Sixty-Seven Salamanders

By Jeff Joseph

By Jeff Joseph

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a completely honest review*

 

With all the queries I get and books I read, I cannot remember 100% if the author of this piece told me it was his first book or not but I will say that it certainly read like so. I did enjoy this book in some aspects and in some ways, I did not.

First, let me say that the book has great potential. It has a very decent storyline and is filled with action sequences, a colorful cast of characters, and a protagonist that gets you to root for him as he faces trials and events.

I did enjoy following Adin through this story for very simple reasons. Adin is a country boy who gets sucked into a world of technology, violence, and war. He discovers he has superhuman powers and gets introduced to a side of the world that he didn’t know existed; there are spies, villains, and altercations Adin would never predict he’d find himself in, in a million years but I think he handles himself very well and is quick to make connections and bonds with the characters he meets along the way.

One of the downsides to this story is probably the pacing. I felt the beginning was painfully slow and was very tempted to skip a page or two but I grunted my way through and got to the bulk of things which, surprisingly, wasn’t until the end of the book. While some books may have a late climax, I felt this one was probably a little too late.

My complaint in the pacing leads to the next point I want to make; Joseph spent entirely too much time describing things that didn’t matter all that much. The beginning was the worst of it but throughout the story there were tidbits where we would get inside Adin’s head—in the middle of a scene—and stay there for extended periods of time. Just chilling, hearing Adin’s thoughts on the matter, hearing Adin’s opinions, Adin’s worries, Adin’s predictions, but none of that really had a direct impact on the story. It isn’t that we shouldn’t be in Adin’s head—the story is told from first-person after all—it’s that we don’t always need Adin’s two-cents on everything that’s happening.  

Lastly, Adin was cool, he was even charming in that football dude kind of way, but he was by no means this hunk of irresistible man. For some odd reason, every female in the story was attracted to Adin and their affection didn’t always impact the story which made it seem somewhat forced. There were some definitive moments of development and connection between Adin and his many admirers but that time could have spent getting to the point.

Like I said, this book is not bad at all. I quite enjoyed it but with some grammatical editing and a bit of work on the structure, this book could have been much better. That being said, I may be biased because I’m not sure I’m actually a fan of super-human powers after reading this. As a YA fiction, this is good, but as a futuristic story of war and fantasy, maybe not so much.

Overall, I would not overlook this piece as it still has a strong standing in YA fiction, if you ask me. I think young readers will definitely enjoy it and will like the protagonist quite a bit. The action scenes are entertaining and easy to follow and the story itself will hold you until the end.  

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages