“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 reality is set in motion, but even if the group prevails, they risk losing what it means to be human.”
I was provided this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I laugh a little now when I think back to when I agreed to review this book for the author because he went out of his way to make sure that I was in fact a fan of this genre. Who could blame him? My reviews don’t exactly reflect everything I like to read, but I assured him that yes…I was in fact weaned on sci-fi. Hence, my next reading adventure was born.
The “Shadowverse” is a parallel universe to the one that we know; it is a faint mirror or “shadow” of the one that we live in and it is connected to our universe through wormholes. Unfortunately, the portals to the Shadowverse tend to be a bit temperamental, often opening in the least convenient places and times. This is just one of the things our new superheroes have to contend with.
Speaking of superheroes, some people are born to be book geeks, like myself…others are born, or perhaps more precisely chosen to become oh so much more than they ever thought they would be. This is the case with Rose, Sam, Johnny, Dustin and Ryan; six friends who are chosen to become superheroes with unimaginable powers. Who soon learn that they must somehow defeat alien forces that are determined to take over the planet. Oh, and as if that’s not enough for this young group of new superheroes they also have to rescue their friend Rose who has been kidnapped and somehow track down a warrior who has gone missing as well. Gee, maybe in their down-time they can take up macramé, they don’t see to have enough to do.
So, now that you know the basic premise of the story without me spoiling anything; I’d like to take some time to talk about some of the things I really enjoyed while reading. The first being, the dialogue….it’s fun!
There are very few sci-fi novels I can think of that interject humor into dialogue effectively. Here however, Mr. Gallo does so successfully. It’s my guess though that he does this, because he can really relate to his characters. I suspect they may speak in a similar manner to their creator, and I think that’s great! The humor that is interjected within the exchanges between these friends really helped me connect to the characters as people. Can you imagine what it must be like to try to learn and master new super powers…in front of your friends? That’s a situation just rife with comical possibilities and Gallo certainly takes advantage of that.
So, who are my favorite characters? I’d have to say probably the brothers, Dustin and Sam. These two egomaniacs are definitely full of themselves but not in an off-putting way; they don’t take themselves too seriously. I often found myself laughing at them honestly, they were so…..relatable. But then I found all of the character relatable, these two just stick out as my favorites.
As for the pace of this story, I enjoyed that as well. It’s fast paced and the author jumps right into it from the beginning. There’s no time wasted.
Now, having said that I am also going to point out that there is a LOT of information thrown at the reader in a very short time, and at times this did cause me to disconnect from the story. I attribute this disconnect to a lack of backstory. Sometimes authors forget just how integral backstory can be to a reader; it has the power to move the reader from feeling as though they are nothing more than a fly on the wall watching the action….to feeling as though they are participating in the action. This is something I would like to have seen more of in this story. So, room for improvement here.
Still, this book is a great debut effort from this young author. I found it enjoyable, fast-paced, and just unique enough to not be lumped into all of the other sci-fi books I’ve read, it stood out. It does have a Christian undertone to it, so if you pick that up as well…it’s not by mistake. I didn’t find this over-done though. I didn’t feel walloped over the head with it; there is merely a subtle presence that I think makes sense within this story.
This story belongs in one other genre as well, YA (Young Adult). Due to the young ages of the main characters I really feel this author is missing out by not marketing his book to a wider audience. There are puh-lenty of sparkly vampires, witches, werewolves etcetera in the YA market….but not enough good sci-fi books.
So “da-da-da-daaaaaaa”… that’s so much better with trumpets, “sigh”.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely!
If you are a fan of sci-fi (I’m throwing that statement in for the author), I highly recommend you check this one out. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I have no doubt that this writer will only get better and better with time and can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.