Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review: Fires of Man (Psionic Earth #1) by Dan Levinson

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Fires of Man
   *Series: Psionic Earth #1
Author: Dan Levinson
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Pages: Paperback; 400
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Author
Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love sweeping science fiction with memorable characters.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
Supposedly, the war between Calchis and Orion ended decades ago. But upon reporting to an isolated Orion army base for basic training, Private Stockton Finn learns the war still rages, only the weapons have changed—most disturbingly of all, Finn has been selected to become one of those weapons.

Across the border, young Calchan farm boy Aaron Waverly learns all too well just how determined his country is to win the war when he is abducted from his family's property by a sinister government operative known only as Agent. Finding himself trapped in dreary new surroundings, learning deadly skills he's never before imagined, Aaron struggles to reconcile his ephemeral faith with his harsh new reality.

As the two nations hurtle toward a resurgence of open hostilities, Finn and Aaron, along with their new friends and mentors, must rush to prepare themselves for the inevitable clash. All the while, a new archaeological find in the frozen tundra far to the north hints that the brewing conflict may only be the first of their worries...

It's been quite a while since I carved out a block of time to read a Science Fiction Epic. Once upon a time, these were a regular part of my reading regime. It's the huge worlds that are built, the ample amount of characters that come to life on the page, and the stories that feel bigger than anything I could imagine, that keep drawing me back into books like this. What caught my eye specifically about Fires of Man, was that it dealt with psionic powers. Imagine the ability to harness the energy around you, and channeling it to perform amazing feats. Summoning balls of fire in your hands, creating personal shields, and even throwing a person across the room without ever touching them. It's hard not be caught up in the idea of that. Which is why, quite honestly, I wanted to get my hands on this book.

It bears mentioning that it took me a while to become invested in this story. Fires of Man is told from multiple points of view, and it felt a little jarring to be shuttled back and forth between so many minds. What I liked about this, was that I had the ability to see the war from both sides. Levinson includes characters from the two camps of this war. All of which have their own flaws and vices. It was nice to see these characters through the eyes of others. The problem was, at least for me, that there were a lot of them. If I counted correctly, there are 7 different people to follow in this book. That's tough for anyone to keep track of.

The other issue with this layout, was that not every story overlaps. While the good majority of these characters at some point have converging stories, Faith's felt completely out in left field. She was the only character who had any resolution, not counting any who may have met gruesome ends, and so I when I reached the conclusion of the book I was confused. Did her story have a point here? It's possible that she'll make a comeback in the second book, thus making it necessary for her to be introduced here, but I don't know. For now, she felt out of place. Add in the fact that I felt the ending to be rather abrupt, and I was left feeling a little lost.

What this book does well though, is the storytelling. Fires of Man is rich with descriptive writing, drawing the reader into the world that Levinson has built for this psionic war. While most of the settings are similar to our world, they take on a life of their own. I found myself intrigued by the idea of two separate groups of psionic warriors, two sets of people who have unlimited power, as the only thing stopping the other side from harming the rest of the world. It's a large concept, and one that I'll happily follow.

So although I had a little bit of trouble with the way this story was presented, it definitely captured my imagination. I'm happy to have been introduced to Dan Levinson's writing, and I can't wait for more!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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