Flight of Shadows: A Novel Paperback – May 18 2010
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Flight of Shadows
“Flight of Shadows is as haunting as it is intense. Brouwer keeps the pages
turning in this deftly written sequel that engages the intellect and paints
a frightening picture of a near-future world where the boundaries of
morality are tested…and broken.”
—JEREMY ROBINSON, author of Antarktos Rising and Pulse
About the Author
SIGMUND BROUWER is the best-selling author of Broken Angel and more than fifteen other novels, with close to three million books in print. He promotes literacy by giving writing workshops in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan, has two young daughters, and they split their time between Nashville and Red Deer, Alberta.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel is a must read for the Sci-fi lover. Thematically, it reminded me of the motion picture 'Splice', as well as Frank Peretti's iconic novel Monster. When scientists take creation into their own hands, bad things can happen. There are some gruesome scenes in the book, although well written and certainly not graphic ' just enough detail to let you know that the bad guys (in this case, a rogue bounty hunter named Mason) are really BAD. I loved this book. It's a futuristic thriller that, in the end, presents a message of hope for the future of mankind.
Our heroine Caitlyn has escaped from a life of sheltered stigmatism, marked by the hump on her back, her childhood in a tightly controlled religious community has ended (read Broken Angel for more detail than I can provide.) She now finds herself struggling for survival in a world bent upon capturing her. Whether for government experiments, or personal vendetta's, Caitlyn finds herself on the run as she navigates a world still largely unfamiliar to her.
Brouwer has created a realistic near-future world with entirely plausible outcomes of many events and situations that we find in today's society. His writing is filled with action and suspense and manages to fill in first time readers on the back-story without lumping it all together in a single chunk of expository back story. Rather these facts are subtly, and skillfully woven throughout the novel itself, making for a smooth reading experience.
The only area that suffers somewhat from jumping in mid-story is that there is some character development missing. The new characters are very well drawn, as well as a surprisingly likeable government agent in pursuit of Caitlyn, but the existing characters aren't entirely fleshed out ' a risk that potential readers should be aware of taking with most sequels.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
FLIGHT OF SHADOWS is the sequel to Brouwer's 2008 release, BROKEN ANGEL, but he is such a gifted writer that there's never a moment when a reader new to the series feels lost in this follow-up story. His writing is such that the reader wants to read the first book rather than feel that she has to in order to figure out what's going on. Brouwer seamlessly picks up the story line from BROKEN ANGEL and continues it without missing a beat.
And it's a terrifying story line, one that is all too believable to anyone who recognizes the blessings, curses, and failures of technology. Brouwer creates a society in which the blessings of DNA experimentation turn into an apparent curse, and science's failure to overcome drought results in conflict that irreversibly changes the political landscape and structure of the U.S. This new society, only a few generations in the future, is inhabited by four classes of people: the Influentials, those who have virtually all of the wealth and power; the Industrials, whose work permits allow them to enter the newly created city-states to make a living; the Illegals, those who lack the necessary paperwork and are forced to live in abject poverty; and the Invisibles, those, like a young woman named Caitlyn Brown, who need to live under the radar, for varying reasons.
For Caitlyn, being an Invisible is essential to her survival. A product of DNA experimentation gone wrong, Caitlyn has escaped the Christian theocracy of Appalachia in search of the one man who can correct her lab-induced deformity. But close on her heels is a bounty hunter whose Influential backers know that her DNA is a priceless commodity, along with several other government and private parties. In her effort to remain invisible, she connects with a streetwise guy named Razor, whose boast of being "fast, sharp, and dangerous" proves to be grounded in reality and essential to Caitlyn's survival.
Meanwhile, Billy and Theo, two of Caitlyn's friends who also escaped from Appalachia, eagerly but cautiously anticipate a pre-arranged reunion with her, unaware that their every move is being tracked by government agents who know the value of Caitlyn's DNA and the plans Billy and Theo have to meet up with her.
All of that makes for a lot of lightning-fast chases through streets and subterranean passageways, penthouses, and shanty towns, in and around the city-state known as DC, with Caitlyn and friends doing whatever it takes to elude those who are relentlessly pursuing her. But FLIGHT OF SHADOWS is so much more than Hollywood-style entertainment --- though it certainly is that. It's also a look at an all-too-believable future fraught with terrifying possibilities: of weapons whose sole purpose is to create widespread fear and panic, of the high moral cost of genetic experimentation, of the repercussions of illegal immigration, and of the consequences of oppressive governmental control, with the end result being a bleak and hopeless dystopian society.
But Brouwer doesn't leave the reader in a bleak and hopeless state, nor does he wave a magic wand and make the world he created a better place. Instead, he lifts the gloomy darkness and sheds light on a new world far from the city-state of DC, one that begs to be fleshed out in a subsequent book --- hopefully with the intriguing character of Razor making a comeback.
