Monday, September 10, 2012

"Sneak" by Evan Angler -- A Book Review

In a future United States under the power of a charismatic leader, everyone gets the Mark at age thirteen. The Mark lets citizen shop, go to school, and even get medical care—but without it, you are on your own. Few refuse to get the Mark. Those who do . . . disappear.

Logan Langly went in to get his Mark, but he backed out at the last minute. Now he’s on the run from government agents who will stop at nothing to capture him. But Logan is on a mission to find and save his sister, Lily, who disappeared five years ago on her thirteenth birthday, the day she was supposed to receive her Mark.

Logan and his friends, a group of dissenters called the Dust, discover a vast network of the Unmarked, who help them travel safely to the capital city where Lily is imprisoned. Along the way, the Dust receives some startling information from the Markless community, opening their eyes to the message of Christianity and warning that humanity is now entering the End of Days.

When the Dust finally arrives in the capital, it seems that all their careful planning is useless against a government that will do anything to bend its citizens to its will. Can the gentle words Logan has found in a tattered, banned Bible really stand against the most powerful military the world has ever known? Can Logan even sacrifice his own freedom, choosing to act through faith alone?


My thoughts:

First of all, before you read my review on "Sneak", you might want to read my review on "Swipe" here.

Quite honestly, I wasn't sure if I wanted to pick up this book after reading the first one... the first book was intriguing and interesting, but for me it was slow to get into and easy to put down. However, I decided to pick up this book anyway because the first book did show promise. I was happy that I did decide to read "Sneak" because I wasn't disappointed. Personally, I enjoyed "Sneak" more than I enjoyed "Swipe". "Sneak" wasn't like my experience with the first book. Instead, I found "Sneak" to be instantly engaging from the beginning. I was drawn in and held there through the entire story, and ended up finishing the book in a day and a half. :D

Our character, Logan, is slowly growing into his new role as a member of the Dust... but he's not the only one. His friend, Erin, is also learning and growing; she's discovered some things about the Mark and DOME's other experiments having to do with the Global Peace Treaty that have put much of the population in serious danger... and this information is so secretive that no one else knows about it, even though it is slowly killing them.

In the meantime, the Dust are going to the Capitol in order to find Logan's sister, Lily, who disappeared after her Mark ceremony five years earlier. To do that, they've acquired help from The River, which isn't actually a river at all but a group of unmarked people (and a few sympathetic marked people too) working together to help other unmarked people find resources and get around the country. Sort of like the Underground Railroad around the time of the civil war. I really liked this turn of events... while there seemed to be less gadgetry in this book, the unmarked also showed more creativity. For example, in the style of the Underground Railroad, the people in The River used special signs to help travelers and other unmarked find their way. There are signs for leaders, safe-houses, supplies, rides, and even danger, and the signs are not always what or where you expect them to me, which helps to keep The River hidden (even if it is known about) from the marked population and DOME. The unmarked also show their creativity in how they build make-shift radios, have set up their own society under the very nose of the marked population, etc... so, less gadgetry, but just as interesting.

There was also a twist at the end of the story... I'm still not sure how that twist effects the rest of the story yet, but I'm looking forward to reading the next book and finding out. :D There were other things in the story that I found predictable... I'll admit to having anticipated the twist at the end before it happened, but I did not predict how the twist was delivered. And besides, I suspect that this is partially because I read A LOT of books in similar genres, and write in these genres myself.

All in all, I liked this book better than the last one. It was faster paced, and for me, definitely more engaging. So for this book, I'm going to promote it by a star from my last review, and give "Sneak" 4 stars out of five. I definitely look forward to picking up the next book in the series. :D

For those who are interested, here's an intriguing article from the author concerning music:

Evan Angler’s Infinite Playlist:

Music, I think, is an important pillar of the creative mind. And as an author, it’s an equally important part of any book. It doesn’t matter what the writing is about, and it doesn’t matter what the story is; writing is music. Our words have rhythms and cadence, our sentences make melodic lines. There are fast sections, slow sections, loud paragraphs, quiet paragraphs. Good writing, for me, lights up my brain much like good music does.

This relationship, of course, goes both ways. If writing informs music, then it stands to reason that music must also inform writing. Certainly, I’ve found this in my own experience. With my first book, SWIPE, I wrote almost everything either in the dark, or on the run, in the motion of electrobuses and boxcars, with my hood up and my oversized headphones on. For some of that time, indeed, my focus demanded quiet. But for much of my writing and drafting and thinking, I was immersed in a blanket of music. Loud music. And I found that its genre dictated the writing’s tone. With SWIPE, my musical selections often gravitated toward electroclash, a genre I didn’t even know existed until I found myself craving it for the underscore of SWIPE’s scenes. Often, I’d play the music so loud that I needed to stuff my ears with tissue paper, because I liked the feel of the heavy beats hitting my brain, pushing me forward, relentless, unforgiving…. The gritty, electronic timbre of the music just seemed to belong with the tech-filled but flawed world of the American Union, and the energy conveyed by that music–both in the faster and in the more somber selections–captured for me the sense of foreboding, anxiety, excitement and, ultimately, determination that Logan feels over the course of his journey.

SNEAK, on the other hand, called for a very different sort of sound. In trying to capture the setting and mood of the Unmarked River, I often found myself gravitating toward pre-Unity bluegrass and folk music, another genre that had never captured my attention–until I the writing called for it. The acoustic guitars, the banjos, the fiddles, the harmonies…in many ways, SNEAK is about the loneliness and uncertainty of venturing out on one’s own, of a search for simplicity and truth. In a world of high-tech stakes, the Dust’s journey through much of SNEAK is practically of a different era. Horse rides, hiking, camp fires, radios…after the events of SWIPE, Logan is truly an outcast, and there’s just no place for him in the more modern world of the American Union. What better way to capture that then with the oldest traditions of music that American history has to offer? Bluegrass and folk, there’s nothing else like it.

The third book in the Swipe Series has yet another soundtrack altogether. I can’t wait for you to hear it, and to discover all that its soundscape implies. But that is a story for another day, and that is a playlist for another time….
So if you’ll excuse me, I have some headphones I need to find…

Here's the book link to Amazon: "Sneak" by Evan Angler

And for those of you who would like to read more reviews on this book, here are the links to the other blogs posting reviews on this tour:

ADD Librarian •

Blooming with Books •

The Book Fae •

Book Nook 4 You •

Bookworm Reading •

Christian Book Review Blog •

Heavenward Reviews •

Jill Williamson •

Labor Not in Vain •

The Maniacal Bookworm •

Oh, Restless Bird •

The Pen and Parchment •

Reviews by Jane •

Shadow Writer World •


Jill Williamson said...

I loved the underground river. I told my husband about it and showed him all they symbols and he said, "Like hobo symbols?" Which made me laugh. But it was a really creative idea. It's a fun series.

Great review, Nichole! I'm glad you liked it!

Unknown said...

This is a really good review! I agree with it pretty whole-heartedly! (everything save for getting hooked on it immediately. It took about 50 pages :P )

Rachel said...

Great review. I also was caught right at the beginning and was engaged all the way through. Can't wait to read book 3 too. I wonder what its cover will look like.