Thursday, April 23, 2015

KIDNAP: PART ONE OF Guy Erma & The Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia : A Review

Book Title: KIDNAP: Book 1 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia
Category:  YA Fiction, 100 pages
Genre: Science-fiction and Fantasy
Publisher: Dickson House
Release date: May 17, 2015
Content Rating: PG

          I don’t want to go… Do I have to go?
          13-year-old Prince Teodor of Freyne knows his duty to the memory of his father and his kingdom. Always, he must help those less fortunate than himself. Yet a frightening nightmare fills him with foreboding, but still he must do - into the Dome.
          13-year-old Guy Erma lives in the shadow of the Dome, he has no father and no mother and his future is uncertain, he must start earning a living when he turns 14. He knows not where he will live or even how he will eat, and his only dream is to enter the military academy - at the heart of the Dome.
          Two boys as different as any two boys might be. One act of cruelty will throw their lives together, but who dare they trust?
          A YA Sci-Fi thriller usually resorts to certain stereotypes that the writers (and unfortunately some readers) think are necessary for the book to be a bestseller. These stereotypes make the book and the content (however different the story might be) seem repetitive. Thankfully, Kidnap breaks not one, but all of those ‘set rules’.
          From page one to the appendix, (yes; the appendix, which is a glossary for the Sci-Fi terms used in the book) the book was racy, vivid and written very creatively. The first few pages of the book are the ‘make or break’ for the reader because of the new concepts and unfamiliar terms that are introduced aplenty. But once you manage to use the appendix and get familiar with the terms, the book moves at a pleasantly fast pace.
          The story is a parallel comparison between two thirteen year old boys, one, a prince of a kingdom and two, a reluctant fashion model bastard child who wants to join the most elite military force of the kingdom. For a story that happened ‘long, long ago on a planet far, far away’, the technology described is amazing. There are droids – mini cameras that can be ‘pinched’ and there are domes and cathedrals that are antique on the outside and sleek on the inside.
          But in the eons that separate the story and the present, one thing hasn’t changed – the underlying politics that interferes on every level from military selections to dinner menu and dance rehearsals. The prince (heir to the empire) is kidnapped and the suspects range from the Queen’s political opponent and the Emperor who wants to marry her to produce his ‘heir’. The plot doesn’t have too many holes but a lot of unanswered questions (that is not to be mentioned in detail because this book is just the first one of the series).
          Overall, the language (at least the part that doesn’t have the story – specific, specially coined words) is impeccable, crisp and clear. The story is new and unique in some contexts, but falters in the lack of certain explanations that would have smoothed out the obvious crevices. The book made me want to read the second part as soon as the first part was over, because, after all, this was just a chronicle of all events that happened in one day! Who wouldn’t want to read what happened in day two? Talk about cliff-hangers, this author has them mastered.
About the Author

          The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.
          In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.
          In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.


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