By Jonathan Staten
Date Reviewed: February 13, 2020
Release Date: January 18, 2020
Get ready for a thrilling and sometimes scary ride with Sunvale by Jonathan Staten. This is not a book for the faint-hearted or those that need their endings neatly tied up with a bow. Readers will be left with several questions. This does not distract from the overall story, only helps to make it more realistic. Life is never neat or simple and this is echoed throughout the riveting story.
Sunvale is a thriller, mystery, horror and science fiction story. It has elements from all those genres but it is also a story about hope, survival and ultimately - humanity. Set in the distant future where humankind has started to colonize outer space, Sunvale gives readers an interesting glimpse into what life could be like in a city far from Earth.
Imagine waking up in a city that seems almost abandoned with no memory. This is how Sunvale starts to draw readers in. As Weston tries to discover why he is in the city, he slowly befriends other survivors, including longtime residents Bruno and Lizzie. Throughout the story readers will slowly learn why it is dangerous to go out after dark and why many residents have turned into psychopaths intent on murdering anyone they come across. This is not a story about vampires but something worse. It is about greed and revenge, two traits that humans still have even in the distant future.
This might be a cautionary tale stating that some things will never change, but it is also one of hope and courage. Two other traits shared by the majority of humankind. Readers will learn that blood ties do not always make a family, sometimes these bonds are formed out of love, and a desperate need for survival.
Jonathan Staten has a style of writing that is almost conversational. Readers will feel like they are witnessing the startling events in Sunvale, Sephria, and Dungar. Even though the plot is set in the future, Staten's characters are still easy to relate to. Some readers might find it comforting that while technology advances, basic human emotions and responses remain much the same.
Humans still have nightmares and they miss friends and loved ones. This is evident throughout Sunvale and is part of what draws readers in. "She wondered if Weston had anything to do with it. She hoped he did and wondered about him from time to time. Did he get to see his son again?" It is this basic wish to be reunited with loved ones that helps set Sunvale apart from other science fiction thrillers. Sunvale will get your heart pumping.
"It was like an itch he couldn't scratch. Too bad the answer didn't jump up and greet him either."
Jonathan Staten is an author based in Owings Mills, Maryland. He writes science fiction and fantasy works, and likes to combine simple prose with a dry wit and sarcasm. Connect with him on social media.
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