Book series are probably one of the more terrifying things in a bookworm’s life.
Not at first glance, maybe. At first they’re a lot of fun. You get to watch characters grow, the plot thicken, the world-building develop.
But, slowly, that nagging fear starts growing. Those characters you love? Yeah, those ones. Right there. What if they don’t make it to the end of the series? Or what if they make it, but come out the other side too damaged for it to matter? You just want them to be happy. Just happy. That’s all.
And, before you know it, you’re reading the next installment in a series with your eyes half closed because you’re afraid of what’s coming next.
That’s the sign of a book well-written: One that makes you want to read on and cling to hope in a fictional person’s better future.
I just recently experienced this feeling when reading Into the Void by E.B. Dawson. Book 2 in The Creation of Jack, an incredible indie-published sci-fi series, this is a novel I didn’t want to put down, but also was a bit afraid of every time I picked it up. If you haven’t read the first book, which I reviewed here, go do that now. Right now. No. I’m not kidding. NOW. Done? Okay. Read on:
Logan has had her entire life mapped out for her. Lied to, tortured, isolated, manipulated by people in power all for one purpose: To become the commander of the first colony space station. She was raised for this, her own life and the lives of those around her destroyed so that she could one day bring nations together.
Outside observers would say that she’s not in control. That she’s a puppet, a victim who can only give into her circumstances and become a shell to be used. But Logan knows better.
This station relies on her, as do countless lives. When politics get messy, when ghosts from her past emerge, when an unknown enemy threatens to unleash a brain-altering technology that will wipe out countless people, Logan holds her ground. Not because this was what she was created for. Not because she has no other choice. But because she is Logan Bailey: a commander with power, a broken girl, an experiment with a soul who chooses to fight to make things right.
The events of this novel take place 18 months after Out of Darkness. Everything has changed.
Rather than employing the non-linearing narrative of book one, Into the Void relies on a chronological plot. This would make one assume that the plot is more simple than the first, which would be an absolutely incorrect assumption.
This plot is possibly even more complex than the first book. It deals with futuristic global politics, technological viruses, time travel, and space stations. The plot and world-building is spectacular. It’s on a level that I know I’ve never seen in modern sci-fi…and possibly not even in classic sci-fi novels.
And, yet, the plot and world-building take a backseat to the characters.
If you’ve read my book review of Out of Darkness, you probably picked up on the fact that I have a deep love for Logan Bailey. She a strong, holding-herself-together-out-of-sheer-will type of character that is both heart-breaking and inspiring. Her character arc deepens even further in this novel. We watch her come to terms with the idea that she can’t do everything on her own and cheer her on as she learns what it means to care about and rely on others.
Logan’s journey is made even more inspiring by the characters that surround her. They are all in some way shattered, broken people. But they are all fighting to take circumstances that are utterly against them and twist them into something better. Druce, Gregson, Veronica, Cameron, Jesse…and a few others I want to mention but can’t because of spoilers. They each have similarities to Logan, but each have strengths and flaws that play to the plot and strengthen Logan’s character. It’s a masterpiece of a character quilt.
And it made the novel terrifying. By the time I was halfway through with the book, all I wanted was for Logan and the surrounding characters to make it out with their broken pieces healed up.
Because this novel is so full of action, that hope of mine often felt a bit far-fetched. The conflict builds throughout the story, never letting up, always driving the plot forward, revealing new twists, exposing hidden world-building. It’s one heck of a ride.
My only complaint was that some parts near the end of the book felt a bit rushed. It led to some paragraphs feeling a bit jarring, but these scenes were few and far between.
Beneath the fast-moving plot, the amazing characters, and the excellent world-building lies an even more impressive thread. The message in this book was one that makes the entire series one that is very special. The recurring theme is that of choosing to rise above the circumstances that are shoved onto you. Be the warrior, not the victim.
In a world where unfortunate situations are always cropping up and trying to swallow good people whole, I found this message to be a very important one. I could tell that Dawson put a lot of thought into writing a series that would encourage and empower people to fight for their souls and the souls of those around them no matter how many times they are knocked to the ground. This message was conveyed with a power and passion that made this story stay in my memory long after I finished reading it.
Dawson’s Into the Void is an amazing read on many different levels. Dawson not only possesses a unique talent for crafting characters, worlds, and plots, but she also has something else that sets her writing apart from other authors: Her books possess a meaning and heart to them that will take your breath away. The Creation of Jack is a unique series that you will never find the likes of again. It is an absolute favorite of mine and I know it will quickly become a favorite of yours.
Have you read this book? Let’s talk about some of those intense plot twists! If you haven’t read this book, go find the series on Amazon, then come back and leave a comment with your thoughts! I’m excited for you to discover the literary grandeur that is Into the Void.
Author of the YA Christian dystopian "Skies of Dripping Gold," I'm a voracious bookworm and avid writer. I wince every time I hear the phrase "I don't like to read" and often wish someone would invent candles that smell like hardcovers. When I'm not being nerdy or fighting Lyme disease, I'm off seeking representation for my YA Christian Fantasy novel, The Stump of the Terebinth Tree. My writing tips blog full of sarcasm and geekiness can be found here: http://hannahheath-writer.blogspot.com