- Paperback: 322 pages
- Publisher: iUniverse (17 Nov. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1475946406
- ISBN-13: 978-1475946406
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
Nova: Episodes: Survivalism Paperback – 17 Nov 2012
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About the Author
Shaawen E. Thunderbird is an Ojibway native whom proudly acknowledges his cultural heritage in storytelling. Self-trained as an improviser and real-time storyteller in pen-and-paper games, Shaawen furthered his talents into screenwriting and poetry before writing his first novel, Nova: Episodes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Having said that, I was contacted by the author and offered a free book in exchange for an honest review. 'Well' I thought 'Free is good. I guess I could use a change of genres.' Secretly, I wanted to give myself a good laugh at how badly written it was, same stuff just different names and locations probably. So I gave it a shot. I expected a cliche story, run of the mill characters, and everything else I hated about the sci-fi genre. Mind you, there are some good ones out there, but they are so rare, few, and far in between that you might stumble across a good one once every thousand novels.
My final impression? OMG, I was floored by it. It's a really good book with imaginative and thought provoking writing. The writing is good and strange at the same time. Let me go over why.
Everything in the book starts off cliche. Guy wakes up, lost his memory, finds out the world ended, and is stuck in the middle of a war. I thought that was boring. Then you have killer cyborgs in it, strange mutations that infect people with a virus, psycho psychics, and a desert-like post apocalypse world (This one had a twist. I actually liked the setting). I thought 'Okay. Cliche, but okay'.
But then something magical happened while I was reading. I couldn't put the book down and I thought 'Why can't I put this down?' Something about the writing had me hypnotized to keep reading and turning the pages. Was it the story? The writing style? The world that seemingly had crammed several ideas together? The intrigue? What? I didn't know at the time, until I finished the book.
This author is brilliant! Seriously, he is brilliant. Yet at the same time, he is also just starting out, an amateur. You can tell by the silly mistakes he makes in the book, yet he makes some remarkable new grounds in writing and storytelling in general. First I was reading what I thought was normal language, then suddenly the writing goes akimbo and breakdances before your eyes. Then it goes back to normal. Then suddenly you're reading something like hopscotch with so many fragments like an incomplete dream. Then suddenly I was reading dialogue in perfect iambic pentameters. I was like 'what the hell?'. And those passages are like heavily metaphoric too.
It even had some Bronx speak in it and some sort of wacky creative redneck style talk. All of this in one scene! Other times, his writing was so poetic at times that it's just damn sexy and hypnotic. The writing style changes a lot and not without reason either.
Other times, he writes passages from god knows where this information came from, but it was so damn interesting to read that you would think it came from a retiring university professor with several nobel prizes under his belt. I had to keep looking at the back just to reminded that this author is a very young guy who looks like he smokes weed and plays video games all day in his mother's basement. Yet the professionalism and sophistication of these passages is so logical and knowledgeable that it's just downright sexy. It certainly adds to the believability of this insane world.
Sometimes he goes into descriptives with some people and places. Other times it is completely omitted. It gets frustrating at times. Sometimes the narratives are really crammed together, but that just adds to the momentum of the action (which is really fast and condensely detailed).
Plus, you know when a writer is good when you can tell who is talking without writing their names down in the old "who said" fashion. With this book, every character was recognizable. They had their own tones, their own thoughts, their own motives, agendas, their own speaking style. Sometimes it was wild and bizarre. Other times, subtle and subconscious. And one passage of dialogue looked like it was written by a maniac, yet the content's purpose contradicted its own madness. I was like 'wow'.
This isn't just some action, adventure story either. It's Emo. Very emo. You can always feel the stress, anxiety, and lingering suffering in the emotional world of these characters. You are always aware of that feeling of the end of the world. The writer never lets that go. It's so moving and poignant that I thought 'Y'know, that's how I would feel if this happened to me.' The writer paints a scary emotional reality of constantly suffering everyday that it choked me up a few times. And this is in a sci-fi novel!
I think my only gripes about it were his over-the-head narration. This doesn't happen all the time, but I noticed the author does spoon feed some of information during scenes. I rather be teased these things with a clue, but that's just me and my desire to be enticed by my genres of choice. The author did say that this is his first book so he could really use some learning in that area there, so I guess I should've expected that.
Ultimately, this book blew me away and stretched my brain in more ways than one. Something in this book will get you; whether its the blazing intelligence of the writer, the wild storytelling, the crazy characters, the hypnotic action, the gorgeous poetry, the intriguing world setting, the fascinating sci-fi elements, the believability of the world, whatever. Buy it, read it, and enjoy. You won't regret it. I can promise you that.