Format Read: Paperback ARC Edition (290 pages)
Genre: Adult/ Dystopian/ Thriller
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Publisher Request
Rating: THREE STARS
The year is 2078. The former United States of America is a bleak and fading memory for the few citizens of New America. Nearly five years after his wife was taken to a birthing camp by Secans, New America’s mercenaries, John Bradford is left to raise his two children alone in
an increasingly dangerous and desolate world.
Tagged by nanotechnology, their every move is tracked, limiting their ability to do anything not permitted by the new regime. When his daughter is chosen, Secans arrive to take her to a birthing camp. John swears if he doesn't let her go, they will all be killed. She reminds him of the promise he made to their mother, that he would do whatever it took to protect them.
Struggling between his promise and the real consequences of any action, the decision is made for John when his son brandishes a shotgun and kills one of the Secans. With no time to think, John grabs his children and goes on the run, but it is only a matter of time before the Secans find them and kill them. John has no choice but to return to his secret past, the only place where he knows he has a chance – The Circuit, an underground fight-to-the-death competition run by a ruthless mobster.
John’s return as one of the best fighters in Circuit history rekindles old rivalries and vendettas. With The Circuit rigged against him, Secans chasing after him, and danger at every turn, John fights his way across the country to save his children and fulfill the promise he made to his wife. This is John's fight, and it is one he cannot afford to lose.
REVIEW:This was the most terrifying and unfortunate family road trip, I could ever imagine. John is a relateable protagonist who had to make hard decisions and fight his way through faceless and brutal Secan soldiers. The action and relationships were believable, but the world building wasn't enough to create a immersible experience for the reader. John continued to have unbelievable immense strength and ability's despite horrific injuries, through numerous fights. His children Angela, and Sam and his wife Sarah operated in cliche roles that weren't unique enough to be interesting. I kept reading because of my interest in the oppressed society of New America, led by the psychopath Atwell who thinks hes on par with God.
"Mercy comes to those who ask for it, with hands upward toward God. Not man. It is not my job to provide mercy; it is my job to provide strong leadership to a country lost in the ruins of greed."I have a love for dystopias, but how the New America came to be and how it remained so powerful was never explained in detail. I enjoyed the use of witty banter and learning about the horrors of New America. But never felt a emotional connection to the story or it's characters. This was an okay read, but it's no-where near a well thought out narrative. This was the author's first book his experience producing, what I read reflected that and would have translated better to TV or film. Some things should have been fleshed out more, and there were too many side characters who quickly disappear never to be seen again.
"Women, children, and the elderly-- all murdered-- and there was nothing we could do but watch it burn. I can still hear the screams. I can still smell the charring flesh. That smell will never leave me."I did not enjoy the ending because the whole book seems to be leading up to something, but the ending doesn't satisfactorily tie up the details of the story line. Despite my criticism I still read it hoping to learn more about the characters. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading action packed dystopia's but this book just didn't work well for me.
I received this Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Find him @ http://www.markbacci.com and on Twitter: therealbacci