Review: Hopebreaker by Dean F. Wilson

on Feb 10, 2015
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Genre(s): Steampunk / Dystopian / Fantasy

Series: The Great Iron War Book #1

Blurb: In the world of Atladas, there are no more human births. The Regime is replacing the unborn with demons, while the Resistance is trying to destroy a drug called Hope that the demons need to survive.

Between these two warring factions lies Jacob, a man who profits from smuggling contraceptive amulets into the city of Blackout. He cares little about the Great Iron War, but a chance capture, and an even more accidental rescue, embroils him in a plot to starve the Regime from power.

When Hope is an enemy, Jacob finds it harder than he thought to remain indifferent. When the Resistance opts to field its experimental landship, the Hopebreaker, the world may find that one victory does not win a war.

Review: I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading Hopebreaker. The premise was intruiging, a dystopian world where rebels fight to stop a demon drug. Add in some steampunk elements and you've got a readers attention. 

The beginning of the novel was a quite shaky, it starts off right in the middle of action which left  myself and probably other readers confused. Jacob then has several thoughts of exposition to pull the reader into the story. I wasn't a fan of this as the thoughts were seemingly random and other than explaining crucial points of the novel they served no real purpose to Jacob. Readers are aware of the need for exposition but it could have been integrated more seemlessly into the novel. 

As Jacobs adventure continues he comes into contact with the Resistance and decides to go with them. For some reason that at the time were not given. Later in the story there are several scenes pointing to Jacob's sympathy for the Resistance and he eventually stays with them out of mutual loathing for the Regime. However none of that is shown in the beginning and his going with a random group of strangers reads as odd as it would be in real life. 

The characters were interesting, but fairly stereotypical. 
  • Jacob, our main character, the rough bad boy smuggler turned resistance fighter, who discovers that friends are worth more than coils (money) 
  • Rommond, the stuffy, straight-laced millitary type who focuses on strategy and planning to win war
  • Taberah, the passionate rebel leader fighting side by side with her troops, who will risk her life any time the mission calls for it 
  • Whistler, the scruffy young teenager who knows nothing but war, yet retains a hint of childhood innocence
Sadly all these characters types are far too common, and there is very little that leads these particular characters to stand out. 

This book contained many repeated phrases, and a surprising abundance of similes, metaphors and comparisons. Sure these are common tools for writing, but this is the first book I've read to have one of the three on nearly every single page. Sentences such as, "...for the booming of its turret gun was like thunder form an angry god, and he thought that Rommond must have been very angry." These lead the story to a crashing halt and often didn't even make sense. 

Overall, despite an interesting concept, this book was a disappointment for me. Perhaps other readers will like it more than I did.

Interested in this book? Find it online! 

About the AuthorDean F. Wilson was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1987. He started writing at age 11, when he began his first (unpublished) novel, entitled The Power Source. He won a TAP Educational Award from Trinity College Dublin for an early draft of The Call of Agon (then called Protos Mythos) in 2001.

He has published a number of poems and short stories over the years, while working on and reworking some of his novels. The Call of Agon is his first published novel.

Dean also works as a journalist, primarily in the field of technology. He has written for TechEye, Thinq, V3, VR-Zone, ITProPortal, TechRadar Pro and The Inquirer.


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