Sunday, January 1, 2017

REVIEW of "Beat" by Jared Garrett

*****(5) out of 5 stars!

This dystopian futuristic sci-fi tale about 15-year-old Nik Granjer starts out strong on action and seldom lets up.  Without offering any spoilers, let me just say that one of the opening scenes was way too sad for me!  The story itself involves what another reviewer termed - very appropriately - an “Apocalypse of fitbits.”  Nik must battle not only the disease they call “the Bug,” but also the society’s “Prime Administrator” leader and his goons.  You are left wondering throughout most of the narrative what is really going on.  And there is a huge twist near the end that you can only very minimally see coming. 

This book is full of excellent world-building, done by the author using minimal information and yet somehow still getting the message across very clearly.  I found this method very intriguing and quite powerful.  He does use a lot of alternate spelling, apparently as a device to enhance the futuristic setting.  However, I just found this distracting and annoying, and thought it was used rather inconsistently. 

About the only other real negative for me was that Nik seemed to survive, unscathed, way too many encounters with the administration, including being shot at many times by multiple enforcement officers.  (To the extent that I started to wonder if they had been trained by Imperial Stormtroopers.)   

The middle of the novel does tend to drag a little bit as well, when Nik is generally getting chased around, escaping, returning to be captured again, etc; especially during sequences where he is alone and we get to hear his internal processing of events, a lot of which he seems to overthink. 

Mostly, however, the story was a very good one that kept me intrigued as to what was going to happen next.  And even during the slow portions, the author’s writing style kept me reading just for the great way in which the words were strung together. 

This was definitely not a cliff-hanger ending, with just enough closure to make a good stand-alone book, but still enough unresolved material to suggest there will be at least one future installment.

I received a copy of this title free from the author for a contest on Facebook,
and have willingly provided an honest review.  

Reviewer's note: I read this book in December of 2015 (on the beach in Uruguay!), 
and hadn't realized that I never posted a review of it, so I am doing so now (in January of 2017).  Seeing as how the sequel, "Push," is due out in February, the timing doesn't seem all that off.  
At least that's what I'm going to tell myself!  With apologies to the author for the delay!

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