in Makers of Destiny take place fifty years after the events in Die To Live Again. After exposing and punishing the members of a secret cabal of some of the most powerful and richest men on earth responsible for the nuclear holocaust, I wanted Tanya Gray to earn some measure of peace and explore her own potential as a member of a new powerful race that would have to coexist with humans. Although changed physically and spiritually, in her heart, Tanya is still human, with very human feelings, dreams and desires. Therefore, I wanted to present Tanya as a spouse and a parent, as well as a very important member of the United States government. In this sequel, I wanted to explore the new ideas about Tanya’s relationship with her old and new friends, as well as uneasy coexistence with humans who do not trust her because of her superior power and intelligence. For Tanya, new challenges arise when a mysterious force form the past awakens to challenge the New America, and fanatical movement against her species threatens the delicate balance. To summon it up, I wanted this story to be just as powerful and character driven as Die To Live Again.

There were so many elements in this story that could be pulled from headlines or history. What were some sources of inspiration you drew from while writing?

I always felt that science fiction must be solidly based on scientific and political facts that define new technologies and new policies that do not yet exist. One of the most powerful sources of inspiration came to me from reading science fiction and post-apocalyptic novels that deal with potential dangers to the existence of mankind. The second source was the solid scientific data about the dangers of planetary pollution, corporate greed, political corruption and advancement of weapons of mass destruction. The third source of inspiration came from my interest in military history from the ancient times to the present day. Human beings are antagonistic species, and managed to find many reasons to turn the hunting implements into weapons of war. Struggle for survival and deep fear of the unknown is embedded deep in our genetic makeup. I wanted to explore this side of human condition when dealing with such things as the end of civilization and its aftermath. The fantastical elements in the novel were introduced to show the power of nature that always prevails against the misguided ambitions of men.

Do you plan to write more novels in this series? If so, where will the next novel pickup?

That is a very interesting question. In my spare time, I am doing some brainstorming in regard to the continuation of the series about the adventures of Tanya Gray. Tanya is a fascinating character that I created and consider as one of my strongest and most enduring protagonists in post-apocalyptic universe. If I decide to write another novel about her, it will likely be the last one in the series, turning it into a trilogy. The story, as I see it will most likely pick up one hundred years after the events in Makers of Destiny. Tanya’s species live for more than 400 years, and during that time, Tanya would gain more wisdom as she witnesses her children grow to maturity and face a world rich with adventure, discovery and danger. There will most likely be another powerful force that would try to lay claim over the resource rich territories and minds of men as well as many colorful villains. The third novel is still in basic stage of development but I want to see Tanya live again on the pages of my new book. Time will tell!

Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Website | Amazon

Makers of Destiny - Sequel to Die to Live Again by [Crane, David]

HER ACTIONS ARE THE LAST HOPE FOR THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF NEW AMERICA. . . .

Fifty years have passed since the nuclear war. New America has risen from the ashes and once again becomes the new superpower. But peace and prosperity have come at a great cost. And the new American nation is still divided in the bitter struggle to save it from past sins. New political and religious forces are once again on the move, determined to shape the country’s destiny.

Surviving the Armageddon and the savage Second Civil War, Panther warrior-healer Tanya Gray serves as a presidential advisor. She now has a family of her own and is looking forward to a better tomorrow. But the balance of power is changed when a new ruthless and mysterious force from the past lays claim to New America’s remaining resources. And once again, Tanya Gray is forced to fight to extinguish the flames of a new Civil War.

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Makers of Destiny

Makers of Destiny - Sequel to Die to Live Again by [Crane, David]

Makers of a Destiny by David Crane is an enthralling mash-up of dystopian fantasy and a pulse pounding thriller.

The book is set in a post-apocalyptic New America, where Tanya Grey is one of the Panthers. The Panthers are a superior race, with a host of special forces that they intend to use for the growth and development of the other races in New America. However, a national emergency leaves Tanya Grey in the wake of a situation that requires all of her skills and power to fight the antagonists. They are the Neo Spartans, equipped with technological prowess and ruthlessness, they will stop at nothing to take down New America. Apart from this, an increasingly unstable political situation threatens the nation and Tanya Grey’s personal life.

Although this is a sequel to the novel Die to Live Again, reading that book is not required to read and enjoy this book. There are plenty of detailed explanations for all the characters, elements, and creatures. The descriptions of the Panthers’ lives and motivations were particularly fascinating. I wouldn’t be surprised if in our own post-nuclear holocaust (I don’t suppose it’s too far) we find ourselves in the company of these creatures. Apart from the Panthers, there were elaborate depictions of new species and animals, like the Hunter leeches. Although these were equally fascinating, I felt that they were a bit lengthy and did not contribute much to the plot.

