Review: Afterimage

  • It was OK. I liked it, but it had significant flaws - character development and world building.

AFTERIMAGE

The Enertia Trials Book 1

by J. Kowallis

My feelings were torn about this book, and I have contemplated for a few weeks now what rating properly reflects this story. I am a HUGE fan of dystopian novels, and was kind of pumped to read a new, not overly hyped dystopian book. Let me preface this review by quoting the back of the book to get an idea of what I expected.

Reggie’s dreams….

Aren’t dreams.

Visions of the future flood her mind like shards of broken puzzles. Caged in her cell, every morning begins the same. She’s drugged, tortured, and images are torn from her memory by Public One.

Until the morning everything changes. The vision is different. The future’s never been about her, and now she knows they’re coming for her.

Nomads.

How will she convince them to keep her alive when Nate, their leader, doesn’t like or even trust her? To him, she’s a science experiment. A machine.

When Public One will do anything to keep her, Reggie must make a decision: remain a slave to her past, or risk her future to venture into a world more terrifying than she’s ever known.

Now, reading this, you except a story of Reggie and a strange world outside of what she knows. Except I feel like the last two paragraphs of the synopsis didn’t really happen….

Storyline

I actually enjoyed the overall story line, however there were many flaws. I feel gypped out of the details. There were times where I felt Kowallis was going to go into more detail, but I just ended up getting an overview. I remember being like ‘YES, we are going to talk about what Public One is and what they are doing,” or “Finally, I get to hear about how the world became this way”. However, every time it was just a little snippet that I felt was put in that spot just to quickly have a lead in to what was going to happen next – almost like an “Oh, by the way, this is why this is or this is what happened”.

Few details about the story I didn’t like due to lack of imagination were:

1) The use of laser beam fences

2) Halogram (I won’t give away what part)

3) Military cloaking equipment.

World Building

I wish there were more details on how the world became this way and what the cause of it was. I wanted more than just ‘there was a war, and now there is this evil Public side and normal citizen Nomads side.’ The explanation of some things came off unbelievable. For example, the fact that the Public was SOOO technologically advanced, and yet the Nomads did not have really any kind of technology and were basically like camping with nothing.

POVs

The point of views this book was written in (a total of 9: Nate, Liv, Reggie, London, Sophia, Hugh, Isaac, Greyson, and Liam) was heavily lacking. For a book that is only 388 pages, it is impossible to have so many point of views and fully develop the characters for your reader to fall in love with. On top of that, some of the chapters were labeled as a certain character, but yet it wasn’t even written in their voice; it was more a general narrator voice than telling a story through their eyes. This also made it hard to really understand each character. Because of this, I felt events like the Nate/Liv romance was kind of random.

It would have been really cool to only have like 3 or 4 POVs (Nate, Reggie, London, and maybe Isaac), and almost have it written where each chapter kind of spun off crossing paths with each other. EX: Chapter 2 should have been Isaac’s story; spinning off knowing of the Precog and trying to escape. Then chapter three could have cut to Nate and at the end of the chapter could have run into Issac. I feel like this setup could have given some more detailed about the world and the situation up front. It would have been cool to have some POVs running into characters who you knew who they were, but they didn’t know who each other were yet. Kind of like the Lunar Chronicles books were done – I feel this story would have drastically improved with a spin like this.

Favorite Character: London. I feel like he was developed, not really through his story, but through the eyes of others. I LOVED him.

Least Favorite Character: Nate. At first, with him and Liam in the field, I kind of liked him, but then I found it was really only Liam I liked. I really ended up hating him towards the end, mostly because I couldn’t stand his ‘lone wolf’ characteristics which made him come off as an asshole.

I think I could have really liked Reggie, especially if her chapters were more about how she was feeling and taking in everything around her, instead of always just being her dreams over and over again.

All in all, I did find myself having to finish the book and even at some times dreaming about it. So, it must have made an impression on me, even with its flaws. If you are a fan of dystopian and don’t mind the lack of world building, I would say go ahead and read it. Or if you are a fan of science fiction and things involving precogs, I would then, too, go ahead and read it. As bad as it might have come across as me not liking this book, I will for sure be reading the next two books to find out where Reggie and Nate are heading next.

 

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About Sarah Kloth

Sarah Kloth is a graduate of University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, accomplishing a Bachelors of Arts in Multimedia Digital Arts. Kloth currently works at a local advertising agency as a web developer / digital marketing director. She is the dystopian editor at Shelf Unbound Magazine with her column "Dystopian Fangirl". She currently resided in Milwaukee with her husband, cat and chocolate lab. Sarah drinks over 6 cups of tea a day and loves to get "arts and crafty" while jamming out to MMMbop.