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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

on 25 June 2015
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

This is the second book in the Josh Anvil Series. I loved it!

Josh Anvil is a fantastic character. I liked him very much. He is a smart and curious fourteen year old. Unfortunately, he doesn't see himself the same way. He has low self-esteem, which is caused by his dyslexia and being bullied at school. However, he is an excellent story teller and basketball player, has a vivid imagination and incredible powers thanks to the aliens that saved him after an accident in the swamp where he lives. (Read book 1 to find out how that happens). But he's about to embark on a journey full of danger and adventure. Can he save his planet from a vengeful alien?

I have been wanting to read this book for some time (ever since I read the first book in the series, Josh Anvil and the Cypress Door, way back in 2013). Unfortunately, due to my long reading list, I have only now been able to get to read it. I must admit, it was worth the wait!

This story continues on from the end of the first book and I was quickly drawn back into the tale. *Minor Spoiler Alert!!* Josh and his best friend Troy are sucked through a portal and find themselves on an alien planet or five. Here, they find themselves facing several challenges and making new friends, as well as enemies. This story is just as fast paced and exciting as the first book. There are several twists and turns, and a few surprises that kept me hooked from beginning to end. The descriptions of the planets visited and the characters on them are vivid enough for me to picture them with ease. I also liked meeting Kodi, Lonnie, Libby, Jana, Axel, Sadie and Marty, who are humanoid aliens from the different worlds that Josh and Troy visit, plus a few others that bring this story to life. There is also a surprising familial reunion in a twist I didn't see coming. I found myself in tears on more than one occasion, and in shock at the end of one scene. I couldn't believe that what I had read was true, so had to re-read that part. Once it sunk in, I felt like bawling like a baby! Luckily, I managed to control my sobs long enough to keep reading. I liked reading the scene where Josh learns how to fly an alien spacecraft. It made me giggle! In fact, there are several scenes of comic relief, courtesy of Josh's friend Troy. He has a laid-back attitude that belies that he takes things seriously, but he does have a serious side which I admired. He is also incredibly brave and faces several dangers that most fifteen year old boys would never dream of with grace and good humour. This book took me on a roller coaster ride of emotion. When I reached the end of the book I felt sad, but this was only because I wanted to keep reading! I am now looking forward to continuing this series by reading the third book, Josh Anvil and the Gathering Storm, as soon as possible.

Bruce Arrington has written an exciting fantasy adventure. I love his fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely read more of his books in the future.

I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 10-18, but I also recommend this book to adults who love to read YA fantasy books filled with action, adventure, danger and aliens. - Lynn Worton
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on 13 October 2013
When we last saw Josh Anvil, he and his best friend Troy had just dived into a portal leading to an alien world. In that first book, Josh Anvil and the Cypress Door, he had acquired superpowers. Now, in this other world, his powers are gone. Or, are they different? And so begins the thrill ride. Things happen fast, here, and the challenges are always different.

I strongly recommend that the reader start with the first Josh Anvil book. It puts things into perspective, in an Earthly setting, where you get to know the characters as they relate to their parents, and siblings, and even high school teachers! Here, we're far away from Earth, and on every world that Josh and Troy enter, their powers change. There's lots of excitement, and some mysteries raised in the first book are answered, even as other mysteries take their place. And, there were delightful surprises, as things casually mentioned in the first book, but that I didn't even realize were mysteries, are answered.

Just as in the first book, there are plenty of funny moments. I enjoyed the two boys analyzing spacecraft in terms of Star Trek designs--leading the alien to wonder where they got all this knowledge of spacecraft.

This book seemed more fragmented than the first one, as Josh and Troy dash from world to world, one step ahead of, or behind, menacing aliens. On the other hand, the wish-fulfillment element I saw in the first book is gone from this one. Josh's superpowers don't make everything easy for him; they barely enable him to survive, if he can figure out how they can be used. And, in accordance with the rules of nature laid out in the book, they tend to disappear, even when he needs them most.

This book turns just slightly darker than the first one, at times. The fate of whole worlds is at store, both Earth and others. I was impressed with the 'Ada' strand of the plot, but, reading it as a youngster, I'd have been shocked and saddened.

Overall, this was entertaining light science-fiction adventure, designed for middle-grade/young adult reading. The plot line resolves nicely, but there clearly needs to be a third book. I'm looking forward to it.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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on 15 August 2013
Josh Anvil and the Pivotal Weapon is an action packed middle grade science fiction adventure.

What I liked:

I enjoyed the strong themes of friendship and forgiveness that run through this story. Josh and his best friend Troy have each other's backs and don't bother with holding grudges. I found their dispositions refreshingly angst-free for teen characters. The overall concept of the story is one laden with fun and adventure. It has super powers, space ships, aliens, planetary exploration, and an unexpected number of tacos. It's the kind of story that will likely spark a youthful imagination, as it holds so many possibilities.

What didn't work for me:

My main issue with this book, and what ultimately didn't work for me, is that I could never feel immersed in the world or the action. The descriptions were rather sterile, and while I felt as though I should be marveling at strange and wonderful alien worlds, I could never really picture them. I want to smell those alien flowers, awe at spectacular landscapes, feel the character's heart pumping in his chest as he flees from enemies. However, the narration was too sparse to engender such reactions.

For most of the book, the protagonist flits from crisis to resolution so swiftly that I, as a reader, didn't have time to generate either concern or relief. At times, the action is so hurried and nondescript it felt like summary. Josh's emotions, up until the climax, are barely described. I would have liked to have felt his fear and his pain more. I would have liked to see more consequences for his actions and his failures.

