Title: Children of Paranoia (Children of Paranoia, #1)
Author: Trevor Shanex
Genre: Fiction - Dystopian
FTC Disclosure: Received a free copy as part of the Crazy Book Tour, in exchange for an unbiased review.
all wars have rules
rule #1: no killing innocent bystanders
rule #2: no killing anyone under the age of eighteen
break the rules, become the target
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 by 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 amidst 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 Maria, and for the first time in his life his singleminded, 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 most in this 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.
Christopher, you need to know who you are.
- I knew I had to sign up for this blog tour when I read this on Crazy Book Tours, "CHILDREN OF PARANOIA is set in a dystopian landscape reminiscent of I am Number Four and The Hunger Games, with a moral sensibility that will entice fans of Showtime’s Dexter. Trevor Shane effortlessly transitions between nail-biting action and heartfelt emotion, sure to delight genre fans and literary fiction lovers alike." I really liked the Hunger Games, I like dystopia, I like the concept of Dexter (I watched the 1st episode only and it was a little slow for me... but people had told me start from Season 2 instead? Anyway I digress.) so it is no surprise that this book sounds like my type of book!
- Because of the Hunger Games connection, I was expecting a YA Dystopian for some reasons even though no where did the description said it was YA (in fact, it specifically said "since the age of eighteen, Joseph...") So I was pleasantly surprised that it was not YA. Now, there is nothing wrong with YA, but at my age (close to mid 30's) I'd become a bit picky when it came to YA since sometimes I feel I am too old for the "lessons learned". Not that I don't see the value in those lessons, but I'd learned them way too long ago already :) I was also a bit afraid that this would be character-driven and slower paced than the usual suspense/thriller because it said "A Novel" after the book title (as opposed to A Thriller). But I needed not worried, this book had BOTH great characters and action!
- I am also not sure if this book really is dystopian. As I was reading it, I think the storyline could be happening RIGHT NOW. In fact, if you think more about it, it IS happening to a lessen degree - people hating (or maybe killing) each other for reasons no more than "we are the good guys, they are the bad guys". I guess there is no time limit when it comes to Good Vs. Evil.
- The story was written as a diary but it wasn't really in a traditional diary format (i.e, not "Sunday, 1/2/11... Tuesday 3/2/11"). It was written in both 1st person and 2nd person "you" format, and this is not a style we typically see. Some paragraphs and chapters were quite long (especially compared to the usual thrillers when each chapter is typically quite short), but the story did not feel like it dragged on. In other books, long paragraphs sometimes annoyed me (just difficult to read) but this book didn't bother me.
- I enjoyed the character development - I felt like I got to know Joseph and Maria and Joseph's friends quite well. They felt real. I particularly liked reading how Joseph taught the class to deliver maximum impact, and I enjoyed reading the details of his plan for each job.
- It was not an ending I expected but it was fitting, and I can't wait to read Book 2 to find out where the story leads us.
- There are a few other points I want to discuss but they include spoilers. So spoilers start now!
- [SPOILERS] - Despite how much I enjoyed the book, I thought there were a couple of points that seemed a little unrealistic. 1st - no gun training? I would have thought it would be essential for an assassin. Secondly, what Joesph's mother did seemed a bit out of character? We'd only been hearing how sweet and loving his mother was, so I couldn't quite understand her action in betraying her son... it perhaps could have been elaborated more. But I supposed since this was written as Joseph's diary, we couldn't get the mother's thought process. Also, it made me wonder about the significance of the names - Joseph, Maria and Christopher? Or maybe I am reading too much into it. [/SPOILER]
- I loved the title of the book - very intriguing and yet very fitting to the story. While the cover did not give away much, the yellow definitely made it stand out.
- Even though there is another 2.5 months left in 2011, I am fairly certain this will become one of my top 10 of the year. I loved that it had both good characters and plot. I was engrossed in the story to see where it'd go. I also got a bit teary eyed towards to end because I wish things did not turn out they way they did, but yet could understand why it happened the way it did. I read this just a couple of weeks ago, so I could still remember the story fairly well. It would be interesting to test its staying power when the next one comes out next fall (tentatively titled Children of the Underground.) Kudos to the author as this is his first novel!
- Knowing what I know now, Children of Paranoia is more of a love story in disguise. Doesn't matter if it's dystopian or YA or not.
- Go read at least an excerpt on the author's website and see if you get hooked! http://www.childrenofparanoia.com/excerpt.html
"Okay, I know you guys are nervous. You're nervous for two reasons. First, you're nervous because you don't know why you're here. Second, you've got an idea abut why you're here and you're nervous that you might be right." (p23)
I guess the when is the question that's usually asked because when somebody punches you in the nose your first instinct isn't to ask why, it's to feel pain and anger and to want to punch back. Eventually, you'll ask yourself why. The why always comes. It's unavoidable. (p28)
When you've got passion, you don't need reason. It's only when you get old, like us, that you start asking questions. The older you get, the more your passion drains out of you and the more you look for a reason behind everything. (p55)
"Either they're evil or we are. And I know for damn sure that I'm not evil." (p153)
4.5 Stars. I can't wait to read Book 2 of this trilogy!
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