Monday, September 28, 2015

Rich's review of The End Time by Neil Ostroff

Reviewed by -- Rich M.
Book Review of -- The End Time by Neil Ostroff
My overall star rating --- 3.5 

About the book:
Bob Bradly knows his girlfriend is going to die in four days. The End Time Procedure has shown it. Devastated, he acts out violently to try and change fate and forge them a new life. Traveling a treacherous road paved with escalating dangers, Bob is blindsided by a shocking revelation. The unthinkable pushes him beyond his limits dividing his loyalties between saving Jane and saving the world until an absolutely stunning turn of events changes everything. 

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 24 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 7
-- Cover & title -- 8
-- Editing & formatting -- 9
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
This story has a lot of interesting concepts and a good use of what is normally a very overused theme: Dystopia. In fact, you aren't quite sure that it is really a true dystopian setting until well into the first quarter of the book, though once, a reader gets an inkling once the main character goes over the history of the food processing machine. The translator for plants was a nice touch.

The characterization was relatively good for most of the book, but everything went a bit awry near the climax, at least for me, and for reasons I'm not going to spoil here. Main character Bob Bradly was a little one-dimensional as heroes go, and seemed to me to be far too much the coincidental ombudsman for this particular society. I do have to say that I think my favorite character in the book, by far, was Jasper the Fern.

Unlike a lot of indie sci-fi novels, The End Time offered a world for the story to play out within that seemed to have some thought put into it. It was very easy to see the domed city-pod in your head, as sort of a decrepit version of the world of Logan's Run or the world of Roadside Picnic. The plants, being an aggressive and intelligent species, was in no way derivative of John Wyndham for once, which was a very nice surprise. I will have to say that I thought the climax of the story was very rushed and much too pat; everything came together far too easily and far too quickly, given the buildup.  I realize this is the first book in a proposed series, but I think it could've been considerably longer - there aren't any length considerations for an e-book, after all.

A few more story elements might've made that climax much more logical and/or drawn-out. The way it is, it's sort've like the movie Krull to me - every situation that requires a specific solution finds it right away. Naturally, The End Times is nowhere near Krull-level in that instance, but I hope you get my meaning.

Very well-written, formatted, and edited. My only complaint on that level was the constant use of the abbreviation "govt." for "government". You're never sure if that's said as "gov't" or the full word.

One other thing: The cover. I like the looks of it, but I can't decide if it's shows too much or not...        

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Science fiction/dystopian        
Age recommendations -- 12+        
Sex content rating -- None                
Violence rating -- Mild violence from ray gun disintegrations and killing people over the telephone.

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

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