Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: In Liam's Wake by Ashlyn Forge

In Liam's Wake: The Makeshift Soldier (Toys and Soldiers, #1) Title: In Liam's Wake: The Makeshift Soldier by Ashlyn Forge
Series: Toys and Soldiers #1
Genre: M/M Romance, Fiction
Expected Publication: Dec. 15 2013
Length: 407 pages

Rating: 1 Stars

ARC Provided by Author

For eight years, Liam Baldwin has been trapped underground in ‘The Colony’. His best friend and fellow detainee, Riley Scott, is comatose. Only Riley knows how to get out, but as the fifth year of his slumber comes to a close, Liam’s hope of ever seeing home again has faded.

Now he's faced with two options: Continue in his quest to revive Riley despite amassing staggering debt as well as the wrath of bounty hunters and vengeful mutants, or leave the past behind--leave Riley behind--and give his life, his body, his mind, his loyalty over to the establishment by becoming a soldier for The Colony.

Two roads, one path, and no return.

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I received a draft copy of the book to review, so my review is based on the version of the book I read.

This is set in a fictional, alternate world that is separate but somehow connected to the "Outside" world that we are more familiar with. This fictional world has a top, surface society and an underground society. Most of the story is set in the underground side where a computer-like "system" rules. Liam's goal is to wait for Riley to wake up from a coma and escape to the "Outside" world to New York. However, when Riley wakes up, he doesn't remember Liam.

The best thing about this book is the length, which I think is a mistake and the story should be cut down more. I feel like the majority of the story is dialogue and that lessens the storytelling. There is a lot of disorienting time skips because it skips back and forth about six years each time. The same characters seem really different before and after six years. We don't get to see a gradual process of changes in beliefs and goals. There are also a lot of scenes set six years back. It seems like there are two plots lines and they don't converge.

I never like memory lost or memory warps in stories and this one has it in spades. The characters change so much by other people messing with their memories, not through character growth. Their initial confusion and anxiety over missing memories are made light of and skipped over fast. I'm still asking: who are these people?

Liam's and Riley's relationship doesn't seem permanent. Liam keeps saying he is not using others around him for his goal of going to the "Outside," but it really seems so. Riley is distrustful of Liam in several instances after witnessing his violence and drug use, but still stays with him. I don't think Liam's gambling habits with food, people, guns, etc. have changed. Basically, I didn't understand these characters.

The story moves along fast and it keeps me reading to find out whether Liam escaped. At the end of the book, Liam makes a decision and comes to terms with his limitations. However, the reader does not feel the same satisfaction and peace that Liam does for his decision. This keeps me from enjoying and accepting the ending.

The epilogue adds a twist to the whole story and gives away a clue to the reason of the attack on the Colony. I did not expect it to tie up the loose end because this is the first book in the series. The ideas and the dystopian feel of the story are wonderful, but the execution needs more work. This story definitely has potential, but I advise waiting for the official release of the book to read it.

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