I like to read a variety of books--mystery, suspense, children's, fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, young adult, mainstream and Christian. I chose this book because the description said Christian, young adult, speculative fiction. This is the only Sigmund Brouwer book I have read, but I did not like his style of writing in this novel. He takes whole paragraphs for description and background instead of interweaving and sprinkling it in naturally. Perhaps the sentence structure and group titles (Outsiders, Influentials, Enforcers, etc.) work for this age group, but it didn't work for me. While the action picked up about half-way through the book, really the only reason I made myself finish reading was hoping the story would get better and give a proper and thorough review.
Maybe if I had read Broken Angel (the prequel to Flight of Shadows) the story would have been easier to follow. As it was, I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters, their actions, and storylines. Caitlyn is the main character and the result of an experiment with genetic DNA codes. She tries to blend in and hide her deformity, trying to decide if it is a blessing or a curse. Jordan and Charmaine are the scientists who originally worked on the Genesis project, the one that performed the DNA experiments. Jordan tried to rescue Caitlyn from being a science experiment, but the two ended up separated and left Caitlyn on her own. Theo and Billy rescued Caitlyn from drowning in one of her attempts to escape a bounty hunter named Mason. Theo and Billy seem to be the only ones who accept Caitlyn unconditionally.
Now on the Outside, Caitlyn is running from Everett--someone who lives in a hotel where she cleaned rooms, from Mason the bounty hunter, Pierce Carson from the NI agency, the military, and Charmaine who wants to continue the DNA research and experiments now that she knows Caitlyn survived. Then there is Razor who seems to help Caitlyn, but you're never really sure whose side he is on.
I read the story from beginning to end, but was never drawn in. There seemed to be three to four different viewpoints going on, but I don't think the characters had enough of a distinct voice to be able to follow the transitions smoothly. When the same scene is written from different viewpoints, Brouwer spent too much time retelling descriptions and dialogue. There were some suggestive scenes that I did not expect and did not appreciate finding in what was supposed to be a Christian young adult book. In fact, the author describes everything Mason the bounty hunter did in such a disturbing and gruesome manner that I would not recommend this book to young adults and I would caution adults and Christians both. I do not plan on reading anything else by Sigmund Brouwer.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher to give an honest review.
However, the affluent in a world filled with poverty want more and she is the source. They go after her with only Razor the illusionist as her ally although she distrusts him. She hopes he can guide her to friends while the Feds and a twisted bounty hunter, all working for the rich, pursue her. As Caitlyn learns who she is, she is caught in a quandary not just between two men she cherishes and believes love her; but in terms of choosing life for her and extinction for humanity or death for her and life for mankind.
Flight of Shadows is an exciting cautionary tale that extrapolates from current trends to paint a dismal future with the heroine treated as a Typhoid Mary if she fails to do the bidding of the powerful. Caitlyn makes the tale work holding together the exhilarating hunt for her. Although the philosophical ethical issues could have been explored even deeper, readers will appreciate Caitlyn's dilemma; mindful of Ursula Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven, but perhaps Hell is more descriptive.
In his latest thriller Flight of Shadows, Sigmund Brouwer draws the reader into a hauntingly possible near-future of deteriorated freedoms, political instability, and a strong class system. Together, these things drive the desperation behind Caitlyn's struggle to keep hold of her freedom.
The short snippets of dialog -- often laced with a dry wittiness -- enhance the urgency of the story, allowing it to proceed without impediment. Each chapter, dedicated to following a particular character, is an exhibition of Brouwer's masterful use of plot complications to leave the reader on the edge of their seat. The cleverly-written epilogue dropped just enough morsels to have me pining for the next installment.
I thoroughly enjoyed my foray into Caitlyn's world. Before reading the 305 pages, I knew neither that this volume is cataloged as "Young Adult," nor that it has a prequel (Broken Angel, WaterBrook Press, May 2009). Regardless, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction. It stands alone and doesn't feel "young adult" since the subject matter (genetic science, immigration, etc.) is a bit more mature than one would expect from that genre. And don't worry, ladies -- Brouwer sprinkled in a bit of romance to send our hearts fluttering!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
That's not where I want to be when I read.
And so, I almost gave up on this book, something I very rarely do. Before I did however, I turned to the back of the book, another thing I rarely do. My son had enjoyed Sigmund Brouwer's books for kids; I wanted to give this book a fair review--but I didn't want to let it leave me among the sad and cynical.
Instead of finding the end of the story, though, I found a letter from the author telling why he wrote such a book. He explains how he drew from history to show a possible future based on current scientific and political events. In the book he is speculating on where society's current direction can lead us all if people don't examine their choices more carefully. He's reminding us to learn from history, so history won't repeat itself.
That intrigued me. I decided to finish the book.
If you enjoy books that examine society and make you think, you may want to read this book. Remember, however, that you'll have to wade through a lot of darkness and evil, horror and disturbing images in order to discover what the author is trying to say. It may not be a journey that you really want to take. Proceed with caution. Reader beware.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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