Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blog Tour Book Review & Guest Post: Identity Break by Stifyn Emrys

 photo 17315273_zpsd5b3f068.jpgAuthor: Stifyn Emrys
Series: Identity Break #1
Publisher: Createspace
Release Date: February 1st 2013
My Rating: 4 cups
Source: review copy offered by author in exchange for an honest review
Blurb (from Goodreads):

How far would you go to find yourself?

Imagine everything you thought you knew about yourself turned out to be a lie, and you didn’t know who was telling the truth. Imagine you possessed a secret so dangerous that, if it were exposed, it would reshape the entire world. What would you do if that secret were your very identity?

In almost every way, Palo Vista seems like a typical California city, with office buildings, schools, and homes sprawled out across suburbia, filled with families making a life for themselves at the dawn of the new millennium.

But two seniors at Mt. MacMurray High are about to find out that nothing is as it seems. Jason Nix is a star athlete and honors student who can’t seem to remember anything about his childhood. Elyse Van Auten is a budding artist from a broken home whose father left her mother two years ago - or so she’s been led to believe.

Like most teens entering adulthood, Elyse and Jason just want to find out who they really are. For them, however, the stakes go far beyond their own personal quest. Join them on a journey of self-discovery that becomes a desperate fight for survival against enemies determined to conceal the truth … and find out what happens when that fight becomes personal.

The first installment of a new science fiction/adventure series for young adult, adult and new adult readers. Full of action, twists and surprises.

Breathtaking, fast, on edge. That's what comes to my mind right now when I think about this book. I think it really is amazing when a book can be like that. 

I loved the idea of this book, not knowing what the truth really is, always wondering if something is real or not. That idea is both thrilling and terrifying, but it's such a great combination within Identity Break. Then there's the fact that I could never really grasp what was going to happen next. From the first page of the book, I couldn't quite manage to say "ok, this is what will go on next" and be right. I loved that, constantly being surprised.

The book has many POV. Even though at times it was a little confusing, I thought it was a great way to show the full story, not just a side of it. It felt really good. But, like I said earlier, don't think that it can help you anticipate things. At least it didn't help me. One other thing that I loved about the multiple POV. Even though, like I said, I was a little confused, the thing that I noticed is that the POVs don't "bleed" into each other. You know how sometimes you think "wait, I was in X's head, now I'm back to C's POV or is this B's POV??". It didn't happen with Identity Break. I had a very clear image of when I was in each character's head. That was very, very good.

The characters are also very good, they sort of jump out the page, they're so vivid and at times they almost seem real. I really couldn't put this book down. And I cannot wait for the next installment in this series.

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I just started publishing books last year, so people may ask, “What the heck does he know about it? He’s a noob!”
I admit, it did take me three decades to get around to publishing my first novel, Identity Break . But I’ve spent my entire career writing and editing for newspapers, blogs and so forth.
Still, you might feel more comfortable taking advice from someone who’s been involved in fiction his entire life, so I’ll turn this over to Jason Nix, the protagonist of Identity Break. Here are his ten commandments of successful writing, in his own words:
1) Use active sentences. I’m on the football team, so I like action.
2) Write punchy. Get to the point, please. An action-adventure novel should have lots of action and adventure. Don’t make sentences so long I lose my way. I get lost in Identity Break a couple of times as it is, and believe me, it’s no fun.
3) Don't bore me with elaborate description. I just want enough info to make me feel at home. I can figure out the rest on my own. I’m not stupid, and if I wanted to look at pictures, I’d be watching TV. My girlfriend (well, I wish she were my girlfriend), Elyse, is an artist and knows how to draw pictures in her head. As for me, I don’t need a description of every flower petal or bird’s wing. Why would I? I have a photographic memory!
4) Keep the action coming. Like most good protagonists, I like a challenge. If you keep me sitting on my butt all day, I get restless. I am still a teenager, after all.
5) Make your characters (heroes and villains alike) charming. My nemesis, Pamela Throckmartin, is too charming for her own good. I could actually do without her charm, but I’m sure it’s fun to read about it. Just be glad you don’t have to deal with her personally.
6) Create characters your readers will relate to. Like me. I’m a star athlete with a genius-level I.Q. But underneath it all, I’m just like everyone else. Honest. (Wink, wink.)
7) Shun multisyllabic pomposity. Like that sentence. Just because you have a great vocabulary doesn’t mean you should flaunt it all the time. And yeah, I meant to say “flaunt,” not “flout.” I know the difference.
8) Have fun. But not at the expense of your favorite characters. Please! We have feelings, too (or at least we’re written that way).
9) Surprise the reader. Repeatedly. Make your readers say, "I should have seen that coming." Believe me, I didn’t see the twists in Identity Break coming. From my perspective, it would have been a lot easier if I had.
10) Don't write a dissertation, business proposal, résumé, abstract or legal brief. Write something you'd want to read! I’m graduating from high school soon enough. I don’t want to deal with that garbage until it’s absolutely necessary.

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 photo stifynemrys_zps7c609273.jpgStifyn Emrys is a journalist and educator who has written on subjects as diverse as history, religion, politics and language. He has served as an editor for fiction and non-fiction projects, and his first book, “The Gospel of the Phoenix,” was published in the summer of 2012. He has published four other books, including three non-fiction works and the children's fairy tale “Feathercap.” “Identity Break” is his first novel. He lives on California’s Central Coast with his wife (also an author), stepson, cat and dog.

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  1. Thank you for the wonderful review! Your reaction is exactly how I hoped readers would respond to this book. I'm particularly glad to hear the changes in first-person perspectives were clear. I love surprising readers with twists and turns that make sense but are difficult to predict, so I'm very happy to hear I accomplished that for you with "Identity Break." Thanks so much for hosting my guest post and providing such an awesome review!

  2. I loved this story! Can't wait for the sequel ツ


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