Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Review: Merger by Jacquelyn Wheeler

Purchased from Amazon for my Kindle. Hardcopy is on the way in the mail for future giveaway contest.

(The cover is awesome, don't you think?)

Here is the website for the Soterians and my review for book one: Rising Shadows and my interview with Jacquelyn Wheeler from December of 09.

She is also a frequent commenter on this blog, helped with my vegetarian challenge, suggested Joe's Apartment by Frank Zappa, and offered many great emails and articles to help me get started with writing. What more can I say about her besides that I feel fortunate enough to have come across her and her books and to help us readers realize that there are authors out there who don't think they are better than their readers and take the time to interact with their audience.

I have finished reading Merger. I had to make time to read this book through my crazy school week schedule(and all the things not merging(play on words) well right), my kids, taking college classes, etc. However, reading this book was such a nice break from reality. Yes, you should read this book AFTER you read the first book. Why? Well, let me start with a quick synopis taken from Amazon

Ashlyn Woods seems like an average college student: going to classes, riding her bike, and spending time with her boyfriend, Kai. But Ashlyn is far from average . . .she is a Soterian, a person who has developed special powers to fight evil. When a large car manufacturing plant in Minnesota is shut down because of a merger,putting an entire town out of work, Ashlyn struggles to balance school, her training, and her sometimes fragile relationship with Kai while fighting against the corruption that is threatening thousands of innocent people.But when she and the other Soterians discover that a new factory in Mexico holds the key to a dangerous secret, Ashlyn is reminded that nothing is as important as the ever-present threat of Deimos, the ultimate source of evil, who knows much more about Ashlyn and her loved ones than she had ever feared.

I will come right out and tell you that I have left all bias(most of it anyways) out of this review(since she was so cool to put my name in the acknowledgements of this book along with some bloggers who are way cooler than me). Once again I will also state that this is a 5 book series and as I posted when I reviewed the first book, knowing this information is key to reading these novels. As I read this book I continued to look for clues into people who might turn to the side of Deimos or perhaps already be working for Deimos. I continue to look for small storylines that might lead to a larger overall plot line in the series. When I read the first half of the book I could not help but compare it in my mind to the Twilight series. Not because of vampires(none are in this book, thank goodness), but because the romance or the love between Ashlyn and Kai. It was really brought out and was the focus of much of the story. I think that this will appeal to many readers who like Twilight(the millions and millions of you). It was realistic and not phony. The characters are in college which they really cannot be much younger or the plot would not make sense. A high school student can't just up and leave for Mexico.

What I loved best about this book was the Mexico scenes. I am a fan of action and suspense. These parts of the book is what I really connected with. I wanted more, more, more. However, I have to wait for the third book. I kept waiting for Deimos....well, I will not state my thought here because I don't want to ruin anything, but bring the destruction Deimos!!!!!!!

In the band of Soterians there is a character for everyone depending on your own perspective. They each have their strengths and each have their weaknesses. Depending on who you are and what you have gone through I think that each reader will form a bond with one of the characters. Obviously Ashlyn is the main character so she stand out, but the others all play important roles.

As with any series of any books (or movies for that matter) that you read, the second book always seem to be a bridge connecting the major ideas and conflicts to the shift of ideas and conflicts in the third book. This book does just that. Nothing huge is really solved, but we as readers are left with that sense that everything is getting ready to come to a head. You can make this case for Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Lightning Thief, Twilight, etc. The second book bridges the storyline(and typically if the series is more than three books the fourth book does the same to build things up for the climax)(actually it is an every other novel approach). This is not say that these books are bad because these "bridge" books are sometimes the best because you are left to wait to see what will happen and your mind creates all these scenarios and you cannot wait to find out what is going to happen next. So, Jacquelyn what is going to happen next and how long must we wait.

So get out there and read this book. Read the first one in the series before reading Merger. The romance/love will grab many of you(not my cup of coffee, but I loved the character development during this time as I was able to fully visualize this entire world and characters) and the conlficts at hand will grab the action people and no matter who you are you will be anxiously awaiting the third book to see what in the world is going to happen next. As we all know the world is not a happy perfect place.
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