Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Team Novel Teen Book Tour: "Failstate" by John W. Otte

You'd think being a teenage superhero would be relatively easy, wouldn't you?  You'd have super powers, all the girls would probably love you, and you'd get to pound the bad guys to your heart's content.  But for Robin Laughlin, it's no simple matter.

When Robin decides to join a reality TV show for superheros things just get more complicated.  Oh sure, it seems simple at first: win the show and become a licensed superhero... easy enough.  But for Robin things just don't come that easy.  With his brother, Ben (aka. Gauntlet) pulling at America's heartstrings, and with Robin's own powers proving themselves so unwieldy even for the monitored studio challenges, Robin begins to wonder if his calling really isn't to save the world after all.

Until one of his competitors is murdered.

Robin vows to find the killer and sets out on a very real quest to unmask the hidden villain.  But can he find justice?  Or will his lunk of a big brother ruin everything for him -- and possibly the world?

My Thoughts:

John Otte has proved himself a masterful writer with his debut novel, "fAILSTATE".  It is, without exception, a superb piece of fiction.  And I do not say that lightly at all.

Mr. Otte has created a character that is both flawed and perfect... perfect very much in the sense that he is flawed.  Robin has LOTS of problems, and throughout the entire book he is forced to work through them - from feeling awkward around girls, to family troubles with a mother who ultimately ignores him and a big brother who not only looks down on him but seems to try his best to see Robin fail, to the struggles he has with containing his powers, to how he actually looks and the barrier that creates between him and an even seemingly normal life, to his ultimate feeling of ever present guilt ... Robin is downright imperfect.  And that's why it was so easy for me to relate to him and feel sympathy for him.  That's why it was so easy to like him and root for him to win.

Mr. Otte has also shown his hand at plot twists.  Without revealing too much here and spoiling everything, I honestly would never have guessed who the actual villain in the story is.  Not until the very end, and then the revelation was like, "WOAH!  THAT IS TOO COOL!"

And as far as the writing goes... I was drawn into the story at the very first page, held captive there, and after the first chapter, I was completely hooked.  I finished the book in one night.  I simply couldn't put it down.  The writing style flows right along with the story, pulling the reader along as if by a hook in the nose.  I was on edge the entire time.

And for those of you who follow my blog regularly and have read several of my other reviews, you know that I don't give THIS kind of review very often.

And the Christian themes... they weren't subtle, but they weren't in your face either.  The whole book showed the trial of faith that Robin faced, both in his home life, and in his life as Failstate.  Robin often questions God and his motives, and often questioned himself.  He would remind himself of what God's word said about situations, but he couldn't help doubting.  Yet ultimately, God's word came through every time.  Prayer was used adamantly, but again, it wasn't as if the author was trying to push the message in a person's face, or flash it across a neon sign. (I've read books like that before... they get very annoying very fast.)  Rather, the christian themes were there, prominent, but not posted on a billboard. It was mixed in nicely, and my guess is that it probably helped that Mr. Otte is a pastor.

"Failstate" has become a favorite.  It's been a couple weeks since I read it, but right afterwards, and even looking back now, I can come up with no prominent flaws that stood out to me.  Oh, there was a typo here and there, but nothing that took me out of the story, and nothing that can't be easily fixed.

Ultimately, an Amazing read.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars. ^_^

For those of you who are interested, here is a link to Mr. Otte's blog:

And is the link to the "Failstate" Book Trailer:

And here is the Amazon Link:

I seriously suggest that you get this book and read it.  It is so worth the money.

(Links to other blogs on the tour)

Bookworm Reading •
Hornspoon Reviews •
Jill Williamson •
Virtuous Girlhood •


Rachel said...

Great review. I loved this book too and just reading about it just made me want to pick this book up and read it again. Loved the main character and the flaws, just attacked to him. The writing also hooked me and wouldn't let me go. I never eat and read at the same time but I tried, and did, with this book. Keep up the reviews.

Star-Dreamer said...

I'm the same way, Rachel, but I took this book everywhere with me until I had it finished. It was just THAT good. And the last book I did THAT with was "The Hunger Games". That's really saying something right there! ^_^