Monday, January 30, 2017

Book Review: Lifers by M.A. Griffin

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Lifers
Author: M.A. Griffin
Publisher: Chicken House (Scholastic)
Pages: Paperback; 288
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Source: Rockstar Book Tours / Publisher
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy mysteries that challenge their view of the world.

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Fear haunts the streets of Manchester: a schoolgirl has disappeared. Preston is drawn to investigate, exploring the city in the hunt for his missing friend. Deep in the bowels of a secret scientific institute, he discovers a sinister machine. Captured and condemned to a cavernous space filled with problematic teens, Preston is determined to escape - but this is no ordinary jail. Friendships are forged and lives lost in a reckless battle for freedom, revenge - and revolution.

It's tough to pinpoint exactly what type of book Lifers actually is. I lean towards a mystery or thriller, but in fact this book is kind of a genre mash-up. Take a bit of dystopia, some science fiction, a dash of mystery, shake it all up and you'll have Lifers at the end. This story defies categorization, and it was honestly kind of refreshing in a way.

Now, I feel it only fair to let all readers out there know that this book is written in third person. After much practice, I've learned to connect better with this type of writing. I do know that it is difficult for some people to feel fully immersed though. The saving grace is that Griffin does an excellent job of putting you right inside Preston's head. From the very first moment that he stumbles upon the mystery surrounding Alice's disappearance, it's easy to follow along with him. Despite anything else, Preston's ability to problem solve and keep calm under pressure is a constant.

As for the story itself, I was actually quite impressed with the way it was laid out. It's tough to share too much without spoilers, but there's a really clever basis to all the madness that Preston gets wrapped up in. I was intrigued by the science fiction portion of this story. The idea of being lost somewhere beyond. The concept of being so far from any type of help that it feels hopeless. I would have definitely liked to see more character build up, but the story kept me rapt.

If the beginning of this book seems a little slow, keep at it. Once I reached the middle, I was so wholly impressed with the way that things were being strategically laid out, and the build up to the ending honestly had me breathless with anticipation. Preston's wild misadventure ended up being something that I wasn't expecting, but was really glad I read. If you're looking for the type of story that doesn't fit nicely into a genre, and will challenge your mind, this is what you're looking for.

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I'm a writer of children's fiction, represented by Ben Illis at the B.I.A., available for workshops and school visits when I'm not chained to a laptop cursing my lack of progress and/or poverty of imagination. 

My debut novel, The Poison Boy, was written as Fletcher Moss. My second novel, Lifers, is my first for teen readers. It arrives April 2016.

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LIFERS, US Only.

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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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