My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Justin’s debut book is as exciting as it is emotionally satisfying. I only needed to read one page from Justin’s sample off his website to see this was a book I had to read. The action mixes well with emotional attachment to the characters and his SciFi tropes are used well. The Titans are fierce soldiers with awesome fight scenes I’ll remember for a long time. His use of nanotechnology is creative and integral to the story. Shawn, the main character, starts off as a young man more interested in his band and seeing his girlfriend than visiting his mom. I enjoyed the process of his feelings changing towards his mom and him growing up fast into the hero humanity needed to survive the Titan invasion. The ending is clever, satisfying my desire for capable enemies that thwart the good guys’ plan time and time again.
One reason for this being a four star instead of five was because of a couple sections that didn’t keep my interest. The prologue was awesome; I loved the action, description, and emotional experience of Artemis, the Titan, seeing the final stage of victory over the Hezrin. Unfortunately, after that, I wasn’t immediately interested in the two other POV’s: Gimble the pirate, and Shawn. I wasn’t interested in Shawn until he opened up to his mom when she made him breakfast. Before that I thought he was kind of a punk ;). Same goes for the pirates. Justin showed me a good reason to like these characters by the end, but their introductions didn’t immediately grab me. More importantly, I was rewarded for sticking around because Justin has a great ending to these character’s arcs.
Another section that lost my interest was between 35% and 60%. Once I became attached to Shawn and his mother, I really enjoyed the story, and was hooked to the outcome. But, after the museum scene, I felt like the mother’s boyfriend investigation of what happened at the museum felt like an unnecessary recap since I was there for the action. I get that Justin was showing us her boyfriend’s emotional turmoil, but as a reader I wanted new information. The next part that grabbed my interest wasn’t until around 60% with the next fight scene. Finding some what to implement the set up info into dialogue within the fight scene, or at least in closer proximity, would have helped keep the pace from dipping.
Lastly, while Justin’s writing shows spurts of excellence, there are also places that show room for improvement. For the most part, his writing is good enough not to draw attention to itself and ruin the reader’s enjoyment of the story, but it could have been smoother. For his first published book, I’m impressed. That said, Justin has a reasonable room for growth. If you like Science Fiction that has characters you care about, you’ll really enjoy Justin’s book. I normally take weeks to read a book, but this book I read in 6 days. That says a lot about Justin’s ability to grab the reader and keep them till the end. He didn’t let me down, and I’ll recommend this to any fans of Science Fiction.