Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Every Kingdom Divided by Stephen Kozeniewski

2035 A.D. After the 2nd American Civil War

Jack Pasternak, a laid-back California doctor, receives a garbled distress call from his fiancee in Maryland before her transmissions stop altogether.  Unfortunately for Jack, citizens of the Blue States are no longer allowed to cross Red America.

He is faced with an impossible choice:  ignore his lover's peril or risk his own life and sanity by venturing into the dark heart of The Red States.  When the armies of the Mexican Reconquista come marching into Los Angeles, Jack's hand is forced and he heads east in an old-fashioned gas guzzling car.  (taken from the back of the book)

First, I want it established that I'm a huge fan of Kozeniewski's work.  Wherever you lead, Kozy, I shall follow!

What I love most about Kozy's work is that they're unique.  This isn't something you've read before.  It's not the same story told over and over.  See what I did there?  Yeah...none of his books will give you that feeling.  It's something fresh and new every time.  This book is no exception.

I honestly thought that this would be the first of Kozy's books that I didn't enjoy.  I'm not into the whole military, political, blah blah blech thing.  There's a lot of that going on in here.  The bulk of the story is made up of political figures and military personnel.  Toss in the fact that most of the states are separated because of religious beliefs, and it's guaranteed to be a book I don't want to read.  BUT!  Considering that this was an author that I've followed since the beginning and he's never let me down, I figured I had to give it a shot.

I've heard a lot of whining from authors out there regarding reviews.  'Waaah!  Why would they offer to review it and give me a bad review when it's not their genre?'  Blah.  Let me set you people straight.  This book is not my genre.  Had it been written by nearly anyone else, I wouldn't have even attempted it.  Reading goes so much further than preferred genre.  So, to you authors who are whining about getting poor reviews and blaming it on the fact that it's not the reviewer's genre...GET OVER IT!  Read on to find out why...

First, we have amazing characters.  They come from all walks of life and they're all personal and believable.  Once I can get some intimate information about a character, I feel the connection.  Here we have main characters that immediately make us feel connected to them.  Sometimes it's words, sometimes nuances, sometimes the fact that they spill their secrets to us, but it's there with every character.  Each one has been created uniquely and perfectly.  Some you'll love, some you'll hate, some you'll want to kick in the nads.  You get the entire range of emotion that you would from people in real life.

Most of the story is told in sort of a back and forth motion.  We have Jack who is caught in a precarious position and he's being forced to tell the story of how he arrived there.  It's a classic case of 'you can't make this up.'  Of course, it IS made up, but his story is so messed up that you can't help but believe it.  I actually really loved that the story was told in this manner.  First, we get all the back story along the way and it's told from Frank's point of view.  The thing is, Jack is a darn funny guy!  Not to mention the fact that his story is fascinating.  Then, we have all of the current stuff going on with the situation he's stuck in.  So, just as we're really getting into Jack's story, we get pulled out for current action.  Now, you'd think this would make the book feel disjointed, but it really doesn't.  It's more like having a ton of cliffhangers shoved together and you have to hurry and get through them to figure out what's going to happen next as well as what has happened.  You don't get the disjointed and angry feeling at all.  In fact, while you're reading the past you're anxious to get back to current events and vice versa.  It's actually quite brilliant.

My issue is the ending of the story.  Once Jack tells his tale up to the current position, the story takes off and is one fluid motion.  We have main characters that are split up and we go back and forth between them, but there's no more time exchange.  I still really enjoyed this and found the same cliffhanger feeling as earlier in the book.  However, I really hated the ending.  It is what it is.  It's what happened.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with it and I'm sure most of you will love it.  I hated it.  Why?  It's too....well it's a little too perfect in my opinion.  I don't want to put in any spoilers, so it's difficult to really explain this part.  There is nothing wrong with the ending other than that I didn't like it.  I think it should have ended differently, but I'm not sure how.  I don't have any suggestions to make it better and I think it's the best possible ending.  I just don't like it.  See what I did there?  All that rambling?  That's what happens when you try to explain the unexplainable.  I just didn't like it!

This book was so not my genre, but I didn't mind a bit.  I still really enjoyed the ride.  The military, religious and political aspects weren't overpowering and dull.  If you're putting this book to the side because it's not your genre, I strongly suggest you rethink your position.  It's full of action, wit and delicious intrigue.  Most of the book you're on the edge of your seat just trying to get to what's happening next.  Thanks to Kozy's storytelling talent, you don't even take the time to try to figure out what's going to happen just want to get there.  And everything you learn on the way to getting there only  makes you want to know more.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful review. And like you, I am a huge fan. (Braineater Jones topping my reading list last year!)


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