Being an indie author is challenging and rewarding; you literally have to do everything, make your own path, so getting where you want to be is an incredible feeling. I'm thinking John Darryl Winston is there, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if this trilogy goes Hollywood. I'm rooting for him, all the way.
Here's why: In the world of publishing, there can be a lot of undesirable people, sharks in the water. Winston is the opposite of that. I have followed him for a couple of years, I've watched him interact via social media with other indie authors, I've paced the driveway waiting for his books to arrive at my mailbox, I've watched in awe as this humble, kind-hearted teacher devoted himself to his students and students everywhere with a campaign to promote childhood literacy. All that aside, it's his integrity and mutual support that I respect the most. He's rooting for you as you root for him. His writing is exceptional, engaging, professional--EVERYTHING about him and his work is inspiring--I'm fan-girling on this guy, big time, but in a fun way, not a crazy Misery sort of way:)
IA: INITIATE: previous post HERE
IA B.O.S.S.: see review HERE
IA: UNION: Well! I can't even...this book...Let me first say it was HIGHLY anticipated and absolutely did not disappoint. I haven't read as much this year as I normally would due to moving across country and major life changes, BUT I have reread the first two books in this series in anticipation of this one. Each time I read the IA books, I fall more and more in love.
As a reader, I felt as though I didn't have a choice--I was trapped from the first page and not even fighting it. Winston weaves a complex story, one with many twists and turns; it graduates comfortably from middle grade fiction to YA and takes us through many sub-genres: mystery, suspense, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi--they all blend together to make this story a fantastic masterpiece, a modern day Star Wars (here on earth).
Naz's journey has been intriguing from book one. He has lived the kind of life that many children shouldn't have to, yet sadly do. Naz returns with a vengeance, determined to unveil Meri's killer. He goes to great lengths to return to his old neighborhood, the Exclave. Life is hard there, but it's a life he knows, he understands, and is not willing to give up on. Naz's story changes with the development of his abilities and the curiosity's of teenage-hood--he meets a girl, D, and they connect in such a way that she grounds him, supports him, even when she's furious with him. When D is placed in harms way because of Naz, he races against the clock to rescue her, but alas must say goodbye to another beloved character. Naz also learns the truth about his past and his father--it's a lot for any person to take, let alone a teenage boy, but Naz is a champion, a phenomenon.
And this was a Phenomenal series. The emotional roller-coaster I experienced throughout this entire trilogy was well worth the ride--I'm sad to see it end, but it's no hardship to read again and again.
Well done, John Darryl Winston! I look forward to future works.
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