The Shadowverse, John-Clement Gallo
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Tags: Action, Super Heroes, YA/NA
Length: 547 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
Regarded as “captivating” and “one-of-a-kind,” The Shadowverse is a Science-Fiction Superhero thriller with hints of the Young Adult genre. It is a story of destiny—that no matter who you are, where you are, or what your past is like, you can always achieve greatness.
Johnny Sparks longs for a greater purpose. After an encounter with a mysterious stranger, he and his friends are imbued with incredible powers—at last giving his life meaning.
But this dream soon disintegrates once one of the friends is taken by an alien warlord named Titan. In a rescue effort, the remaining group is sent across the galaxy in search of the only possible aid—an ancient, immortal warrior missing for centuries.
To succeed, the team must join forces to reclaim their friend and stop a sinister scheme devised against humanity by Titan and his empire. The conflict for the soul of the universe is set in motion, but even if the group prevails, they risk losing what it means to be human.
“We Can Be Heroes Just For One Day…”
I must state that, to-date, this is the most difficult sci-fi book review I have ever had to write. The author, for one so young (only seventeen years of age), is one hell of a wordsmith. However, their lack of life experience does show through within the body of the work. So to be fair to the author, I have to try to approach this review from two angles; Firstly, as a young/new adult sci-fi reader and, secondly, as a more mature age sci-fi reader, which is what I am.
As an older teen or new/young adult sci-fi reader, especially if I was into comic books or superhero movies, I would find this story to be pretty cool. The characters are well developed, and the world building is very professionally done. The plot, whilst simplistic and uncomplicated, is filled with action and is revealed at a good pace, especially considering the book is well over five hundred pages long. The author seems to have mastered the technique of tension/pressure building and release, which in my opinion is great, as it has been my experience that a considerable number of authors in this genre seem only to know how to build tension and do not give the reader the time to de-compress during the read. Many times, to do so, I have had to just stop reading. With this author I did not have to do so.
I would easily give the book five stars based on younger me.
As a more mature age sci-fi reader, I think somewhat differently. To begin with, I found the word imagery contained within the first two pages to be feel forced and obviously designed to try to impress. Fortunately, that settled down rather quickly and the writing became more natural and the story flowed much more realistically. At 70% through the book we have the heroes visiting the US President at the Whitehouse in an attempt to “save the World.” Personally, I think that the Secretary General of the United Nations would have been the more appropriate person to have initially called upon. This was somewhat rectified later, but, more or less as an afterthought. There is a considerable amount of “facepalming” throughout the read and, towards the latter part of the story, much weeping and gnashing of teeth. IMO, the principle that best applies is, some is okay, less is better, more is much, much worse.
Overall, I found the plot to be somewhat parochial. I found the main characters’ behaviours/reactions to be simplistic and sometimes predictable. But, given that this is the Author’s first work, and also given their very early stage of development in life, that was perfectly understandable. This was nothing if not an entertaining read, and I would lean toward giving the book three stars as an older reader.
So, averaging it out between youthful and older reader, I give Shadowverse four stars overall. I’m looking forward to more of John-Clement Gallo because he shows immense promise and the scifi genre needs young writers like him.
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