Posted in book review

Book Review: IA Series #1

IA: Initiate

IA: Initiate (IA #1)

Author: John Darryl Winston

Format: Paperback (review copy)

Date Read: May 27, 2016

Date Finished: June 1, 2016

DISCLAIMER: Even though this book was sent to me by the author for review, my opinions and thoughts on this book was not in any way biased or manipulated.


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 that lead 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, and 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, and 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.

CHARACTERS. I was actually taken aback at how wonderfully written the characters are because I didn’t expect to fall in love with the sibling relationship Naz and Meri had. Naz, at the start, was a very weird character with a creepy hair obsession but the character Naz portrayed was well developed and realistic for a thirteen year old. Dr. Gwen and Fears are both my favorite  exceptional characters in this book. I enjoyed their presence in this book as much as the teachings they gave Naz. Also, is it just me or is Norman Ledbetter like Watson with the career background and post-traumatic stress?

PLOT. I didn’t buy the whole ordinary kid becomes somekind of superhero thing. I was also very confused with the blurb. At the start, I was honestly bored with Naz explaining things about his hair and he wouldn’t cut it. But as the story progressed, I learned more about Naz and his past without him knowing because of the flashbackings. I was able to witness how Naz dealt with the incident, the gang, his new abilities, his past and etc. The plot itself is nothing of the ordinary and seriously unpredictable except for Naz’s parents. But it lacked the sci-fi magic that I hoped it would deliver. I need more of Naz’s telekinetic and telepathic abilities in the book and that would have been enough for a solid 4 stars!

WRITING STYLE. So since there wasn’t much world-building in this book, I’ll tackle the writing style. The book is fast-paced but sometimes it’s too fast-paced. The writing style is very unique although I did notice some typos on this copy but they weren’t major so I can let those slip. The author used a new and different approach where we asked questions but it gave little answers and it’s our job to connect the dots. The poem from that guy in Naz’s class was well, very poetic (i liked it very much). The voices creeped me out and the way Naz talked about God made me  a bit uncomfortable since I’m a big Christian but overall it was okay.

FINAL VERDICT. I didn’t love this book but I didn’t hate it either. I didn’t have much expectations so I didn’t feel disappointed but I did crave for more scenes where Naz uses his powers while reading the book. I wish that the cover was prettier and the editor revised/corrected more things in this book. But overall, I did enjoy reading it especially the latter part of the book.

 Star rating: 3 out of 5



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