Author: Trevor Shane
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Pages: Hardback, 371
Opening Lines: "Dear Maria,
"I doubt you expected this journal to amount to much when you gave it to me, but here it is."
"Since the age of eighteen, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn't fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden in the shadows, governed by a rigid set of rules, and fought bt two distinct sides -- one good, one evil. The only unknown is which side is which. Soldiers in the War hide in plain sight, their deeds disguised as accidents or random acts of violence amid an unsuspecting population ignorant of the brutality that is always inches away.
"Killing people is the only life Joseph has ever known, and he's one of the best at it. But when a job goes wrong, and he's sent away to complete a punishingly dangerous assignment, Joseph meets a girl named Marie, and for the first time in his life, his single-minded, bloody purpose fades away.
"Before Maria, Joseph's only responsibility was dealing death to the anonymous targets fingered by his superiors. Now he must run from the people who have fought by his side to save what he loves the most in the world. As Children of Paranoia reaches its heart-in-throat climax, Joseph will learn that only one rule remains immutable: The only thing more dangerous than fighting the War . . . is leaving it."
Thoughts: I've read a lot of reviews about this book before I got it in the mail for the book tour, and I was extremely excited to read it. The premise really caught my attention, and I'm a sucker for dystopic novels. Once I started reading the book, however, everything just changed. I had an exceptionally hard time getting into it. Honestly, I dug my heels in and forced myself not to pick up another book because I had to read this for a book tour.
When I read the info about the book, I did not expect it to be a journal. In some ways, I was a little taken aback. It is an interesting concept. However, after several pages when the main character addresses the person he's writing it for, it really breaks the story. To me, even though it was hard to get into the story, it just brought everything to a shuddering halt. I felt as though I had hit a brick wall.
In books, it is nice to have a far amount of detail to set the stage for the reader. It allows the audience to fully immerse themselves into the world of the book and form a connection with the characters. While I felt that, in some cases, the author did a good job of doing this, overall I felt the huge blocks of text for pages on end was daunting. I found myself reading through it quickly just to get to sections where Joe was interacting with other people. If the author wanted the reader to feel isolated in an attempt to form some sort of sympathetic bond with Joe, then he did a good job. However, after awhile, I just felt bogged down and bored.
I loved the relationship with Maria. Near the beginning of the book, Joe is already starting to question what he truly believes, and I feel that Maria made him finally answer those questions for himself. While Jared's answers give a philosophical answer, they were still steering him in a desired direction. Maria forced Joe to start opening his eyes and really think about things. Also, his conversations with Dan helped as well.
I hated the ending of this book. Hated it. However, I completely understand why the book ended this way, considering that it is in a series. That being said, it should have ended on page 347. I'm not always the sappy-ending lover, but I really, really desired it in this book. To me, it was beautiful and well written. Plus, I'm not sure if I like Maria's voice.
After giving the book a day to stew in my mind, I still have mixed feelings. I'm not sure what I think about it. There are parts I loved and parts I hated. Parts of the book worked really, really well, but there were others that just fell flat. I still think the concept is interesting. At this point, I'm waiting to see what the other books are like. This is a first book in a number of ways -- for the author, in the series, etc.
Rating: ☆ ☆
Currently: Children of Paranoia by Trevor Shane
Current Pages: 21168
Note: I asked the author several questions concerning dysptoic fiction and the rise thereof for his guest post; however, the following post is how he chose to answer.
Sinnful Books Guest Post
There’s a scene in Children of Paranoia about homing pigeons. The main character is being chased from his home in New Jersey and is driving his car through the Delaware Water Gap. He feels safe for a few moments and starts to think back to when he was a little kid and he spent at the Delaware Water Gap with his grandfather. He and his grandfather used to drive down to the Water Gap to release his grandfhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifather’s homing pigeons. Then they’d drive home, stopping on the way for big breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs. During those five or so pages, Joseph, Children of Paranoia’s protagonist, is me. When I was a kid, my grandfather and I used to drive down to the Delaware Water Gap to release his homing pigeons before heading back to his house to track their return. As I watched those pigeons return to their wire coop, I always wondered why they came back.
