Monday, August 29, 2011

Group Review: Children of Paranoia

Children of Paranoia Summary: ALL WARS HAVE RULES

Rule Number One: No killing innocent bystanders.

Rule Number Two: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen.


Since the age of eighteen, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn't fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden in the shadows, governed by a rigid set of rules, and fought by two distinct sides-one good, one evil. The only unknown is which side is which. Soldiers in the War hide in plain sight, their deeds disguised as accidents or random acts of violence amidst an unsuspecting population ignorant of the brutality that is always inches away. Killing people is the only life Joseph has ever known, and he's one of the best at it. But when a job goes wrong and he's sent away to complete a punishingly dangerous assignment, Joseph meets a girl named MariaY, and for the first time in his life his single-minded, bloody purpose fades away. Before Maria, Joseph's only responsibility was dealing death to the anonymous targets fingered by his superiors. Now he must run from the people who have fought by his side to save what he loves most in this world. As Children of Paranoia reaches its heart-in-throat climax, Joseph will learn that only one rule remains immutable: the only thing more dangerous than fighting the leaving it.

Julie's Review: Two words...Adrenaline Rush. This books starts and never, ever lets up. It is such a roller coaster ride from the first page. It is unlike any other book I have read or at least one that I can recall right now.

Children of Paranoia is a high-voltage take on war, the effects of war on family and a person's psyche. You see, you don't get brought into the war, you are born into it. When you turn 16, you start your right of passage. Once you turn 18, you are full on in. Joseph is a foot soldier in this ancient war and he's good at it. He believes in the war & he believes that his side is good and the other is evil. He's been a soldier for 10 years but you sense early on that it's wearing on him. He's not sloppy but his head isn't in it. He needs a change of pace. After his latest job he meets up with his two friends for a bit of R&R. This is where things go terribly wrong, but it's only the beginning.

For me, Joseph was a likable character and I rooted for him during the entire novel. He believes in the cause, he believes that he is good and the opposition is evil because if that's not the case, then he's the bad guy. He never questioned it before now. Now he's questioning everything. As a reader, I always love characters who have a great arc & Joseph has that. He grows up, learns to think for himself and decide what he wants out of life. Of course, this happens because of love. He didn't plan it but it turns his world upside down.

Mr. Shane is a talented author, who made me feel that I was right beside Joseph as he went through his experiences. There were times during this novel when I got the chills. Fear is palpable while reading this book and at times I was terrified.

The ending had me crying and vying for more. I want the next installment of the!

There were a lot of thoughts being thrown about in my mind while I read this, but the ones that I kept coming back to are: How do we know who is right and wrong in war? Is anyone ever right? What happens when no one really knows what the reason are any more for the war? Is hate perpetuated through history via family? If so, is there ever any way out of it? How do we stop the cycle?

While Children of Paranoia is a thriller; it has a heart, it makes you stop and think about the world around us. It is a well executed novel.

It seems like I'm telling you lately telling you to go buy books, well this one is no different. If you love an roller coaster of a ride, then run and get this novel. It will leave you wanting more.

Final Take: 5/5

Jenn's Review: Unlike Julie, I had a hard time getting into this book from the first brutal murder in the opening pages. At first I thought maybe it was because it was from an assassin's point of view, but I've read other books with that point of view. Then it hit me. It's urban dystopian - this isn't life in the aftermath of a disaster, it's a disaster in the middle of everyday life. If you follow our blog, you are probably aware that I am not a fan of dystopian novels. The world can be an ugly enough place, I don't need to imagine it as more ugly.

Also, unlike Julie, Maria was the only character I liked. Although even Maria was difficult to comprehend. As much as I tried, I never could warm up to Joseph.  When he almost kills an innocent bystander, he nearly goes to pieces -he kills on a regular basis, but only because they're targets -he's that programmed. I know I should have felt empathy, but I just couldn't. Maybe it's because the first time we meet him he's killing a mother a wall's-space away from her children, but I was turned off towards him early on. I realize this is done for effect, that the shock factor is part of the dystopian theme, but that is what keeps me at bay with dystopian novels. Did Joseph reedeem himself by the end? Perhaps, or perhaps it was too little too late.

Julie and I discussed a bit about how the book relates to the psychological trauma of war, and I think it's a valid point. But I think there is a more primitive connection than that -it's gang violence and organized crime on a whole new level. The fact that it's that close to reality on that level is rather frightening. However, the involvement of law, or lack there of, is astounding. The fact that this has been going on for generations and has been covered up or inconclusively investigated was incredulous; it went beyond my ability to suspend my belief. I love a good conspiracy, but this was over the top for me.

I kept thinking, it had to be a sick twisted joke on the part of the masterminds of this war game. If that had been the case, perhaps I could have withstood it all, but as soon as it became apparent that there were two sides playing war games, I was completely turned off.  Though several theories are put in play by the characters, the true source of the dispute is never revealed.  Maybe Trevor Shane will venture into the actual origins of "The War" in the sequel.

Obviously, I couldn't get past the dystopian under currents to appreciate this novel as a thriller. However, if that mix of genres is appealing to you, you will love this book. Julie did.

Final Take: 3.0/5

Stayed tuned tomorrow for a giveaway of Children of Paranoia and an interview with the author Trevor Shane!!

This will be released on 9/8/2011 by Dutton Books.

Thanks to the publisher for both of our copies of the novel.



Farin August 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM  

I love that you guys had completely different reactions to the book! Can't wait to read your interview with Trevor!

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP