*Disclaimer: My book reviews are my own impressions from my daily readings and are by no means “sponsored” or “influenced” by any company, organization or individuals. I don’t even get money through any referral program, so rest assured that my review is not biased. If you do, however, want me to review a book for your company or organization, feel free to contact me via the comments section and we can work something out. :)*
Approximately about 1 1/2 years ago I had the opportunity to lay my hands on “Emblem Divide”, a book written by my good friend Peter Savage. If I remember correctly, it had been a long time since I had last read science fiction, so I viewed that as a good opportunity to try something different. The plan was that I would read it and provide some feedback in exchange for being able to read his book first hand.
I read the first 10 chapters on my computer during lunch break (I was given a PDF) and honestly, I had a hard time focusing on the story due to the fact that I was very much used to reading in a quiet place and the computer provided a constant source of distraction. I’d find myself reading a paragraph and before I realized I’d be checking my RSS feeds or replying to someone on IRC. After the 10th chapter I decided that I’d give the book another try once I had a way to read it away from the computer. Now that I have a Kindle, I got a mobi format of the book and started reading it from the start last week.
“Emblem Divide" was written through the course of 6 years and unfortunately you can see that the gaps between writings have made the first chapters feel a bit disconnected. You can "feel" how the author’s writing style and prose change from chapter to chapter and there were a few contradictions here and there, but eventually Peter gets on a nice groove and starts telling us the story of Oken Brown. In this not so far future, the world has undergone a series of massive changes in its political organization and society lives in a constant state of fear ever since the Temporal War of 2028. It is also a world where Global Temporal Enforcement Programme, or G-TEP, keeps an eye on anyone who wants to tamper with time travel and use it to change the outcome of the future.
Through a lot of reading and researching on his own, Oken learns how to design a temporal device that allowed him to slow down time. Furthermore, due to his participation in an underground fighting club, he embeds this device into Bethany, his fighting ninja sword and uses it to completely obliterate his opponents during their weekly tournaments. Life looked to be in favor of Oken for a while, specially when he meets Jay and falls head over heels for the inquisitive aspiring reporter during one of his fights. But not everything was well, off course, and unbeknownst to Oken the G-TEP is tipped off by an unlikely enemy and is planning to take him down as soon as they can catch him red handed.
The story itself is very well thought out and I could totally see it become a mini movie. There are several plot twists and flashbacks to keep your mind wondering about what the next chapter will bring. However, I felt that the characters were not properly developed and I often found myself trying to figure out why some characters acted the way they did. It’s almost like you’re introduced to a caring and loving character who, completely out of the blue, turns into a major quantum physicist and solves a hairy problem in the story and then goes back to being his old self. There are no explanations before or after the event as to how this person knows so much about physics or its background. By now you should all know that I’m all about fully developed characters.
This review may sound a bit on the harsher side but I feel that it is my obligation to provide my readers with an unbiased review. The plot is very interesting but the characters could use a bit of a background boost. In the course of writing the 50 chapters that make up “Emblem Divide”, Peter’s style gets stronger as the story progresses and by the end you can see several glimpses of his hard work paying off! If you’re interested in checking his book, Peter has made it freely accessible in his blog. He has also started working on his newest project, Alchemy Reigns which you can follow at alchemyreigns.wordpress.com
By the way, there is a character in “Emblem Divide" that was named after me! How cool is that? :)