IA: Initiate by John Darryl Winston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the story of Naz, but it is also more than just about one single character. John Winston has created an almost dystopian-type world, that doesn't seem to be so different than a poor neighborhood. If that neighborhood were to be somehow cut off from the rest of society. As I read this book, I couldn't help feeling that there was a vortex around the area that was not escapable.
Naz is an underrated hidden kind of smart, but also has immense dreams that seem to come true in his sleep... without his control. His sister, Meri has soaring intelligence that pushes Naz to live his life for her and push for he to have a better life outside of their neighborhood.
The opening of the book leaves many intriguing questions for the reader, especially in terms of Naz's parentage, and what sort of experimentation may have been going on while he was still in the womb.
Naz faces many challenging issues such as gangs, and foster care and new schools, but he also finds solace in his sister and in chess, and learning how to be a better person and keep himself away from negative peer pressure.
Overall this was a great read, I was left with a lot of questions and would have liked a bit more character development outside of Naz, but perhaps that was intentional. I really wanted to know more about the place they live and why they were there, I hope this will be revealed in later novels. Solid 4 stars for me. A great debut novel!
I received a copy of this book from the author for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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