Tuesday, 15 November 2016

IA: Initiate by John Darryl Winston

IA: Initiate by John Darryl Winston
Published by Purple Ash Press in April 2014.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

How I got this book:
Won an ebook from the author in a Goodreads giveaway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

IA: Initiate is a supernatural thriller set in the mean streets of America. A seemingly random act of gang violence sends "Naz" Andersen on a quest to find answers surrounding his dead parents and leads to a series of discoveries about his supernatural abilities. Naz tries to stay out of the way at his foster parent's home, but he walks in his sleep. He is unable to keep the fact that he hears voices from his therapist. He attempts to go unnoticed at school and in the streets of the Exclave, but attracts the attention of friends and bullies alike. His efforts to protect his little sister make him the target of malicious bullying by the notorious street gang, Incubus Apostles. Naz is an ordinary thirteen-year-old, or so he thinks. He harbors a secret that even he is oblivious to, and a series of ill-fated events reveal to him telekinetic and telepathic abilities. Now he must navigate newly found friendship and gang violence, and face the full force of the world around him. The only way he can survive is to discover the supernatural world within.

IA Initiate is set in a slightly futuristic dystopian cityscape. The Exclave is recognisable as the rough end of any present-day Western city, yet is given a sense of difference through interesting use of language and descriptions of elements such as the hyperstores and the Helix train. The Market Merchants reminded me of the Chinese stores in practically every Spanish town - everything you could possibly want even though you don't know you need something until you see it there!

Naz Anderson is our thirteen year old protagonist, a head-down, stay-unnoticed kind of boy, orphaned and devoted to his younger sister, Meri. Winton's creations of both Naz and Meri are well done making it easy to envisage these children and to empathise with them. We learn of the trauma in their past and how Naz in particular is having problems due to these events. Other characters around them are more hazy, but may develop further in sequel(s) to this novella.

IA Initiate kept me interested throughout and I like Winston's understated style of writing. This is very much a YA novella, written by a teacher, and I thought it occasionally veered too close to overt moralising, but I enjoyed the read nonetheless. His created world has a hint of scifi without being bafflingly different and there are enough intriguing open threads to tempt me into its sequel, IA Boss. However, IA Initiate has a good story arc in its own right and A Proper Sense Of An Ending!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by John Darryl Winston / Young adult books / Books from America

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