Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review: Ixeos by Jennings Wright (BLOG TOUR STOP)

Title: Ixeos (Ixeos Trilogy #1)
Author: Jennings Wright

Pages: 358
Published: February 13, 2013

Publisher: Createspace
Book Source: From the author
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars


Ixeos opens up to the McClellands (Neahle, Clay, and Marty) enjoying a hot day in the North Carolina sun by taking a dip at the beach.

After deciding to venture into some new territory, the trio makes their way up and over a large sand dune to see what's on the other side. They are surprised to find a perfectly round pond in the middle of the dunes, complete with egrets, herons, & mallard ducks lazing in the water. Right away, they detect that things seem off and out of place.

Within just a few moments, the trio notices that the ducks have disappeared. Thinking it odd that they didn't see them fly or swim away, they begin searching for them. They decide to look inside a large drainage pipe they find, and where it leads them is an entirely new world.


- - -

When reviewing a book, I always like to begin with what I wasn't diggin' in the book. So, here goes:

* The first thing that surprised me was the character's ages. When first reading, I got the impression that they were young—13 or 14? 15 tops. A little bit further in, we learn that Marty is 18, Neahle is 18, and Clay is 19, soon to be 20. I found it quite hard to grasp that a group of late-teens would go on an “adventure” that involved crawling through a drainage pipe looking for a flock of ducks. It just seemed too juvenile a thing for them to do. That disoriented me straight off the bat. It took me a bit to readjust my perception of the characters.

* My other issue with the book was that it did seem to lag a bit through the middle. It started off fantastic—exciting and fast paced, but it began to lull. After the McClellands find out their purpose for being on this planet, they begin getting into the groove of how things work there. They go on missions, plan how to save slaves and rebels, but it becomes repetitive. They go from point A to point B, chat with some people in the same position as them, wash, rinse, repeat. I was getting a little impatient for the action or climax to happen.

My issues pretty much end there.

Now, I must backtrack a little! I will try not to get very spoilery, but I can't make any promises. There may be a bit of it.

After our three main characters exit that drain pipe, they learn they are on a planet called “Ixeos” - it is an alternate Earth. On this version of Earth it is the year 2035, and an alien race dubbed “the Firsts” have taken over the planet and enslaved what remains of humanity. They learn that they did not arrive on Ixeos by accident. They were brought there. A man named Landon is responsible, and once you are on Ixeos, you never get to leave. The trio learns that they are there for a purpose: to help take down the Firsts.

The plot is unique and kind of scary. I have to admit, alien life is something that's fascinated and scared me since I was a child. I love stories about aliens, and they seem so few. This book, the way the Firsts were described, chilled me to the bone. I think the author did a perfect job of making you understand just how horrible these creatures are. She keeps the encounters with them few and far between, keeping the suspense up and making them all the more eerie and enigmatic.
“Firsts are like that. They come at you, and you realize they don't have souls. There's a body and a brain, but there's no heart, no love, no compassion. Just pure thought.”
I was also impressed with the world-building. From the sand dunes in North Carolina, to the perfectly-round duck pond, to the tunnels, to the new dystopian planet that is Earth, but not Earth. It's all painted in a wonderfully descriptive manner. The writing transported me directly into the midst of the story—I felt as if I was right there next to the characters throughout their adventures and missions.

As for the characters themselves? We really get to see the McClellands learn and grow through the story. They go from denial and anger, to acceptance and determination. They learn that they each have a role to play in the battle against the Firsts, and each of them embraces their role completely. Neahle, Clay, and Marty—I really enjoyed these three, as well as the people they meet and grow close to in Ixeos.

As with any good book, this one has some unexpected and surprising twists and revelations! You discover things that'll leave you reeling. These things also help lay the groundwork for the future books of this trilogy. I am very impressed with Wright's ability to keep readers guessing, as well as her ability to interweave many different elements into the plot.

All in all, Ixeos was really good! There were a few hurdles to get past, but aside from that it was an engrossing novel and a fantastic opener for the trilogy. The characters are wonderful and engaging, as well as realistic and easy to relate to. I was impressed not only with the authors storytelling and world-building, but also with the book's underlying message of hope.
“[...] they're all the same when you get down to it. Good versus evil, freedom versus tyranny, love versus hate.”

“It's not our world, but it is. They have the same books, the same history. And if they have people like us, then it must be true that there's some good still in this world [...] that's got to be worth fighting for.”
This book is more than just a creepy sci-fi adventure. It has a message, and I applaud the author for that. The book was wrapped up quite nicely, but with enough strings left untied to leave you anticipating the next installment. I definitely plan to continue this series, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of Young Adult, Science Fiction, and/or Dystopian novels!

~ 3 OF 5 STARS ~


This review is part of the Ixeos blog tour
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

*Click here to view the rest of the tour schedule!*