Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Book Review of Failstate: Nemesis by John W. Otte

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Abaddon will destroy you all! 

Robin Laughlin (a.k.a. the superhero Failstate) has finally achieved his dream. Not only is he a licensed vigilante, but he’s respected by his fellow heroes, feared by criminals, and he’s finally achieved peace in his family, especially with his brother, Ben (a.k.a. the superhero Gauntlet). That, plus the love of his girlfriend, Charlene, has made life good. 

But then Failstate learns a secret about his father. Rather than the loving family man he remembers, Failstate’s father was a criminal who got himself killed when he crossed the wrong people. Before he can process this new information, he receives a warning that a villain named Abaddon is coming to New Chayton. The message is all the more disturbing since it’s delivered by Lux. She died in Failstate’s arms a year earlier. How can she possibly be alive? 

Those mysteries will have to wait, though, as Abaddon storms New Chayton, strewing death and destruction in his wake. But he’s not the only newcomer. Unusual heroes are appearing throughout the city. 

Can Failstate get to the bottom of the reappearance of Lux, the influx of new heroes, and the truth behind his father's past--all while keeping Abaddon at bay? Abaddon may prove to be Failstate’s greatest nemesis. But what will Failstate have to sacrifice along the way?

Series: Failstate (Book 3)
Genre: YA Science-Fiction
Publisher: Enclave Publishing (September 23, 2014)
Page Count: 310 pages

What I liked: I haven't read a book this good in a long time. I liked the previous books of the series, but man, this one just takes the cake. 

For one, the plot is far more intense. The villain is the most intimidating out of any of the other ones. He's scary and he's out for blood. Things get personal in this book. Everything is going great for Rob aka Failstate for once in his life then he watches it crumble apart. But I like that in this book the characters are more of a united force instead of everybody hates poor Rob. Though I guessed the big twist, it's still pretty sweet, and the baddies endgame I totally couldn't guess. The book had a very Batman: Dark Knight Rises feel. 

If the plot wasn't good enough we also have alternate realities, sweet superpowers, dimensional portals, and Russian robots thrown in there. Some of the elements reminded me of Doctor Who. I liked that some of the robots took from Russian folklore like the babyagas which in Slavic mythology are witches who kidnap children. And the vzryvnyh cherapahs (try to pronounce that one) were creepy, cool, and intense. I also thought it was funny that Rob was concerned with property damage. Funny how in most superhero stories that's never mentioned. 

Rob has grown so much since the first book and in this one we see him stretched to his absolute limits even to the point his faith is strained. But we see him grow so much in this book and see how much his relationships have grown with his brother, his mother, his girlfriend, his mentor, and his friends. It's amazing to see the drastic differences. 

The themes. Man, the themes in this book. Some of them nearly brought me to tears. The book's primary theme I would say is faith, still trusting in God even though it looks like everything is coming apart around you. Can you still have faith when your blessings are taken away? This book is about suffering. 

These lines particularly hit me:

"If He answered. I didn't feel it. There was no nudge, no hunch, nothing. At one time, that might have bothered me. There were kids in my youth group who talked about how they felt God's presence or heard Him answer their prayers directly. That rarely happened to me. But I learned not to worry about that. God was with me regardless of how I felt from moment to moment. He always listened. More important, He always answered." Rob, Failstate: Nemesis by John W. Otte

There are so many other lines like this that just hit somewhere deep inside. Can you still love God while you're suffering? Will you reject him because times get hard? This hit me personally because I went through a stage in my life where I wasn't sure about my faith anymore during a time of great suffering. It's easy to be a Christian when everything is easy, but can you hold on and trust God that He's still got you when times are bad?

What I didn't like: Though the prose starts out well, it degrades as the book goes like the author was rushing. I needed an pronunciation guide for the Russian words. I skipped over a bunch of them. XD 

Content Cautions: Since this is a superhero novel, there is a lot of fighting. People die. A lot in this book particularly. Some blood is splashed on the walls at one point. 

I loved this book. Read the whole series just to get to this book. It is worth it. Five stars!

About the Author:
John W. Otte leads a double life. By day, he's a Lutheran minister. He graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a theatre major and then from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. By night, he writes weird stories. He lives in South St. Paul, MN, with his wife and two sons. Find him on his websiteFacebookGoodreads and Twitter!

Check out my review of the previous books of the series Failstate and Failstate:Nemesis!

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