February 27, 2015

B.C. Johnson: "The Bad Rescue of Devon Streeter" (ARC Review)

Title: The Bad Rescue of Devon Streeter [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Riven (1st of 3? books)
Author: B.C. Johnson [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Supernatural
Year: 2015
Age: 12+ (though the author states it's for age 11+, but I see it as more mature YA. On the other hand, as always, it depends on the reader...)
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Engulfing, epic story, full of action and feelings. Main characters you get to really care for. Great mythology.
Cons: Might get confusing because the event at the core of the story is not clearly addressed (see review). Also, the mix of genres (see labels) might not appeal to some readers.
WARNING! Gore. Underage sex (without protection...but heck, it's the end of the world) is alluded to, though not described.
Will appeal to: Those who love quirky stories with a strong vocabulary. Those who pine after friendship more than romance. Those who want to meet new kinds of monsters.

Blurb: Devon's a teenage medic. Bloom's a wannabe gunslinger. Just two best friends hanging at the end of the world. When Earth and another world smashed together, everything went sideways. Some people survived, some inhumans too, and they all made for bad neighbors. Fighting for scraps on the face of a changed world, Devon and Bloom have to face alien magic, inhuman monsters, and the inescapable fact that the Merge is going to change them. Deviate them into...something else. But when circumstance flings Devon and Bloom apart, can they find each other across the wild wastelands? Will they recognize each other when they do? (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. And the author being B.C. Johnson, you all know I've been campaigning for his book Deadgirl with all my might since 2012, when the first version came out, till a few weeks ago, when it hit the market for the second time. Why, actually, I still am. Also, B.C. Johnson and me have stayed in touch, if sporadically, for the whole time. I'm not what you would call a friend of his though, only a fan of his work. And an unbiased one :). This review is the love child of my penchant for quirky, uniquely worded books and B.C. Johnson's ability to deliver them. Here goes...
I'm going to get straight to the point: this is an indie book. Indie books are not evil. This book is not evil. 
Many prejudices surround those novels that don't take the traditional publishing route. Bad editing, amateurish writing, uninteresting stories. Of course, they don't need to be true every time. (Not to mention, the reverse may be true sometimes). To date, this is the first review Devon gets, but I suppose in a few days someone else will wrote theirs, and maybe point their fingers at editing issues. And issues there are indeed, but I've been assured they'll get fixed in time for publication (the book will be out on Mar. 31). As for content, the fact that Devon is being self-published only tells the sad tale of industry being often short-sighted and unwilling to give a chance to things that don't fit in a box. Anyway, if this is of any reassurance for you, B.C. Johnson is a traditionally published author (see Deadgirl) taking a different route with a book that apparently didn't fit the publishers' agenda...
Devon is many things. It has a sci-fi premise (though the original first chapter has been moved to the appendix, so I have to admit the reader may get confused about what really happened and how till much later in the book) and a strong magic twist. It's a post-apocalyptic fable that asperses the gore with a poetic flavour and peppers it with humour. It's a love story in the widest, purest sense between two friends of different sexes, neither of which is gay. It's a tale of powerful individuals and ordinary heroes. [...]

You have to buy the premise, of course (which is the case with The Hunger Games or lots of other books...). Apparently, the Earth and another world smashed together, for reasons unknown, and this created a series of portals (or Breaches) through which all kinds of cool-but-deadly monsters poured in. Not only, but people who gravitated around the Breaches were infected with magic, and most of them didn't make it. Those who did have been "deviated" - that is, turned into superpowered freaks, who subsequently can change the still normal people around them. Sounds a bit stereotypical? Trust me, it's not. All these people feel so real and human, for better or worse. And our main characters show us that "heroic" is more a quality of the heart than a product of magic or superpowers. (Which reminds me of the fabulous TV series Heroes, BTW). Also, there's a fun catch: magic can block technology - the newer and more sophisticated, the better. The rest of the world-building, you'll have to uncover for yourselves :).
B.C. Johnson makes you care for his characters. Even the 3rd-person POV can't prevent the reader to get attached to them. Also, Devon and Bloom share a wonderful bond that will cause your heart to melt. Maybe I'm biased, because I love books with male\female friendships, but I just adored them together. And I promise you will, too.
There are a couple of chapters told in different points of view, too - and the characters in question aren't any less fleshed out because of the short screen time they get. Their voices are distinct and interesting - especially Sirine's. (Speaking of which, watch out, you're in for a surprise toward the end).
As far as I can tell, the monsters are all fairly original in their conception - though an unfortunate incident occurred about those who B.C. Johnson calls the Shades. They sport something that you might have read about in The Girl from the Well already...moving tattoos. It's not a rip-off though. In the afterword, Johnson states he's been working on this novel for three years, so it's just bad timing on his part that his book is coming out after Rin Chupeco's :). Anyway, you'll find the moving tattoos have a unique purpose here.
Some of you may know that UF is not one of my favourite literary genres (maybe more in TV series), so it's a testament to this book that I was able to enjoy it so much. It's quirky and funny and poetic and gory rolled into one. It's got action, friendship, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it (I'm so very REM-inescent LOL), and even a little romance. Also, it comes out on Mar. 31, but it's in preorder already. You don't have any excuse for missing this one out ;)

For quotes from this book click here.
For more books that defy categories click here.
Liked this book? You might also be interested in E.S. Wesley: "The Outs"Edward Aubry: "Prelude to Mayhem".

6 comments:

  1. So, is this Bloom and Devon in a romantic relationship? I'm wary of that because we all know girls and guys can't remain "just friends". xD It will be refreshing indeed if they are really just friends because a lot of novels these days have their characters in love with each other and it makes me wonder if it's really a compulsory thing for a novel to work.
    I love the tv show, Heroes! It was a long time ago that I watched it. :D
    Azee @ UnderCover Critique

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    Replies
    1. No, Devon and Bloom apparently are the type of childhood friends that have an almost brother-and-sister relationship...or the kind of love that trascends romance, if you know what I mean. They save each other's ass in the novel, even when it comes at a terrible price. Also, Devon has feelings for another guy ;). If you are looking for a different book, I strongly encourage you to try this one!

      "Heroes" was great, and sometimes underrated. Now they're about to bring it on again as a reboot/sequel, and I hope it won't disappoint!

      Thank you for commenting!

      Delete
    2. I know what you mean. I'm glad to know that it's more to a brother-sisterly love.
      Oh wow, now that is different! I gotta admit, I never read books that involve LGBT relationship so this is going to be my first when I read it.

      I didn't know there's going to be a sequel to Heroes! I'm glad you told me because I'll be watching out for it now. :D
      Welcome. :)

      Delete
    3. Oops, no, I didn't mean that there's a LGBT theme in the book, not at all. Devon and Bloom (that is, Daniel Blumenthal) are best friends of the opposite sexes, and Devon has feelings for another guy. But the book is different nevertheless - go for it!

      Heroes Reborn link here :).

      Delete
  2. I did download Deadgirl because of your cheerleading efforts. I hope to get to it soon and then maybe move on to this. Sounds like a promising new series.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *faints - then recovers and goes to ask percentage from author*

      Thank you for validating my efforts!

      Delete

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