Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Review: Nomad by J.L. Bryan

J.L. Bryan
Genre: NA Time-Travel Dystopia
Publication date: July 26th 2013

A new dystopian novel from the author of Jenny Pox - coming July 26.

They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight
-A copy was provided by J.L. Bryan for review-

JL Bryan has always impressed me with the level of originality and excitement he works into his novels (big fan of Jenny Pox), and I was yet again taken aback, this time by a time-travel dystopian that is full of thrills and has a kick-ass heroine to boot!

Time-travel dystopian! When I saw those words together my mind kind of flipped, making me unsure of what to expect. For one, time-travel is nothing to play around with if you're not fully committed to deliver. I have a low level of patience for ignored time loops and paradoxes, and while I'm still wrapping my head around the details of JL's take on it with Nomads and the universe taking care of itself, it's one of very few time-travel plots that I can say I'm ok with (and "ok" is about the best you'll get). Some things still hurt my brain if I think about it too hard, but that's time-travel for ya.

Taking us straight into the action, this story begins with Raven suddenly finding herself in 2013 with no recollection of where she is, nor where she's from. It doesn't take long for her to realize she's in unfamiliar terrain, though, with old-fashioned… everything and bizarre gadgets in her pockets. It also takes just as long for trouble to find her! Raven's personality and smarts made it easy for me to take a liking to her. She's quick on her feet and intelligent in a way that completely fits with where she's really from - the future is not a pretty place. It also makes her loyal to her cause. However great of a protagonist she is, though, she brought out my enthusiasm more than my emotions. Perhaps due to the nature of the plot with its distant past and new present, together with flashbacks and the Nomads theory, it made it hard to get attached with this nonlinear character building. I did, nevertheless, find myself intrigued and unexpectedly enthused by the peculiar romance that she stumbles upon with its sensual pull and lingering sense of wrongness. I was also surprisingly content with the direction JL decided to take with these two.

This plot brings in a layered butterfly effect that requires pinpointing what needs to be changed to bring about a full metamorphosis of Raven's future. This means most of the book takes place in our day and age, where she wants to try to make things better with a nudge - or bullet - but what if it isn't enough? Or makes it worse? Aside from this fun to ponder time-travel bit, I loved learning about the future Raven came from; especially the realistic plausibility of it all. The advancement in technology, the history that lead to this dystopian society, even the fashion, it's a solidly imagined world that is made believably futuristic without any overkill.

Highly entertaining with a time-travel aspect that is just as fascinating as it is perplexing, Nomad is a unique dystopian that's perfect for reluctant dystopian readers, or those who just want a different mix! You might as well pick it up; this book is in your future! (I've seen it!)

FYI - This book is considered New Adult; college life, sex, violence, and a few swear words thrown in.

4 Hot Espressos