Apart from these elements, equal amount of focus was devoted to Tanya’s personal lives and the characters that surround her. Her attachments and vulnerabilities made me especially empathetic to her decisions.

While reading, I was struck by the number of antagonistic elements in the book that were comparable to the realities of today. From racism to an endless lust for power that threatens the foundation of humanity, it was not a far stretch for my imagination to conjure up this world. The possibility of technology being used for evil, suppression of minorities, colonialism, and other parallels can easily be drawn between our world and this one. History always repeats itself and it is quite likely that we will find ourselves in a future which echoes our past. This novel provides a perfect and terrifying depiction of such a world.

Pages:  342 | ASIN: B074YH9GJD

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Survival, Discovery and Revenge

David Crane Author Interview

David Crane Author Interview

Die to Live Again follows Tanya through a post-apocalyptic future where she must fight for humanity’s survival. Where did the initial idea for this novel come from and how did that change as you were writing?

The idea for this novel was born out of a short story I wrote in my writing group in the year 2010 titled “The Fifth Season.” It featured Tanya and her boyfriend Jack trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, and encountering the mysterious black trees that change them forever. I didn’t know how to end that short story, so I put it back on the shelf, until an idea struck me: why not turn this short story into a full novel? “The result was a book “Die to Live Again,” where only Tanya survives and Jack dies from radiation sickness. His death changes Tanya spiritually, just as the black trees changed her physically, setting her on a journey of survival, discovery and revenge.

This book has a good balance between action, scifi, and introduces some spiritualism. How did you want to balance these ideas in your story?

Initially, balancing action, science fiction and spiritualism was a bit difficult, until I realized an important fact that all three can be well mixed together because of the story’s plot and structure. In my story, nuclear holocaust almost wipes out the human race. The remnants of humanity would be hard pressed to survive the fallout and battle such terrible things as starvation, violence, loss of morality, law and order and disease. The element of spiritualism was necessary, because I felt that after such a planet changing horrific event all religions that we know would be gone and would gradually be replaced by tribalism and worship of the forces of nature. The action part was always there, and the science fiction part was the existence of nature’s hidden defense mechanism that offered the remnants of mankind a second change.

Writing is often a labor of love. What part of this novel did you enjoy writing the most?

I often asked myself what I would do in the similar situation Tanya had found herself in. Sometimes fiction mimics the reality, and sometimes reality resembles fiction. I grew up as a child and a young teenager during the Cold War, where the threat of nuclear holocaust was very real. It remains a threat even today, thankfully on a smaller scale. The part I enjoyed writing the most was the part of Tanya’s encounter with the mysterious black trees and her transformation from a vulnerable mortal young woman into an enigmatic being of incredible physical and mental power. I replayed that scene in my mind many times, imagining Tanya’s suffering and desperation that ends with her salvation. We all love superheroes, and Tanya in my eyes becomes a new kind of superhero but with a human heart.

Do you plan to continue Tanya’s story in other books in a series?

Die To Live Again” does have a sequel titled “Makers of Destiny,” which takes place fifty years after the events in the first book. The characters who were very young have grown up, and the original characters have either died or are very old but still influence the events in the sequel. In the second novel, Tanya faces new threat from a new and powerful enemy as well as a political and racial conflict that results in one part of humanity changing into being smarter and more powerful than humans. This sequel also presents Tanya not only as a warrior but a diplomat as well as wife and a mother, who will do anything to protect her family in new uncertain times of the Second Civil War.

Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Website | Amazon

Die to Live Again: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel by [Crane, David]

WORLD WAR THREE HAS BEGUN. . . .

Tanya Gray, a young college graduate, joins the shocked refugees seeking shelter from the approaching nuclear nightmare. They find it deep inside Crystal Temple, a high-tech underground fortress, designed to survive the nuclear fallout. But Tanya soon discovers dark and terrible secrets about Crystal Temple and joins a rebel movement.

Implicated in the uprising against the military dictatorship, she and her boyfriend are exiled to the surface. Moving across the hostile nuclear wasteland, they encounter a country gripped by anarchy and madness. Slowly dying from radiation poisoning, they prepare to meet the end. Then a masked stranger appears, offering them a chance at survival. . . .

Tanya undergoes a physical and spiritual transformation that will send her on a mission of discovery and vengeance. For as the world changes, the remnants of mankind must change or face extinction.

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