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review 2015-07-22 00:20
Three (Legends of the Duskwalker, #1) by Jay Posey
Three - Jay Posey

"The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.
But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantel of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise..."


 - ❖ -- ❖ -- ❖ -


I'm trying not to get a temper tantrum over certain events. But frakk, man. Even though I knew where certain aspects of the story were headed, certain things sucked all of my emotional investment and desire to continue with the series. Why, Jay Posey?! Why?! 


But, despite my disappointment over certain events, the truth is that this book is really, really freaking good. Three is truly one helluva post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel. It's filled with suspense, well-drawn characters, great world-building, and some great fight sequences.


Both the characters and the futuristic post-apocalyptic world are extremely vivid and well thought-out. I read that the author is a narrative writer for video games, and that background definitely shows.


I loved the way the story unfolded: with bits of information about the world and characters, motivations and background stories, revealing themselves slowly as the story progressed. I read a review in which the reviewer made note of the lack of (or not enough) exposition, but I actually preferred that. The way information was revealed kept me intrigued, engaged, and invested. Frankly, I thought it added to the suspense. But I can understand wanting to know more about the world. By the end, the reader still does not know what caused the collapse of civilization. But it's clear that it will be revealed in later books.


As to the narrative pacing, if I had to describe it in two words, it would be meticulous and unrelenting. 


I loved the characters -- particularly the character Three. He is my idea of a perfect hero: tough, noble, and not afraid to be vulnerable. And he made mistakes which humanized him quite a bit. 


The final 10% or so felt rushed, especially after so much time taken throughout the story to detail all events. 


An epilogue was included which gives some finality to Book 1 so that if you do not wish to continue with the series, this would be a good stopping point.


So, will I continue with the series? Yes, darn it all, I will because I'm a glutton for punishment. And because I loved the storytelling, the writing, and the world too much to not continue.


Final rating: 4.5 stars


Source: rachelbookharlot.booklikes.com
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url 2014-04-30 12:14
My second blog interview with Jay Posey
Three - Jay Posey
Morningside Fall - Jay Posey
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review 2014-04-08 03:26
Three (Book 1 of the Dustwalkers Cycle)
Three - Jay Posey

Once again, a great find found from the blog of another BookLiker - BookStooge's review intrigued me enough to buy this and yes - he was right on the money.  Three is a deftly written story set in a dystopian future with nicely drawn characters and felt 'just right'.  There is a romantic element, but it felt natural and just enough to flesh out the characters.  There is a sort of hero's journey, but told with just the right amount of pacing that it never feels forced or trope-ish.  The society is broken, but not to the point where all hope is gone.  There are no zombies!  There are the Weir, however, who appear to be cyber enhanced humans (or former humans?).  This brings me to what I found was the most interesting part of this novel.


We don't know how society fell apart.  We don't know the causes.  We don't know exactly what the Weir are.  We're not told a lot about this world and situation, and yet, somehow, that doesn't matter because this is about the characters - about Three, a lone gunman.  About Wren, an endearing kid with some pretty marvelous, but uncontrolled, powers.  About Cass, Wren's mom, who is struggling to save her child, and to redeem herself.


Bits of everyone's backstory is revealed throughout the book, but not everything. And I loved it.


I was so impressed with this book and author, that I have the second in the cycle on preorder. I also went to the publisher's website, Angry Robots, bookmarked it, and bought another excellent book from them (Nexus).  

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review 2014-04-03 10:48
Morningside Fall (Legends of the Duskwalker, #2) by Jay Posey
Morningside Fall - Jay Posey

This is the follow-up to the book Three, which was by far one of my best reads of last year, and this one is taking it's spot as my favourite read for this year.

In Three, the child Wren and his drug addicted dying mother Cass are on the run, and find themselves under the wing of the titular Three, a lone gunman who guides them to (relative) safety in Morningside Falls - but at terrible cost.

In Morningside Fall, Wren is now the titular governor of the city of Morningside but not everyone is happy about it. Between a city council that expected him to be malleable and play the figurehead, his having allowed the rabble that had been living outside the city walls to come inside to safety, and his uncanny ability to awaken some of the weir, there's a lot of unhappy people around and some of them have the ability to make life very difficult for Wren and his beloved mother Cass.


I was a little apprehensive that without Three around, and with the antagonist Asher apparently defeated and Cass and Wren starting out in a relatively comfortable position, I wouldn't enjoy this book as much, but I was wrong. Wren is in a completely untenable position, a literal child who despite wisdom well beyond his years in a lot of ways, often doesn't understand the politics and motives of those around him as they try to manipulate him. So he is on the run again, this time with a whole team, trying to get back to one of the few places he ever felt truly happy. And everyone knows you can't go home again, so I don't need to tell you how that turns out.


