Hey everyone, it’s Sarah!
Today, our blog is going to feature an indie teen author, John Clement-Gallo, who has begun working on his Shadowverse series. He reached out to us for an honest review in exchange for his ebook. This new voice has potential for growth in the YA world and it will be interesting to see how his writing evolves.
When a powerful alien, Titan, decides to take over earth and save humanity from itself, Johnny and several of his friends are tapped to stop him. Using their new supernatural powers, the group trains with an ancient supernatural warrior, Sonovan. Titan has killed Sonovan’s wife and, using mind control, has taken Rose from the group. Sonovan is ready to settle old scores with his arch nemesis and Johnny and his friends are ready to get their friend back. In order to accomplish this, they may need a little bit of help from the president and a few jaunts into outer space.
The framework and plot are interesting. There is never a time when I am anti-superpowers, especially when it involves telekinesis, ice, and speed, which this novel offers in spades. The supernatural framework of this book weaves a concept similar to Star Wars’ The Force with X-men-like supe teens and it works. This novel evokes many of the solid plot elements that are traditionally found in this genre of books. It stays fast-paced and fast moving, which will lend this novel well to readers of this sci-fi genre.
I really enjoyed Johnny and his friends/the Shadowforce characters. I found myself wanting to spend more time with them as the narrative fluctuated between Titan’s perspective and theirs. I found the group to be fun and funny, though some of the off-color jokes could be tweaked. I grew to like the good guys and was rooting for them to save the day.
I found the fighting/karate/taekwondo scenes to be well crafted. They were easy to imagine and felt well integrated.
What could be tweaked:
Throughout the novel, there were varying points of too much detail and not enough. However, this was less of an issue as the novel progressed. At times, each character was specifically described with height numbers or exact locations, this could be better reworked with generalizations, or using the technique of showing the scene through the character’s eyes. It might be helpful to make use of first person instead of third person, or limited third person. I think this would help in areas without enough detail that need to be shown instead of told.
The energy of this novel and the action within it worked well. The emotional aspect could be tweaked. At one point, the group goes in and kills a whole room of soldiers, but never stops to question the ethics of this action or think about the fact that they have just killed a room full of people. This was also apparent at the conclusion, when characters are reflecting back on their journey.
My last wish/hope for this book is that the female characters are given more room to be strong. Many times they are the damsels that must be saved or need to defer to their male counterpoints for confirmation of their great ideas. Rose and Jane are technically strong, since they have superpowers, they just need to be allowed to win certain battles. Each male character saves the day at some point, without deferring to his friends, the female characters need that same opportunity. I think by strengthening this aspect the solid group of friends would knock this aspect out of the park.
All novels have room to be tweaked and this novel was no different. However, I am impressed with the framework of the plot and development of the core group of characters. I am interested to see the growth of this YA author’s voice. There was a real spark to the novel .