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Reviews

“Charlie and Ben live in different worlds. Charlie’s is condemned to doomsday after an asteroid destroyed the environment. Ben’s is their target. During a storm they see flashes of each other’s world and fall into a dangerous adventure. They discover that Ben is the key to a takeover plot, where the leaders of Charlie’s worlds will destroy everyone on Ben’s then move over.

Shadowzone is the first book in a series and I guarantee you will be racing towards the second. The characters are intriguing, but even more interesting is the plot. The idea of an environmental catastrophe being the turning point in the existence of two parallel worlds draws in the reader. As Charlie and Ben sink deeper into the plot, the reader will delve deeper into their world.

An excellent read!”

Ashley Howland and Amazon, September 2017

“This is the first book of a series by one of my favorite authors. Although at first, I found the book a little slow to get into, once the first couple of chapters were read, I found the usual exciting story that I could not put down until it was finished. The ending left me ready to read the next book titled “Into the Web.”

Amazon, Kobo, and Professor Owl’s Book Corner, October 2017

“The aptly-named ‘Shadowzone’ is the first in a series by Canadian author, Simon Rose. We see the action primarily through the eyes of Charlie, a girl who lives on a dystopic earth and Ben, a boy who inhabits a far more pleasant place, environmentally akin to the world we know.

As we join the story, the two parallel universes look destined to merge as the barrier between them becomes weakened. The framework for the plot is conveniently explained with some useful backstory, courtesy of an inquisitive Charlie.

I found the early chapters are a little disjointed as we moved between the two threads but I settled into the story after the main characters made contact. We find out quickly that Ben and Charlie are of school age but I’m not sure we’re actually told how old they are, unless I missed it. However in view of their general levels of intelligence and abilities, I would assume they are supposed to be at least twelve.

Most of the action takes place on Charlie’s home planet which is reeling from the after-effects of a natural disaster. The author has painted a very atmospheric picture of the destruction and decay of this bleak, pollution-filled world which is potentially heading for oblivion and this provides an excellent backdrop. Most of the population are controlled via a variety of unpleasant means and we experience a sense of foreboding for their future.

I think the characters could do with a little more depth but as this is the first in a series, there is time for them to develop. Several aspects of the plot are rather contrived but if the audience doesn’t overthink it, the tale is a fun read with some interesting ideas and it will appeal to pre-teens or teenagers who enjoy fantasy and sci-fi.

I have an eight year old bookworm who liked the concept and coped well with the prose but struggled a bit with some of the plot. I’m sure the novel is aimed at slightly older readers but nonetheless, he is looking forward to another instalment.

At 168 pages, the author has delivered an action-packed adventure which is quite short and straightforward. Parents need not be concerned regarding content as, whilst there are moments of heightened suspense, there is little overt violence and no adult themes.

There are clearly more adventures ahead for Ben and Charlie and if Simon Rose can maintain this standard, I think his target audience will thoroughly enjoy finding out what happens next. I award ‘Shadowzone’ four stars.”

Whispering Stories, November 2017

“Shadowzone is almost like a YA mystery thriller mixed with some parallel universes. While there are interesting characters, it’s mostly plot based and proves to be a fast read.

The lightning storms have been showing Ben visions – of a girl and disappearing cars. Thinking they’re just hallucinations of the rain, Ben doesn’t think too deeply about them, until he encounters the mysterious girl, Charlie, who tells him she is from a different version of Earth. And that Earth is watching theirs and desperately trying to fulfill their mission.

I liked the concept and the world building here. I don’t read enough parallel world books, and this was a nice YA one. Shadowzone focuses mostly on action and the world. There are cleverly disguised information sections for us to grab hold of. And I loved the ways in which this book had a subtle Orwellian twist to it.

While there seems to be almost a ‘chosen one’ trope, this book seems almost familiar – not predictable, but reminiscent of some other YA books I’ve read. Ultimately, I am more of a character person, so this book was entertaining and a fast read, but not entirely my style. That being said, if you are searching for a YA novel about parallel worlds and one that has some neat world building touches, this could very well be for you.”

Utopia Star of Mind, December 2017

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