Review: The Acolytes of Crane by J.D. Tew

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Publisher: Bookbuzz

Publishing Date: January 2014

ISBN: 9781482547580

Genre:  Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher Description: Theodore Crane finds solace in goofy everyday pranks, in order to cope with living under the shadow of an abusive father and dealing with a belligerent bully who seeks him out at school. One day, intervention from outer space strikes as a mysterious amulet soars into his room bearing enigmatic clues.

Review: This novel began with a 4.5 rating  through to the 50% mark then trended downwards to finish at a 2.5. This started out really good.  Theo, after leaving an abusive environment to live with his grandparents, begins to flourish. He is called upon to fight for billions of lives while living a rural life of semi-solitude.  With his new found pal and a newly discovered talent they call the “Intervention”, they are transported from the mundane into dangerous worlds where aliens and advanced humans vie for control.

While the creative aspects of the novel were superb, the characters got lost in a jumbled and incoherent story line. Initially the characters were well developed within the confines of a limited story line as Theo’s life unfolds. As the story line expands to capture strife at the galactic level, the characters are minimized along with the plot as there are so many occurrences happening simultaneously that it loses cohesiveness. Even the world building suffers as it moves from capturing what “could be” in exacting detail to what becomes scant explanations and abrupt detailing of the environment and the alien species that reside therein.

The whole story is told from the characters perspective while residing in some Galactic Council prison. While this is pretty good if used sparingly, it is not the case here. The story shifts back and forth between the characters and past events. It is not real believable that these characters would willingly divulge all that they have been through. While the aliens were creative and inventive, the reader has to take much of what occurs on faith as little is supported by science except a quick preview on how they came to be and their existing societal structure. Interactions occur so quickly that they seem like two old friends that haven’t seen each other in a week. For instance when Theo crash lands on a planet inhabited by sentient plants (The Elon) he is captured by a different alien called a  Rangier. Then all of a sudden he’s helping Theo and taking him to see his wife, Queen of the Elon. Huh? Oh and she births a thousand plant army that will do Theo’s bidding unquestioningly.

This novel was initially superb in all aspects then it seemed to derail itself in order to finish. A shame really as this could have been on of the years best reads (for me).

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