When you publish a novel, especially one like Children of Paranoia that is centered around a big, unique idea (in Children of Paranoia’s case, a secret war that has been raging in the shadows of society for hundreds of years), people always ask you what inspired you. Readers want to know where you got this crazy idea. For Children of Paranoia, the first chapter, where the protagonist follows a woman he doesn’t know home from her job and strangles her in front of her house, really did hit me like a bolt of lightening as I was walking down the street. The idea of the secret war and the war’s rules (which have been a big part of the Children of Paranoia marketing campaign) shortly followed. As a writer, what I think is equally as interesting as the big inspiration for the books that I read, is what inspired the details.
When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a writer but I believed that I needed some life experience to write about first. So, I had a dream of becoming a carpenter (like Jesus or a pre-fame Harrison Ford) and, like Jesus or Harrison Ford, moving on to a different career once I absorbed what carpentry had to teach me. The summer after my freshman year of college, I got a job working for a builder, helping him to build a new house on top of an old foundation. It was grueling work, the hardest job I’ve ever had. I was always tired and my forearms were constantly sore from hammering. To the annoyance of my boss, I looked at everything that I learned in that job as some sort of grand metaphor. A good example is when I was taught to use the circular saw. My boss taught me that you always have to the width of the blade of the saw into account or you’ll cut the piece of wood too short. That’s because you lose the width of the saw blade whenever you saw a piece of wood. I always assumed this had some sort of grand metaphorical meaning (even if I’m not sure what it is). All of this made it into Children of Paranoia in one form or another.
I had lunch with a friend of mine today. He’s an attorney and a Buddhist and wanted to take me out to lunch because he had finished reading Children of Paranoia and had some questions. One of his questions was, “Are you Joe?” (Children of Paranoia’s protagonist). The answer I gave him was “sometimes” like when Joe is thinking about racing pigeons with his grandfather or working as a carpenter’s assistant “but not others.” The fact is that, as an author, you can never completely write yourself into your work because every character has to be a little bit of you or they will end up being totally flat characters. If you use up all of you on one character, there won’t be anything else to give to the other characters.
The goal I had when writing Children of Paranoia was to write a conceptual, thrilling novel which eschewed the idea of the self-acknowledging bad guy (did anybody in the old west actually where a black hat or were the all simply brown?) The secrecy of the war and the rules (Rule #1 - No killing innocent bystanders; Rule #2 - No killing anyone under the age of 18; etc.) grew out of this goal. The details, however, which come to all of us every single day, are what make the story come to life.
Trevor Shane on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Trevor-Shane/150972244938983
Children of Paranoia on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=151640338211999
Read an Excerpt: http://www.childrenofparanoia.com/excerpt.html
|10/11/2011 - Kristin @ Kritters Ramblings - http://www.krittersramblings.com||10/12/2011 - Lauren @ Ravishing Reads - http://ravishingreads.blogspot.com|
|10/13/2011 - Maggie @ My Utopia - http://myutopia36.blogspot.com/||10/14/2011 - Laurie @ Reader Girls - http://readergirls.blogspot.com|
|10/16/2011 - Christa @ Mental Foodie - http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com||10/17/2011 - Gwenyth Love @ Rants~N~Scribbles - http://rantsnscribbles.blogspot.com|
|10/18/2011 - Sinn @ Sinnful Books - http://sinnfulbooks.blogspot.com||10/19/2011 - Meg @ A Bookish Affair - http://abookishaffair.blogspot.com/|
|10/20/2011 - Louise @ Between the Covers - http://www.betweenthecoversblog.net/||10/21/2011 - Christie @ The Fiction Enthusiast - http://thefictionenthusiast.blogspot.com/|
|10/22/2011 - Heather @ Proud Book Nerd - http://proudbooknerd.com/||10/23/2011 - Julie @ Book Hooked - http://www.bookhookedblog.com|
|10/24/2011 - Stacy @ Girls in the Stacks - http://www.girlsinthestacks.com||10/25/2011 - Nicole @ All I Ever Read - http://books.nicoleabouttown.com|