Monday, February 24, 2014

The Book of Epoch by Michael Reiss, Walter Timoshenko, & Darryl Kravitz

Hello Bookworms,

            Today I have a new book review for you. This book is from the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. Let’s take a look at The Book of Epoch.


            For Mac, life has been pretty difficult. His father died when he was young and his mother is in a coma. Fortunately, he has his Grandma Jen to live with and his friends Benny and Chip. Then there’s Ally. The gorgeous girl he gets to admire at school every day. Unfortunately, every night, Mac has horrible nightmares about a creature called the Morphanon. What Mac is about to realize is that his dreams are much more than dreams, and Mac is chosen to do something about them.


            This book started off great. It was a sweet story about a boy whose life hasn’t been what he hoped who soon starts an adventure that is more amazing than anything he has ever played in the video games that he and his friend Benny enjoy.  But soon, I found that the enjoyment I had for the story was replaced by confusion and frustration. The confusion was brought on by the fact that the longer you read, the more twisted the story becomes. If you aren’t paying close attention, sometimes you’ll get lost. It wasn’t helped by the fact that while some stories start you off with a sort of introduction into what kind of world you’re dealing with, this one sort of drops you in the middle of the futuristic storyline to fend for yourself.

            Another source of confusion was the disclaimer vs. the story. At the beginning of the book, you’ll find a disclaimer saying (in essence) that anything bearing resemblance to people, places, or other stories is purely coincidental. However, as you read, you will find that much of the story’s places, people, and even parts of the plot are taken from literally everywhere. While the parodies of McDonald’s, Stephen Hawking, etc. were cute, the sections of the story taken from (as best as I can tell) the Bible, Mythology, the Harry Potter Series (including the presence of a large chamber and a giant serpent, an invisibility cloak, a boy dealing with the absence of his parents and becoming “the chosen one” etc.) and other famous books and literature greatly distracted from the overall story and lowered the quality of the story for me.

            A huge source of frustration for me was the sections taken from the Bible and twisted. I’m never a fan of taking the Bible and pretending it’s all a myth. That, again, lowered the quality of the story for me.

            Finally, there is the issue of a couple of the illustrations in the book. There was a mythical female character that had her own illustrations in the book. Since the book is aimed at young people, the illustration was way too mature (i.e. she was in a dress that was much closer to lingerie than clothing. Not a drawing I’d be thrilled to catch an elementary or middle school boy staring at in his book).

            I have no doubt that the authors know great work when they see it. They also know how to tell a story. I also see a lot of evidence of creativity. I would like to see an entirely original story to see what the authors can do. However, I do not recommend The Book of Epoch.


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