- Embargo on Hope
"5 Stars - This action-packed adventure will fully immerse the reader... any fan of science fiction or action-adventure would enjoy this book." - Reader's Favorite
"...a gifted story that is exceptionally compelling." - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
"5 Stars - ... something both sci-fi and fantasy fans will enjoy." - Jim's Sci-Fi Blog
Even gods have secrets...
On planet Vastire, worth is set by the sins of one's ancestors. Good families rise to the elite and the wicked fall into poverty. Unfortunately for sixteen-year-old Darynn Mark, his father incited a revolution. Now, Darynn scrounges his way through life in the slums. When Vastire is surrounded by an embargo, it gets even harder to survive.
That all changes when an alien ship slips through the embargo, seeking Darynn with an offer: finish the revolution and the embargo ends. He might have a chance thanks to mysterious magic powers, and his two companions: clairvoyant crush Fyra and soldierly alien Kaylaa.
Cutthroat killers, mystical beasts, Vampires, power-hungry priests and lords, and self-serving spies stand in their way. If the three of them can crack his father's secret, maybe they can end the embargo and save the poor. If not, another poor orphan will be added to the growing piles of dead.
Timothy R Baldwin on Readers' Favorite wrote:
Embargo on Hope is recommended for teen sci-fi readers who look for stories replete with action and social inspection.
On the planet Vastire, the choices of a father fall upon the shoulders of his son. Sixteen-year-old Darynn Mark faces poverty as an aftermath of the revolution his father incited, which resulted in the P.A. embargo on their planet.
An alien ship manages to reach Darynn with a message: finish his father's work, and the poverty-inducing embargo might be ended.
Darynn is an astute observer of his world and is more than cognizant of the social and political forces that have conspired to bring them to this juncture: "The P.A. wanted to help slum-rats like Pavlar and me, since we have about the same rights as sheep, but those bureaucratic idiots didn't realize that an embargo would just mean things would get worse for the Olan-Har."
This level of political savvy will delight older teens who look for more insights and depth than the usual sci-fi adventure quest contains. It reflects many familiar situations of poverty in which forces that would help actually add to the dilemma.
In a dog-eat-dog world, Darynn understands that his choices, like his father's, may affect and change not only the status quo, but his own life and those around him.
Charged with a mission that leads him to confront spies, monsters, vampires, and more, Darynn confronts his heritage and lessons in the course of learning more about his abilities and the complexity of his task: "Were you a good friend of his, Mr. Viln?" Fyra asked. "If Kawto wasn't around, he'd come to me for advice or to rant. We worked together on a few missions, too. He was a rare man - both skilled and disciplined. It's hard to find men like that." I'm neither of those things. At least, according to Kaylaa. She was probably right though. But was that my fault? Maybe I should have inherited those traits. Or maybe he would've taught them to me, had he been around longer."
Justin Doyle's ability to juxtapose political and social inspection with personal growth and revelations creates a gifted story that is exceptionally compelling.
He accompanies Darynn's first-person insights and observations with notes by Polek Viln and others, who solidify objectives on different sides, and adds inspections of the underlying motivations of fighting forces and a son who both admires his father and struggles with his insanity.
Embargo on Hope is about more than a social and political struggle. It's about a son's legacy and ability to grow into his powers and make a difference in his world's future, and the Olan-Har caste's lives, joys, and who is ultimately responsible for their condition.
Young adult sci-fi readers who enjoy more than a light social inspection are in for a treat.
In his novel Embargo on Hope, Justin Doyle draws the reader into the story with a strong sense of world-building and character development. Fans of the Star Wars saga will discover a whole new universe ripe with interplanetary politics. Top this off with a reluctant hero who seems fated to end the suffering of an oppressed class of people while he struggles with the reality that those he cares most about are dying around him. When he loses his best friend, Pavlar, on a vigilante mission, Darryn Mark is soon set on a course to follow in his father's footsteps. He's charged with a mission by an alien senator within the planetary alliance to finish what his father started. Assigned to assist Darynn is Kaylaa, an emotionless and powerful warrior. Then they pick up his best friend's sister, Fyra. Through their quest to discover the truth, the three will battle rogue priests, self-serving spies, vampires, and so much more.
This action-packed adventure will fully immerse the reader in a fantastically developed story about three heroes who bond over a shared desire for truth and justice. Author Justin Doyle's style of writing is engaging. The choice to write from Darryn's first-person point of view is effective. Darryn's brief asides capture the emotional trauma he experiences as his world is disrupted once again, and abilities he did not know are awakened within him. He also wrestles with understanding his faith in contrast to what he sees around him and his growing affection for a certain traveler. Thus, a great number of themes are explored in this novel, and any fan of science fiction or action-adventure would enjoy this book. Embargo on Hope is truly a wonderful story.