Jan 6, 2013

Review: Harken by Kaleb Nation

Title: Harken
Author: Kaleb Nation
Publishing Date: January 13, 2013
Pages/Format: 510, eBook ARC (Note: Actual eBook is around 380 pages)

After surviving an assassination attempt, teenager Michael Asher discovers that he is at the center of a worldwide conspiracy reaching higher than any earthly power. A supernatural organization desperately wants him dead. He doesn't know why. Everyone who might have the answers has already been killed.

Tumbling into a web of international secrets, Michael is forced to fight back and dig up the truth. He begins to question how much of the world is truly as people are led to believe it is. Are there things that humanity is not being told? Who is the puppet master? And how far into the maze can he venture before he is lost forever?

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: Interesting

This book wasn't bad, but it wasn't great, either. It bordered on the line of both, teetering more on the side of greatness. The first chapter pulled me in and had me asking questions: who is the narrator, what is he doing, and what on earth is going on? These questions brought me through the next few chapters, which I liked. Then I hit a roadblock and started noticing what I didn't like.

Kaleb pays a lot of attention to detail, describing just about everything, from how this looks to how that character moves. While detail isn't bad, I do think that they're can be too much of it, and I believe Harken suffered from it, as well as Kaleb's writing. It just made me feel like I had to push through page after page, and that slowed down the pace of the book, as well as how I read it. I'd also notice some repeat phrases and words, like several sentences starting with "so." And when a character was described for a paragraph, almost every sentence started "he" or "his." I just would have liked some more variation. It wasn't unreadable, but there was definitely some room for improvement. (A little note: I'm not a big fan of eBooks, so my opinion of the book may be altered just slightly because of the format I read it on. But not by much.)

However, about halfway or so through, things started picking up. I'm not sure what it was--maybe more people besides just Michael, the main character, being in most of the scenes--but I was quickly more interested in the book. The pace picked up, and so did my engrossment. Several questions in the story got answered, and several new characters were introduced. This happened, then that happened, and then there were things happening all over the place. The concept was unique and interesting--and the cover makes sense now! It was similar to a thriller, mixed in with an interesting conspiracy theory, and I liked it. 

I also liked all the characters, except for the antagonists. (Nasty, evil creatures!) Michael, the protagonist, is just your average picture-taking, almost-seventeen-year-old--except that he can read people by looking into their eyes, and a bunch of things called Guardians want him dead, and there's something else but I don't want to tell you because then that would ruin the surprise. But I liked Michael--there wasn't really anything to dislike about him; he was a good guy, and a good character. He has two protectors, or Chosens--Thad and Callista. Thad's the tough guy that keeps things together (I really liked him) and Callista is the girl who's built several walls up around her. I know I say this word a lot, but I liked them--they weren't characters that got on my nerves or anything. Bad Guy Numero Uno was Wyck--which I believes rhymes with ick--who is just vial and has no heart and hates humans so, so much. For reasons I will not share, he wants Michael. And there's Anon, who's just as he sounds: anonymous. His goal is to stay hidden and help Michael survive, because Michael is a certain someone meant to save a certain something. (Read the book to find out what those somes are!) Each character had a role in Harken, and they all played it well.

I wish I could say that I was head-over-heels in love with this book, but I just wasn't. The writing and the large section of the book that lost my interest hindered that. However, once I really got into it, it was really good. Sure, it still had its problems, but I just kept reading and reading. The last half of the book was full of twists and turns and tons of action, and it really made the book better, although I'm still left with some questions. Oh, and the ending? *glares at Kaleb Nation* What was that? Seriously? When is book two available? Because I need it. Right now.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Not quite.
Would I reread it? Probably not.
Would I purchase it? I wouldn't mind owning a physical copy.
Would I recommend it? Yes.

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