There are a lot of books out there I don't take the time to review. To start with, I won't leave a public review that's less than three stars. If I see promise in the story and writing, but there are things that would make the review painful to write and/or read, I contact the author direct and hope I don't upset them too much.
There are some books though that have something that makes me write a review and post it straight away.
I read Bone Rider by J. Fally a few weeks ago. I knew immediately I was going to write a review and that I'd be giving it five stars, but I wanted to think about it first. Then I wanted to read the book again. Why would I need to read a book twice to write a review? In this case, the answer is simple - movies.
Bone Rider is a classic tale of alien-crash-landing-on-earth-and-inhabiting-human-body. The US army reacts predictably--anything you don't understand, destroy--although there's a surprising turn in that plot arc.
In fact, there are surprising turns in the main plot as well as all the sub-plots. It's a serious story, with the alien take-over of the human written in a frighteningly believable way. But then again, it's not that serious.
There's Riley Cooper, on the run from his Russian assassin boyfriend, Misha. There's the alien, System Six, an AI armour system who has to learn about an entirely new world and culture. There's Misha, who is searching for Riley, and his Mob-boss father, who wants Misha to marry and take over the company. And, of course, there's the army, fumbling around in the dark and making decisions based on only what they would do--showing they have no idea how to imagine someone making different decisions.
It sounds like a farce, doesn't it? In some ways it is. There's a lot of humour in the story. There are a lot of movies as well, all of them very cleverly woven into the story so you read a section and then... hang on, was that Wolverine? The Die Hard series is an obvious pick. There's a Die Hard movie marathon at the beginning that went a long way to shaping who System Six would become--he names himself McClane. Alien is another one that's pretty obvious, and I loved McClane's reaction to that one. I counted about seven movies ranging from those being named to obscure references you'd only pick up if you'd seen the movie and remembered it. I'm sure there are others, but I'm not a huge movie watcher so missed them. I had the best time during my second reading, looking for the movie references. The movies ranged from old westerns to classic SF to romantic comedies. I'd love to hear from people who've also read the book to see how many movies they found.
The book wasn't all humour though. It provided a very serious reflection of the lack of compassion and acceptance in our society. It showed a very strong picture of rigid thinking and bombasity. This inflexible thinking was shown from a number of different perspectives--from family, from society, from authority--and each one was done believably and, sometimes, heart-wrenchingly.
And, of course, there was true love. Even that had a number of twists. From the beginning you know it's going to be a romance so you're looking for the two people. One early character looks like a possibility (I'll be he gets his own story at some stage), then what you think is a couple, perhaps isn't. I'll stop there because I don't want to give spoilers, but you should read it to see how it all develops.
Definitely a five star read. J. Fally is also added to my list of authors to read.
E E Montgomery
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