I generally do not write reviews of other author???s works unless they rise to the level of exceptional or are so horrible that I feel compelled to save a potential reader/buyer both time and money. In the case of this story, I feel that it hits somewhere in the middle, with needle leaning north of mediocre.
First off, the storyline is well thought out, plotted and executed. The premise is both current and gripping. The story-telling is good and aside from very short chapters (I suspect an editor???s influence in that), the story and plotlines weave and progress smoothly. Technically, the story is well done, and the prose is very good and visual. I do feel that the author needs to research (and get into the regional minds) his characters better.
I was taught as a young writer that an author has an obligation to both entertain and inform the reader. Storytelling is an entertainment medium and within the story, information (hopefully something new or enlightening) is imparted to the reader/listener. However, when an author uses the storytelling medium to impart or promote an agenda, or relates his/her personal bias, then the medium of storytelling is perverted into a tool for propaganda and as such is more likely to offend than entertain. Storytelling is also a deliberate art. The author either deliberately seeks to entertain or he seeks to deliberately offend. It seems to me that this author has sought to squeeze both into this debut novel.
Simply from reading this story, it is obvious that the author holds the following ???personal??? views:
1. Christianity in particular and religion in general, is mere myth, and all sincerely faithful people are narrow-minded and myopic; and science is the only answer to man???s quest for truth.
2. Israel is evil, and the Palestinian cause is just. I won???t begin to discuss the author???s apparent view of America or ???The American Dream.???
3. All conservatives are evil, with evil motives in all they do.
Now, I merely point this out because I feel that the mark of a really good author is the ability to tell a good story from any POV without allowing his/her ???personal??? views to interfere with the story, let alone be evident. This story could have been extremely good had the author kept his personal views in his pocket and simply related the story from the character???s POV and not force his characters to tell the story from his. (If I were one of his characters, I???d sue him for wrongful intellectual imprisonment.) As it is, if you hold ANY religious values as dear, you WILL be sorely offended as you progress through this story. Likewise, if you are Jewish or an Israeli, you too will find reason to be offended here as the author has failed to relate a good story that is free from the author???s personal bias.
On the other hand, if you are purely secular, and agree with current pop-political analysis, you should find this story just fine.
I cannot speak to reviewers that seem able to "predict" an author's plot, or divine the paths that an author may take his stories, except to say that there are but a limited number of actual story plots that have ever been created-- or ever will be created. I suppose, in that context, all story is "predictable." However, the joy of reading a good story is not whether the plot has been done before, but rather, is the ride the author gives you worth the price of admission-- and in the case of Taylor Anderson's, DESTROYERMEN, series, I believe it well worth the price. Enough said about that.
As a writer myself, I can appreciate the labor that goes into constructing a good story. That labor has rightly been characterized as "labor pains" because, as in the case of childbirth, writing is a solitary thing that only the author can do. Taylor Anderson has "given birth" to not just one solitary story, he has birthed an entire universe, and populated it with near-to-real, and very lovable characters that drive the story along to the very last page. That is a very impressive feat! I won't delve into book 9 of the series (no spoilers from me), except to say to those following along, "Sound General Quarters. All hands to actions stations!"
The Destroyermen series opens on the first stages of WWII, in the Pacific. Our main characters serve aboard the USS Walker (DD-163), an aging WWI destroyer, and the USS Mahan (DD-102), her sister ship. Both ships are engaged in a running (losing) battle with a massive Japanese battleship, when they are swept into a strange storm that somehow transports them to an alternate Earth. The men and women of Walker and Mahan quickly find themselves in another kind of running battle, that for their survival in a strangely familiar but deadly new world.
The Destroyermen series is a wonderful alternate history/fantasy that captures the spirit of American WWII soldiers and sailors. Here there are no cynical criticisms of American foreign policy; no, "We should have done that, instead of this;" but rather an accurate salute to the "CAN DO" attitude that characterized the fighting men and women of the Greatest Generation. Politics are strictly confined to those the characters find themselves in. Taylor Anderson admits to having the author's itch, "What if?" and uses that itch to infect his readers with all the wonders of speculation we all had as children. "What if dinosaurs evolved into intelligent beings, along with other species?" "What if humanity wasn't the dominant species on earth?"
If you are a fan of good alternate history, are a patriotic American, or just love a good fantasy read, you will love the entire series. Adults and kids alike should find it an imaginative and thrilling ride. One slight caution however: Although it isn't any worse than what you may be exposed to on TV, there is a very limited amount of profanity in these stories (they are sailors after all). Children below say, 12, may need to wait on these, but everyone else should dive right in and begin swimming! Just watch out for the "Flashies!"
I would love to see this series made into a movie series. It's that damned good!
Way to go Mr. Anderson.
PS: Mr. Anderson, wonderful take on the old, "Cherry Bomb in the Toilet" prank! I almost choked on my beer laughing so hard when I read that. Silva truly must have been "Denis the Menace's" older brother.
I???m not a huge monster fan. I don???t dig too many Vampire, Werewolf, or Frankenstein stories; and cannot stand (nor do I get) Zombies. But this story is worth the read/listen. I listened to this while working my night schedule in my service business and the atmosphere of the story had me glancing occasionally at the moon and wondering, ???What if?????? That is the mark of a good author.
The author has written a story populated by rich and believable characters, set in a period of history that continues to fascinate us and allows the story to remain relatively timeless, regardless of when it???s read.
The writing is tight with a solid plot twist that is very well executed at just the right time in the story. Well done!
Ever been nostalgic for another period in time? Ever had fond memories of a long lost lover or a love long lost? Ever wanted to visit another place in time, or re-live, or do-over a piece of time? After you read this book you may not be so anxious to hop in the old time machine and experience that ???blast from the past.??? Memories are best viewed in hindsight, not foresight.
Stephen King is, as nearly every connoisseur and consumer of horror fiction knows, a master story weaver. With ???11-22-63: A Novel,??? King has weaved yet another haunting masterpiece; but not JUST another masterpiece. This may end up being THE definitive classic masterpiece in a long line of King???s classics.
In this tale, I found myself literally transported back in time to a critical period in American history, and not only read/listened to what it was like, I felt and tasted it. I was born in 1962 and as such, never consciously ???experienced??? those days; however when this story ended, I was feeling a strong sense that I had. It was one of the most sublime literary experiences I???ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
You will NOT regret downloading this book. DO NOT download the abridged version either. You will kick yourself if you do. I am going to pick up the hardback version for my collection.
~L.Fleming, Tyler Texas
If you love ghost stories in the gothic/vitorian vein, then this is a tale well worth reading and listening to. I believe that this "chilling" tale will become a classic. The narration is spot on and the writing is tight and well developed.
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