Monday, February 22, 2016

REVIEW: Havelock by Jane D. Everly

**** (4) out of 5 stars

There were several things about this book that I really disliked, and yet I found myself continuing to read more and more!  The plot of this action thriller is quite good, rather unique, and has just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.  It is a classic spy story, with lots of intrigue and mystery.  Even with several things that I disliked about the book, the storyline and writing style was so good that it just pulled me along. 

There’s also a hint of sci-fi in the weapon utilized by the main bad guy and his numerous minions.  It is definitely something that you don’t see in the news today, but it is certainly believable enough that you can imagine something like it truly being invented.  Let alone that there are those out there, like Treadik, who would be crazy enough to use it.  He is a truly chilling antagonist, with a weapon so powerful that it goes beyond scary. 

I love that the main protagonist is a female, and butt-kicking female at that!  There are so few books with really strong women characters, especially not many who are as physically tough and resilient as Eliana Havelock.  The author also has an incredible, dry, understated sense of humor with which she infuses Eliana that I found entirely delightful.   

Most of the other characters are also fairly well developed for the varying amounts of attention that are paid to them.  I found many of the MI-6 crew intriguing; I was especially impressed with Rawlston and Waterstone, and really liked Quentin.  Even many minor characters with whom we did not spend much time came across as fairly well fleshed out.  Some of those who met an untimely end even engendered some sadness, which you wouldn’t expect from a one or two scene introduction. 

I did find many of the action scenes extremely unrealistic, especially the one where Eliana falls from a moving vehicle and basically walks away from the encounter.  All of the other injuries that she sustains throughout the course of the book, would seem to make nearly any activity very difficult, let alone some of the complex and strenuous things that she does. 

There was a lot of rather graphic violence that I found distasteful.  Not much of it was unwarranted for the plot of the story, but I still found it rather bothersome, some of it a little too descriptive.  This is definitely not a book for younger or squeamish readers.  And that doesn’t even touch on the often, shall we say, mature language; or the gratuitous sex scenes. 

The thing that I disliked the most was the switching in perspective from first-person present tense (from Eliana’s point of view) to third-person past tense with everyone else.  I was extremely annoying at first, although it did kind of grow on me a bit.  It made it easier to explain what the main character was thinking, as well as to see what was going on with everyone else.  Overall it was rather confusing and disconcerting to me as the reader, although I must say that the author did a superb job of switching between the two. 

I really enjoyed the ending in that it was fairly definitive, not a total cliff-hanger; but it left plenty of questions unanswered and lots of plot points with which to play.  I would guess there are is going to be at least one sequel, and possibly several more additions to the series.  Despite all of the things that I didn’t like about this book, I enjoyed it enough to read any future volumes, and would definitely recommend it as a very entertaining read. 

(I believe this story was first released in a serialized format, but I read the full book in it’s entirety.)  
I received a free Kindle electronic copy of this book from Curiosity Quills Press in exchange for an honest review.  

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