'Tis time for me to catch up on some quick indy book reviews I owe friends on Facebook!
First up is Kenton Kilgore's Lost Dogs. Set in lower Southern Maryland, Lost Dogs is written from the perspective of several house pets who've been abandoned in the wake of an apocalypse that has decimated the human population of the earth. It may take a minute or two for you, the reader, to grok the unusual point of view, but once you do, prepare to be completely sucked in.
Let's be frank: I'm an inveterate cat lover whose feelings regarding our canine friends are basically indifferent. And yet - and yet - even I found this novel absorbing. Because the main characters are dogs and are consequently limited in their comprehension, the central mystery - "What happened to the people?" - takes on a keener edge. I really had trouble putting this book down to attend to mundane responsibilities because all the unanswered questions were, in a good way, driving me nuts!
Final Verdict: Recommended for any dog lover -- or any lover of mysteries.
Secondly, we have Daniella Bova's The Notice. The Notice is the second book in Daniella's Storms of Transformation series and is a direct follow up to Tears Of Paradox, which my brother ably reviewed on our old site here.
What does Daniella get very right? The people. Her main characters are extraordinarily well-crafted and sympathetic. I was especially impressed with how she tackled Jason's temptations to resort to violence and his struggles to be faithful and obedient. I happen to be very stiff-necked myself, so all of that felt very real to me. I connected less with Michelle, meanwhile, but I consider that more the fault of my own admittedly weak Marian devotion than a consequence of the writing itself.
And the plot? Well, I have a dilemma here. On the one hand, the many flashbacks Daniella folds into her narrative do help us to understand her characters on a deeper level. On the other hand, I can also see why the occasional "talky-ness" and the constant telescoping would make the main thread hard to follow. This book may indeed take more patience than some readers are willing to invest -- though I personally found it quite rewarding.
Like its predecessor, The Notice is a near-future dystopia. The parameters of that dystopia may not work for those readers who are not already committed Christians and political conservatives, as it is heavily influenced by our worst nightmares regarding recent challenges to our religious liberty. But if you are not a Christian conservative and yet sincerely wish to understand what we fear, this is a very good place to start.
Final Verdict: Recommended for the Christian and/or open-minded.