Friday, 23 September 2016

Review: IA: B.O.S.S by John Darryl Winston

IA:B.O.S.S is the second part in the IA series by John Darryl Winston, so if you have not read the first one, IA:Initiate, I suggest you leave this review to avoid spoilers and come back once you have read it.


The most important thing in the world to thirteen-year-old orphan "Naz" Andersen is keeping his little sister, Meri, safe from the mean streets of the Exclave and insidious foster parent, Miss Tracey. Until now, he's done just that. After losing his best friend to suspicious circumstances, Naz turns his attention to ruthless gang leader, Roffio Styles, and the Incubus Apostles. 
To find out the truth, Naz will need to summon the world within, and with the help of Meri and his therapist Dr. Gwen he begins to discover that the voices in his head, his nightmares, and sleepwalking are actually telekinesis and telepathy at play: a gift from his father of whom he has no memory.
But when Naz gets too close to the truth and tragedy strikes again, he is compelled to unleash his newfound abilities, wield his own unique brand of destruction, and bring his friends' murderers to justice.

The first book in this trilogy is entertaining and very easy to get through, as well as fun and original, but this second one is a page-turner nerve-wrecking and heart-breaking middle-age urban fantasy novel. I am impressed by how much John's writing and plot-building have improved since the first book, because I can honestly say I was a bit addicted to this one, and I got to care for the characters much more than I did in the first one. In fact, this second book in the trilogy makes me want to go ahead and re-read the first one, but for that I will wait until IA:Union is out, which should be soon...

After a year without reading anything about our main character, Naz, I was a bit lost in the story and could barely remember the events taking place towards the ending of the first book, so I had no idea whether I was going to understand what was happening or if I would have to go back and give IA:Initiate a re-read. But I was saved by the skilled Mr. Winston, who so wisely introduced bits of what had happened in the previous book to remind readers how the plot had gotten up to that point.

I think what I like about this book so much is that it is not as introductory as the first one (obviously) and it focuses on Naz's life's deepest and most important aspects, such as family and self-discovery.  In this book we get to witness friendships growing into something strong and pure, and some others being completely shattered. We also get to see the tender side of Naz as he gets his first crush on a girl. I found that particularly sweet and had me longing for more scenes led by them. But the greatest thing we get to witness is the crazy character development. 

Family is definitely the key to the whole series, and I am so glad it is. It is a topic treated so truthfully and beautifully that I could not stop the tears from blurring my sight in a couple scenes. I can totally feel Naz's need to protect his little sister, Meri, and I love it way too much. They are literally one of the best siblings I have ever read about.

IA:B.O.S.S is so well-structured that nothing goes missing, every loose end I felt in IA:Initatie gets perfectly tied up, and now the only thing I am left not understanding is how the story will go in the third book, due to the ending scenes I may never be able to forget. Too bittersweet (more bitter than sweet, but still).

A great tale about a young man trying to find out who he really is while helping and protecting those he loves. Heartbreaking and pure, John Darryl Winston gifts us a fantastic trilogy.


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