***** A Terrifying Dystopian World review by Rox Burkey
I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Author Charles W Jones on this story. One of the best parts is his design of this unique yet appropriate cover. Charles brings a distinct perspective of Carl, the main character, through various stages of his life. It seems that at 6, Carl hears voices which caused his mother concern. Mom takes Carl to a psychiatrist. When Carl’s dead father provides a comment during the psych evaluation, everything changes. Carl enters the Freedom Institute.
“”Mrs. Forsythe, your son suffers what is called Tourette Syndrome,” the doctor said. “And possibly Multiple Personality Disorder. Has he suffered any trauma lately? Abuse of any kind?”
“What? No,” Carl’s mom said; she’d moved to stand behind her son while the doctor was speaking. The doctor moved his gaze back to Carl.
“You’re full of shit, bud,” a man said, standing in front of the closed door. Carl turned in his seat to see him. He was tall with smooth, light skin, and muscles bulging the sleeves of his camouflage jacket. His dark hair and eyes were the same color as Carl’s. Carl smiled at the man…”
For the next 22 years, Carl is poked, prodded, and evaluated. At 28, the voices speak as one, instructing him to leave the Institute. The voices each interact with him to protect, guide and keep him company on his journey to his childhood home, Saratin. The frightening elements of greed, power, and control achieved by unleashing time travel, chemicals, and mutations are abhorrent. The world becomes outrageously filling with monsters and a place no longer recognizable as Carl sets out to find his mother.
Though Carl is my favorite person, I enjoyed Astrid, who finally joins his quest. The actual people and voices each have distinct personalities as well as critical roles in this saga. Other memorable people include Serena, who assists Astrid in hunting for Carl. In some ways, this story’s power reminded me of the world creation that Ayn Rand did with Atlas Shrugged circa 1957.
This is a superbly crafted story that takes hold of a reader immediately. I found it well-written, exciting, and sadly close to our world today. The divisions are so strong, yet somewhere there is the potential for hope. I recommend this for fans of dystopian worlds that seem to be almost too real, especially at the fitting end. You don’t want to miss this story or others by Author Charles W Jones.
About the Author
I grew up in a small town of five hundred people in Wyoming that everyone always pronounces wrong or spells incorrectly, Shoshoni; I swear it’s a real place. My first novel, Dreamwalker: The Second Plain, is LGBTQ+ as are HOME and Daughter of Illusion.
My other books include the Circus Tarot Trilogy (it’s Clowns and Tarot, what’s not to love), Hunger, Hydrangeas on the Lanai and Darkness is Coming. And last, but not least, I have two anthology collections, An Unnamed Acquaintance and Liaisons Macabre. Oh, yeah, I currently live with my husband of twenty-one years in Colorado with our three cats, ten crested geckos, and one saltwater fish tank.
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