Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Book Review of Blur by Steven James

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The isolated town of Beldon, Wisconsin, is shocked when a high school freshman’s body is found in Lake Algonquin. Just like everyone in the community, sixteen-year-old Daniel Byers believes that Emily Jackson’s death was accidental. But at her funeral, when he has a terrifying vision of her, his world begins to rip apart at the seams.

Convinced that Emily’s appearance was more than just a mere hallucination, Daniel begins to look carefully into her death, even as he increasingly loses the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

What’s real? What’s not? Where does reality end and madness begin?

As Daniel struggles to find the truth, his world begins to crumble around him as he slips further and further into his own private blurred reality.

Full of mind-bending twists and turns, Blur launches a new trilogy of young adult thrillers from Steven James, a master of suspense.

Series: The Blur Trilogy (Book 1)
Genre: YA Suspense
Publisher: Skyscape (May 27, 2014)
Page Count: 368 pages

After reading Placebo and Singularity by Steven James, I was so pumped to find out he was doing a YA series! After receiving it for Christmas I was so excited to read it!

The Plot: The plot is very mysterious. You're deep in the main character Daniel's point of view and since his realities are blurring you're never completely sure if what you're seeing is real or not. Anything to do with murder is always suspenseful so there's this underlying tension throughout the book. Near the end there are some big twists that had me reeling and flipping pages till the end. The blurring of realities power is really interesting and I'm intrigued to see how its expanded upon in the further books. 

The Characters: I was a bit unsure of the characters at first, especially the main character Daniel Byers. Daniel is a jock, loves math, and is one of the popular kids at school. Basically the complete opposite of me in every shape and form, so it was hard to relate to him at first, but steadily I grew to like him as I saw he wasn't the typical football quarterback, but clever and compassionate. He even has some sympathetic back story that hasn't quite been expanded upon yet. 

I could relate to Kyle the most. He enjoys writing and art and music and spicy food, plus he's funny. I also liked that he wasn't the typical loser sidekick, but he was in a steady relationship with an equally eccentric girl named Mia, whom I also liked. Other characters such as Ms. Flynn, Daniel's sheriff dad, Nicole, and Stacy are interesting as well, but I would have liked a few more defining features with Nicole. She seemed a bit generic. 

The baddies were done very well. Ty (the school bully and loser) and his lackies are intimidating and nasty. And the killer (keeping this spoiler free) is creepy as all get out. 

The Setting: I've never been to Wisconsin, but the description helped me picture the little town pretty well. I would want some more in parts, but it was ample for the most part. The cold gave the atmosphere an eerie feel throughout the story. Wolf Cave for the climax was a dynamic setting and I love how it was used to the max. 

The Writing: If there's anything James is good at, it's creepy description and this book has a lot of it, enough to give you chills. It's delightful! Some phrases like "dream encrusted" were just amazing. The dialogue is witty and enjoyable, but Steven James still does the telling dialogue thing that irritates me a bit. Random, but some characters are interested by the baddies and most of the time no one locks the car doors so the baddies can just get in. Finally a character had some sense to lock the doors!

Epic Things: Since I've just recently seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I was highly amused to hear a reference from that movie in the story. 

The Theme: The theme has much to do with savoring the moment while we have it, by living in the now instead of in the past or the future, because we don't know how much time we have. Also the book brought up some interesting points about consulting the dead and even had some biblical references about it. 

Content Cautions: No content is extremely alarming. I'd rate this story at PG-13 because of the creepy factor. Daniel sees Emily as a phantom several times and those scenes are a bit creepy since it describes how she drowns and there is a bit of blood. Some characters drink or smoke, but it's mostly either mentioned or in the background. None of the main characters do. Some of the teens dance sensually at a school dance. An old dog carcass is shown, but not described vividly. One character gives someone the bird. A character falls to his/her (not telling ;) ) death. 

Conclusion: Blur was an intriguing novel. It wasn't my favorite of Steven James, but it was a good read. Four stars!

About the Author:
Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written more than thirty books, including the bestselling Bower Files thriller series. He is a contributing editor to Writer's Digest and has taught writing and storytelling on three continents. Steven lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. 

You can find him on FacebookTwitterGoodreads and his websiteI also have an interview with him I had on the blog!

I've reviewed several other books by this author:
Jevin Banks Book 1: Placebo
Jevin Banks Book 2: Singularity

If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

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