Thursday 22 July 2010

The Pack by LM Preston. Review and Interview

For Review: Phenomenal One Press
From Goodreads: Shamira is considered an outcast by most, but little do they know that Shamira is on a mission. Kids on Mars are disappearing, but Shamira decides to use the criminals most unlikely weapons against them, the very kids of which they have captured. In order to succeed, she is forced to trust another, something she is afraid to do. However, Valens her connection to the underworld of her enemy, proves to be a useful ally. Time is slipping, and so is her control on the power that resides within her. Yet, in order to save her brother's life she is willing to risk it all

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this one. I don’t usually read science fiction so it was with some trepidation that I agreed to review this – I wasn’t sure if I would like the genre. I shouldn’t have worried – it was good fun!

Preston has an undemanding style of writing that is easy to get into. Although written in third person we still get the story from Shamira’s point of view and that works well. I found her to be a complicated character and one which I didn’t warm to straight away. She is so strong she sometimes comes across as rather cold and it’s not until about two thirds of the way through the story that we get to see a softer side to her character. Once she began to trust the others and relaxed a bit I found myself really liking her. She is certainly a force to be reckoned with! She really reminded me of Max from the TV series Dark Angel.

The other character to stand out was Valens. His friendship with Shamira was one of the best parts of the story - it was fun watching her slowly trust in him and her feelings and there are some really sweet scenes between the two. The other part of the story I loved were the actions scenes. Preston excels when writing these scenes – there are many in the course of the story and they all had me completely gripped. I could really see them all unfold in my mind’s eye.

The story is rather dark in places, both in terms of the corruption on Mars and in some of Shamira’s actions. Due to this I think the book is more suited to older readers even if the writing style makes it accessible to a younger audience.

If you haven’t read any Science fiction but fancy trying out the genre I think this could be a good place to start. I enjoyed it and am really looking forward to trying more.

L M Preston also took the time to answer a few of my questions...

What inspired you to write 'The Pack'
There were several things that influenced the idea of The Pack. I had originally planned for this character to be a male. I told my beta team (my kids and husband) about this idea I had about a blind vigilante that organizes a group of misfit kids to fight against a major crime organization on Mars.

My daughter told me that she wanted me to write about a female main character. That it would be cool to have a girl in the role. I smiled and Shamira’s face appeared in my mind’s eye.

I decided that her mission would be to save missing kids, because I wanted to write about missing kids escaping from captivity. Every day at my job, I passed a board of missing children. My heart went out to them, and I always hurt for their loss. Once a former colleague who’d been a police officer told me of a horrible case where he had located missing kids that were captured and being used in despicable ways by their captors who had enslaved them for years before disposing of them. These sad facts were the makings of The Pack.

It is a two-book series that I truly enjoyed writing. It’s aimed at kids 14yrs and up. It has adventure, twist and romance all in one. The true adventure is the building of trust and true friendship that empowers Shamira to become the champion she was meant to be. The Explorer X series was aimed at kids 12yrs old and up.

Do you have a favourite scene in the book?
My favorite scene is when Shamira accepts the friendship she's offered and walks to the front of a room filled with kids who chant her name as they prepare for an attack against the crime organization that had kidnapped and misused them. I still tear up when I read that part.

You have also written another novel called Explorer X - Alpha. Can you tell us more about it?
Explorer X - Alpha is a story of Aadi, a boy who takes being a leader for granted, only to find out that the life he had was not what it had appeared to be. He went to space camp only because his parents made him go. However, he finds that the camp is a front for the company to manipulate the kids to become conquerors of new worlds. His journey begins at camp, but ends with him discovering that no one can make him become anything. He has the final choice to use his powers to conquer or to save. With this revelation, he convinces his teammate and love interest, Eirena, to do the same.

Both books are science fiction. Is this something that really interests you?
Well, to be honest I have at least ten more series that I’m dying to write. All of them are science fiction, urban fantasy and one paranormal. I've been an engineer for almost twenty years and science fiction gives me a place to create all the things I'd never be able to create in a lifetime. It also feeds my action addiction. As far as YA Science Fiction – I’m definitely home.

What authors/books did you love when you were growing up?
I’ve always loved reading horror, adventure, science fiction, true crime and romance. There’s not much I haven’t read. However, I love the style of James Patterson. He never, ever bores me. I also loved Dean Koontz’s earlier novels. I realized that in order for me to finish a book, I personally have to be excited about writing it.

Did any of these inspire you to become a writer?
Becoming a writer was something that just happened. I've always written when I was younger. Up until college, I carried a notebook of short stories and poems everywhere. Then life happened. I started writing when my husband challenged me to write a scifi novel. Since then, I've been addicted and stories won't stop pouring out of me.

What’s next for you?
Well, to be honest I have at least ten more series that I’m dying to write. This year though, I’ll be finishing up The Pack (Retribution) and Bandits. Next year I’ll be able to delve into my growing list of book ideas. Also, I plan to go on a hot air balloon ride, check out Universal Studious, Harry Potter World and help my son to finish his first book.

Thanks! Hope you enjoy that hot air balloon ride - it sounds awesome!

You can read the first few chapters of The Pack at the author's website here


prophecygirl said...

Great review and interview Sammee! I need to read this one soon :)

brizmus said...

I've still got to read Alpha Explorer X - I've got a copy of it lying around somewhere. THis looks great, too!

Unknown said...

This isn't really my kind of book but it is great to hear about a strong feamle lead.


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