This was another “by chance” read by an author previously unknown to me.
It was an unusual story, which I appreciated. The subtitle of the book being “a story from America’s divorce”, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I can tell you it turned out to be nothing at all like I thought it would be.
The basic premise is that a wounded and now discharged former U.S. Marine and his computer programmer neighbor meet up and build a drone together, a miniaturized version of a military plane. Initially they use this drone to assist a militia group that is fighting a battle with a south-of-the-border cartel.
During the course of the story, California, Washington and half of Oregon secede from the U.S., and Chinese forces try to move in to “help” and protect the newly seceded states, the s-o-t-b cartels are fighting each other so as to gain territory control up the west coast, Texas withdraws from the U.S. to once again restore the Republic of Texas, federal interests play both sides against each other, and more. It is a pretty wild ride and I was drawn in pretty quickly.
Overall, I will state that I strongly liked the story. There was enough character development that I felt I had a good “feel” of the characters and it made the story all the more believable. The twists and turns of the story itself were enough to keep me coming back for more. Action, adventure, intrigue – all present and accounted for.
As for my personal “gripes” about the book? Not many. Primarily, the writer needed to engage an editor. I was kinda irked at first by this – the wrong word here or there, weird punctuation… but honestly once I got hooked into the story (which didn’t take long), I was less bothered by it. Nonetheless, it kinda had the feel of a rough draft. Don’t get me wrong, those kind of mistakes are EASY to miss when you’ve read something you’ve written, especially by the 10th pass through. But if it were ME, and I was going to self publish a book that was going to be in print, I’d go the extra step of having an outside editor proof the thing before it went to the printer. I realize this is nit-picking, but this is simply my honest assessment. That being said, kudos to the author for writing and self publishing! We need more, many more, authors putting their work out on their own without the “direction” (read: censorship) of the major league publishing houses.
My only other gripe is that the writer got a little too “in the weeds” with details – both in the flight action scenes but also (especially) in the technical aspects of the building of the drone(s). Now, if you’re a “plane guy” and know the terminology used, or a pilot that has had to execute maneuvers, maybe those parts will read easier to you. In my case I found myself re-reading several passages just trying to make sense of it in my own head with NO experience whatsoever with planes or flying. Honestly I felt a little dumb at times, as the technical material was over my head.
Lastly, the ending was a little anticlimactic, but it left a great set-up for a sequel.
All in all, I very much enjoyed the book. There was a lot of hidden philosophy tucked in there that made you think, but also just interesting characters and a lot of excitement. I will absolutely read the sequel when/if it drops, and I will certainly keep an eye on the author for more work in the future. His style is really different, or I should say his perspective is very different from the mainstream while at the same time he doesn’t veer off into the sheer foaming-at-the-mouth anti- government crap that so many dystopian/post-apoc writers do. Which also reminds me, I really appreciated the authors “reality” of the USA in this book. So many these days are so off the rails and unbelievable, this was a great change of pace. Yes, in the story the country is most definitely falling apart, but it’s still in tact enough to be somewhat realistic. Kinda like real life…
Anyhow, without getting spoilers involved, that’s all I’ve got to say on the subject.
Bottom line, I enjoyed the book a great deal in spite of its minor flaws and I’m looking forward to the sequel. Would recommend! Well done Mr. Maynard!
Thanks for stopping by!
One thought on “Book Review: Flying On the Wings of Change by James Maynard”
Hot dang!, Thats the sort of Critque I have been looking for.
For the record, you are spot on that I did not send this out to an editor for ‘fixes’ before hitting the publish key, and that is a mistake I won’t be making twice. I did send it out to proof readers, but not pro readers andl, again, a mistake that won’t be made twice.
As it stands now, and I have made mention of this on my blog; I am re-writing the first installment for reading clarity, and to fix that ending that is more like a dropped ball (imo) AND to make things ‘work’ for the sequel better. I have been struggling with the sequel for two years now because the first write (read, reality) didn’t pan out as I expected.
And this time around, I have been contacting other people for editing services. I want to make this writing ‘thing’ more of my life, less a hobby.
Thanks to you for your unabashed approach to a critique: It inspired me to do even better.
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