The plot itself seemed to be entirely reactionary and built upon happenstance. It begins with a desire to explore and then becomes a long chain of Josh helping people with problems that we didn't know existed until it's time for them to be dealt with. I wish that more of the momentum of the story had been in Josh's hands. The plot felt like a series of small, unrelated quests that didn't build up into any grander purpose.
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on 6 September 2013
osh Anvil #2 is a fun and fast-paced action adventure set just after the first book [book:Josh Anvil and the Cypress Door|15793029] ends. Themes which came through clearly in the first book are present and developed: the importance of friends and family being paramount amongst these, and the depth of Josh's friendship with Troy is clearly demonstrated and tested as events sweep them away in this book.

Josh is rapidly immersed in a series of challenging and life-threatening events as he goes in search of Anton's family, and finds out about the alien plans for humanity, which are less than conducive to his or anyone else's health or continued existence. One rescue mission quickly leads to another; the portal to Earth is in danger of being closed, tensions rise. The author develops Josh's character throughout as he responds to the mantle of power that has been thrust upon him.

All that is good. However, as I read the first and second books of this series close together, it was disappointing to me that some of the elements which made the first story so enjoyable were not as apparent in this second book. The quirkiness is abandoned (apart from some fun with t-shirts and alien diapers) in favour of an action-driven storyline. Crisis situations began to come and go every other chapter. While it was a wild ride at first, after a while as a reader I began to feel a little punch-drunk. I found myself wishing that swift dose of this or that power would not resolve things for Josh. The plot felt rushed and unnecessarily compressed. The different worlds became indistinguishable in my imagination.

So for fun and action I'd give this story 4.5 stars, but I felt the nature of the plot held the story back from reaching its true potential. 4 stars overall, recommended. I look forward to whatever is next for Josh Anvil in this exciting series!
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on 22 February 2014
Josh Anvil and the Pivotal Weapon by Bruce Arrington is a YA fantasy about the fourteen-year-old Josh and his heroic adventures outwitting the evil alien Raga and saving Earth from invasion.

Josh’s human friend Troy accompanies him, along with Anton, a humanoid alien slave from another world. They meet up with more of Anton’s people, plus a helpful renegade alien, along the way.

This is the second adventure about Josh and his friends, and this time our hero has mind melded with an intelligent power that guides him into rescuing Anton’s son and a remarkable young woman who can split planets. Our hero pilots an organic spaceship made from a tree. It replicates Josh’s favorite meals (fast food tacos and barbeque pizzas) and conjures cool teen clothes (jeans and t-shirts with snappy sayings).

Mixed in with the fun romp, the story examines more serious themes about Josh’s loyalty, not only to his close friends, but also to the welfare of Earth. Our hero struggles with the consequences of rash and revengeful actions. The end of the story is a satisfying conclusion to the current set of adventures, and sets the stage for more fun to come in the sequel. For fans of YA fantasy adventures about a teenage boy, this story is a recommended read.

I purchased a copy of this book.
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on 31 October 2013
Having not read the first book in the series, Josh Anvil and the Pivotal Weapon is a little hard to get into. The brief summary at the beginning of the book wasn't enough of a lead in for me. I would highly recommend the reader start with book one.

In this second installment, fourteen-year-old Josh and his best friend Troy find themselves in a galaxy full of various alien planets, trying to find their humanoid friend Anton's son and daughter. They uncover the horrific plan of alien warlord Raga, who is intend on wiping out most of the earth's population.

While there certainly is a lot of action, the plot seemed quite fragmented to me at times. A myriad of alien characters appears (at times seemingly random and with not much contributing to the plot). What bothered me most was how the action didn't unfold, but was merely described. While the younger target audience might not mind, for adult readers phrases like "then something changed...", "then things got more weird", "then all went dark" simply don't amount to good story telling.

This is definitely intended for less mature readers, but it will teach them valuable lessons about friendship and commitment.
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on 16 June 2013
Josh is a 14 year old boy,who along with his best friend troy have super powers given to them by aliens. In this adventure the boys gets sucked through a port hole to an other world. Josh and troy have to battle aliens in order to help a new alien friend rescue his family from an evil race of aliens, lead by his arch enemy raga. The author has a fantastic imagination, and describes everything in great detail, from tiny aliens to giant gargoyles like creatures, the spaceships and the different planets they visit. I don't want to give any of the story away, but there are some very funny moments and some sad moments, especially when Troy is seriously injured, to the point he may die. This book will go down a treat with teen agers, and those who are still teens at heart.
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on 1 July 2013
Fourteen-year-old Josh Anvil continues his intergalactic adventures in Josh Anvil and the Pivotal Weapon, book two in a series. In this book aimed at the middle grades, Josh has left his native Louisiana and travelled through a portal to another world. Along with his best friend Troy and a cryptic humanoid named Anton, Josh soon discovers new superpowers. The trio doesn't find smooth sailing however, and are off and running to encounter new and fantastic escapades while attempting rescue missions (I won't ruin the exact plot) The book is packed with adventures and will appeal to younger sci fi readers. Charming touches are the additions of nods to pop culture including fast food tacos and T-Shirts emblazoned with ironic sayings. At times the plotting seems a bit contrived, and some characters coincidentally appear just as they are needed to move the story along, but not so much as to detract terribly from the reading experience. The author shows an understanding of relationship between 14-year-old boys in his writing of their dialog.
I received a free copy this book in exchange for a non-reciprocal unbiased review.
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