Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Tour: Chasing Liberty by Theresa Linden

Today I would like to offer a review of the book Chasing Liberty by Theresa Linden. But, before I do that, I'd like to share a bit about the author, and give you a brief description of the book.

About the Author:

Theresa resides with her husband and three boys in northeast Ohio. She was born in California and moved every three years (her father was in the Coast Guard). This probably accounts for her love of traveling and desire to see the world. Living by the ocean, under the palm trees in Guam and Hawaii, helped spur her imagination. She began writing illustrated short stories with her sister in grade school, borrowing characters from favorite movies and shows. Now, writing is her passion. Her favorite genres include Fantasy, Western, Contemporary, Supernatural and Futuristic. Other interests: painting with acrylic, drawing with ink, hiking, traveling and American History. Theresa is a member of the Catholic Writer's Guild, a local writers' group, and Critique Circle, an online critique group. She has an Associate's Degree in Electrical/Mechanical Drafting and a Catechetical Degree from Catholic Distance University.

Available on Kindle as a pre-order, to be delivered on the release date:

Now for a bit about the book.

Liberty 554-062466-84 of Aldonia lives in a responsible society that cares for the earth and everyone on it. They have learned to balance resource consumption with replacement initiatives, unavoidable pollution with clean-environment efforts. Science ensures that every baby born is healthy. The government ensures that every baby born is needed. All are cared for, taught, and given a specific duty to perform, their unique contribution to society. Why is Liberty so unsatisfied?

In less than two weeks, Liberty must begin her vocation. Every girl in Aldonia wishes she had Liberty's vocation. Liberty would rather flee from Aldonia and live on her own, independent of the all-controlling government, the Regimen Custodia Terra. The high electrical Boundary Fence crushes any thought of escape. The ID implant imbedded in her hand makes it impossible to hide. She has no choice but to submit. Liberty is slated to be a Breeder.

As vocation day draws near, a man with an obsession for Liberty attacks her and injects her with a drug. She’s about to lose consciousness when someone comes to her rescue, a man in a mottled cape and dark glasses. She wakes in an underground facility where people watch over Aldonia with an array of monitors and surveillance equipment. These people are full of secrets, but she discovers one thing: they rescue a man scheduled for re-education. They rescued him. They can rescue her.

And now for my thoughts: (spoilers to those who haven't read it yet.)

The book was a very interesting view of dystopian society, one where they are only a few generations removed from what we have in present day society. With everything being closely monitored and controlled by the Regimen, it makes life really stale and easy for "sheeple" to follow. And, admittedly, I can see our society having the potential to go in that direction. I was reminded a bit of The Giver, and a movie by the name of Gattaca.

The creation of this world setting is very well done. I was able to envision this society and the "less civilized" life Liberty finds outside of the Regime. In this point, Ms. Linden does very well. She also has created very realistic characters that I feel others can relate to, including individuals from the different echelons of society. She also does a good job of weaving in hints of Christianity, or at least the idea of God.

I was captivated by the writing style and the pacing of the story, though, I admit that it did feel a bit rushed at the end. And I get the feeling that there may be at least one more story coming from this world. I could be wrong. The ending did leave off to allow it, but also went too abruptly for my tastes. Perhaps this was a decision on the writer's part to not overburden the reader with a story that went on for too long.

I do have some criticisms, though. There is a character called Dr. Supero, who has an ego to fit his name. He's the one "in charge" of Liberty, making sure she stays healthy and so forth for her vocation as a breeder. When he learns he has cancer at about the same time as Liberty letting out her malcontent for her lot in life, he becomes insanely obsessed with her and basically making sure she can't pass on her "poison" to the next generation.

When Liberty is "rescued", he expounds TONS of energy on trying to recapture her, with an obsession that can be called nothing less than manic. It felt like he was blaming her for his cancer and the possibility that the Regime would deny him the surgery necessary to take care of the cancer. I have to admit that I found his over the top preoccupation with Liberty to be just that, over the top. And why someone else didn't call that into question is beyond me. Someone should have, instead of basically having the other characters bow and bend to his whim, even if reluctantly. Why did they not call him in for a psych evaluation like they did Liberty? Any good assistant would have seen his behavior as unhealthy. But no one did call him out on it more than to say "hey, aren't you going a tad overboard?"

I can understand using his character to spur on the search for Liberty, post escape, but I did think it was decidedly over done. I think there could have been other ways to go about it, but that could just be me.

The only other point that really stuck out to me was the ending. It seemed incredibly abrupt. I know it's most likely meant to bring hope to us readers, telling us that the idea of liberty and restoration to the natural order is being spread, but I found it very jarring when the author decided to put two words at the very end. The end. It makes it sound so very final and over, when I know there is potential for a lot more with this story and the characters. Maybe she does plan on writing more with this world. Maybe she doesn't. But please don't tease us with the idea and broadside us with "The End" because it, at least for me, left a bad taste in my mouth that this was it and there was no more.

That being said, yes, I would not mind reading a sequel. But I can only give this four out of five stars because of those two points. Supero was a train out of control and no one took the real effort to try and control him. It was like they were afraid of him. If that were the case, they should have had someone higher up come in and do something. I would also have liked a bit more about the colony Liberty ended up. More about the other two who went with her. Maybe those are tales for any sequels.

So, overall, not a bad read. The book is not one I would just pick up off the shelf. The cover just pushes me away too much for that. But, for the story, it's pretty good. I just wanted more.

Tour Schedule

January 2
January 3
January 4
January 5
January 6
January 7
January 8

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