There's all the things I liked from the first book - the sparse but incredibly evocative, almost visceral descriptions, the loveable but deeply flawed, even tragic characters. The way everyone is beaten down, exhausted by their ordeals - nobody here is running for 20 kilometres but still up and ready to party right after. People who are hurt, are hurt, they even die, they feel pain.

There's still no explanation how the world got the way it is, and I like it better for that. We don't need to know, the characters don't know either, and can't answer. Nobody, not even the weir or the awakened know what the weir really are, so how can we the reader? I can see that not sitting well with some readers, but for me, it's as it should be. I'm sure if Wren ever figures it out, we'll find out right along with him.

But mostly, it's just so flat out well-written, I could turn around and read both books start to finish again just to savour them.

The new characters do a fine job standing in for Three, but it's a testament to him that it takes a half dozen of them to achieve what he did alone, and in the end, they still can't quite. The repeat characters remain true to themselves as written in the first book (a pet peeve of mine when they don't!).


Cass is still an interesting character - despite her enormous abilities, she is mostly passive, and when she stands up for herself (or finally goes into action in a fight) everyone is surprised, including Cass herself--but not Wren. As for Wren, while a little fey and full of surprises and as yet untapped power, he could have easily been a miniature Marty Stu, but he's not. Posey manages to write a child who despite being possibly the saviour of the world has a child's reactions to things: He believes what adults tell him, he understands when adults are just being polite to him--but not why, he trusts, he has overwhelming faith in his mother and that "doing the right thing" and being good will fix everything. You can feel his frustration with his small physical size, they way he's upset over something as small as tripping over and grazing his chin. And he's afraid--still enough a child to want to sleep in his mamma's room after the things that go bump in the night turn out to be carrying a knife.


Once again, the ending has everyone in fairly dire circumstances, and there are characters we're probably not going to see again, albeit not as gut-wrenchingly as the first book. And the set-up for the next book is clear.

One final comment: I still can't help see these books as typical westerns. I compared Three to the classic plot elements of the western that Will Wright wrote about. If Three was Shane, the epitome of the classic western plot, this is the transitional western: High Noon. Wren's special status and abilities sets him apart, but keep him alienated and rejected by the society he so dearly wants to help. (I could also argue, it follows some of the narrative structure of the vengeance western plot, but I suspect that one is going to be even clearer in book 3. I predict Stagecoach--let's see if I'm right. And I can't wait.)


ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2014-03-12 20:39
Three - Jay Posey

Oh but this was good. Really, really good. Un-putdownably so. I read it over two days whilst off work sick and it got me through that horrible "before the drugs kick in" section of recovery in a blur of awesome.


Three is a brilliantly dark and dangerous Post Apocalyptic novel set in a broken world. Posey gives absolutely nothing away, which is the part that you're either going to love or hate. As a reader, I absolutely love it when authors throw you in at the deep end. I'm not one for long, detailed info-dumps and am a life-long fan of the organic approach to world-building. Which made Three perfect for me. Those of you who like your background work covered first, may struggle here. You should definitely still give it a go though, follow Three, Cass & Wren, stay close to them and try to stay safe. Get ready for a lot of running.


Books that carry a heavy element of 'running away' can often get samey and predictable. Three doesn't fall into that trap. Posey knows just when to break things up with the introduction of fresh menace, and when to dangle a juicy tidbit of world knowledge in front of your nose. And when you feel almost physically tired from trying to keep up with Three & Co. he brings you into Greenstone and lets you rest up with some kind and gentle souls. Albeit briefly.


I don't even know how to describe what Posey does in a way that will do the book justice. It's as if...your journey through the narrative is perfectly, absolutely controlled at all times, and yet when you're reading, it feels like the opposite is true. You feel lost in the narrative initially, but you never are, and it's not until you reach the end that you see. Three gets its hooks into you immediately, but once you're on board a hundred tiny new hooks work their way in, and when you finish it...each of those little holes stings and reminds you of an aspect that you want to know more about.  I am somehow, literally, itching for the next in the series.


I try to not go anywhere near spoilers in reviews. So in the very vaguest of terms I'll say that the relationship between Cass and Wren was one of my favourite aspects of the book. As Mum to a young boy myself, Posey had my eyes leaking at one point. Couple that with the tech element to the novel, and you have two diverse, hugely effective aspects that instantly catapulted this into my top five PA novels of all time. If I had to make any kind of complaint, it would be that I wanted a deeper layer of detail on the tech front. Almost at code level. But then, I'm an extremely greedy reader.


And on that note (code, not greed) Three reminded me a lot of Barnes' Artificial Evil. They both share that Mad Max feel with code running centrally and visibly through the narrative. I'd hazard the recommendation that if you've enjoyed one, you'll enjoy the other.


Lastly, grey-area heroes, is there ever anything more interesting? Killers, addicts, liars, runaways. All capable of noble beauty in their own way. I adore this book.

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