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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An action-packed adventure for teens, December 24, 2011
By 
Marshall H. (Manhasset, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
For any teen who has finished The Hunger Games but feels that Twilight lacks action, Michael Kayatta has provided the perfect follow-up. In his debut novel John Gone, Kayatta weaves a tale of friendship, betrayal, intrigue, and good science gone bad. When teenager John Popielarski finds a strange wristwatch on the beach near his house in Longboard Key, Florida, it launches him into a globe-trotting adventure and a race against a literal clock. The watch can teleport its user anywhere on Earth, but not without a price. When a trapped scientist and two trained killers both want the watch for their own ends, it's up to John and his tech wizard, not-really-girlfriend, Ronika to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

Simply put, John Gone has superb action sequences, and it has a good deal of them. Whether John is evading capture on the high seas, crashing a party in France, or lost in the Egyptian desert, Kayatta handles his adventures with a quick pace and snappy dialogue. The cast of characters is both fleshed out and likable, particularly Ronika, who is offbeat enough to keep a reader's attention but down-to-earth enough to be believable, and the enigmatic Dr. Kala, who appears to be friend, foe, and everything in-between. The narrative is tight and descriptive, and Kayatta does his best to keep exposition to a minimum, even when dealing with fairly complex scientific theories. Those who like science will be pleased to know that the book has a fairly good grounding it it, and those who don't will be relieved to hear that no scientific background is necessary to enjoy the plentiful arguments, chases, and fights.

For any teen - especially boys, although girls will find a lot to like in Ronika - John Gone is a perfect mix of action, sci-fi, and drama, with just enough romance thrown in to keep the 13-and-over crowd on its toes. Readers should be warned that the book ends with many story threads still hanging, but two subsequent books, Missing Signals and Company Men, will wrap them up. All in all, a great effort and a solid read from a talented first-time novelist.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superior sci-fi adventure story, September 3, 2012
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This review is from: John Gone (Paperback)
I'm usually the kind of guy that reads thick, heavy books and skips over lighter fare. More kinds of ephemeral writing usually bores me and is a chore to get through. John Gone, however, genuinely surprised me with its witty, well-written story packed with solid sci-fi ideas and clever characters.

It's Young Adult fiction in form only, much in the way that Pixar movies are kids cartoons in form only. The characters are fully-formed, believable human beings who develop (or are revealed in) arcs which fit inside the narrative perfectly. At times, it has a light, humorous tone with witty dialog that can truly snap, but it's not afraid to get serious and stern-faced when it has too.

All the complaints that I usually have with this genre are well-addressed by Mr. Kayatta. The novel feels like an over-stuffed chair of ideas. It's full of clever little concepts and wonderful bit-characters to sink yourself into. There's a heart and charm at the center of John Gone that makes it a delightful read.

There certainly are a few rough spots, but they rarely slow things down. The first chapter in particular seemed almost manic in pacing, with the central plot device being introduced before we almost know the character or the setting. But after that, it hardly matters and everything flows at a page-turning clip. Especially for being a self-produced ebook, this kind of quality is almost unheard of.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Gone is great, October 30, 2012
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This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I knew nothing about this author, book or story in anyway but picked it up on a whim and I'm glad I did.

Great story, great characters. Really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good sci-fi action novel, September 25, 2012
This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I don't usually read books unless they are recommended to me, but I'm glad I went out on a whim and got this one (as part of a sci-fi e-book bundle). I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, and plan to get the rest in the series. I think the plot/story are great - engaging and suspenseful. I finished reading this book much faster than I typically would because I always wanted to find out what was going to happen next. My only criticisms are that I didn't love the characters, and I could have done without the scientific explanation given for how the diaspora works. But it's a great story, and I'm giving it 5 stars because I want others to know that this is definitely worth reading. (I might have given it 4 stars, but I think supporting a new author is worth an extra star). Minor thematic spoiler.... some parts were darker than I was expecting; keep that in mind if it's not your thing. Now on to the next book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very fun sci-fi book, September 24, 2012
This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
John Gone is a fun story about a boy who can't stop teleporting. The book is a fairly easy read and could be enjoyed by teens or adults.

The hero of the story, John, is an easy going every-man. When he finds himself on a boat, he stops by the buffet. When he shows up at a stranger's family reunion, knowing he is chased by armed men, he stops for a bite to eat.

Behind John's story of rolling down a hill in a port-a-potty, scootering around florida, and harassing blind russian prisoners is the history of a secret company full of brilliant scientists who will do anything to take back what is theirs.

This is a great book for anyone who has ever woken up on a toilet or who likes a good modern day sci-fi story.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book to read, September 24, 2012
This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I just finished this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. While aimed at a teen audience, it is easily accessible to the older audiences as well. The main character, John, dreams of something more, but gets more than he bargained for when he finds a watch on a beach. He casually puts it on, and discovers that he can't take it off. Worse, the watch teleports him to a random location (yet always in a bathroom) anywhere in the world. But the company responsible for creating the watch want it back, and they will go to any lengths to retrieve it.

So far, I've only read the first book (just finished it a little over an hour ago), but it is part 1 of the "Diaspora Trilogy". I have book two, but I'll definitely be getting book three.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good story for young adults, and those older adults, too., September 1, 2012
By 
Charles J. Kravetz (Idaho Falls, Idaho (Bessemer, MI)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I purchased this book as part of an ebook bundle from StoryBundle.com.

This book is the story of a sixteen-year-old that finds a watch on the beach. When he puts the watch on, he discovers he can not remove it. Before long, he finds himself being teleported each day at 3:14 p.m. After 12 hours in the new location, he is teleported back to the starting point again, at exactly 3:14 a.m. When John and his friend attempt to reset the time, he discovers the inventor, trapped in his laboratory. John must make a decision, to either switch places with the scientist or probably die.

A story written for young adults, that appeals to many of us that read science fiction. There is a touch of romance, as befits the age of the traveler. There is also violence and danger. There is the exotic, as John travels and learns about the watch. There is the weird, as the reader discovers where John lands each time, and his friend that attempts to help him. I did not want to put this book down. There is enough excitement to grab the reader and hang on to him/her.

The story is fast enough moving to maintain the readers interest, without going overboard on the obvious. There are enough lose ends by the time the reader finishes reading this to want the next volume. I ordered it, just because I need to find out what happens next. There is enough of an ending to allow the reader to take a break between stories, if desired.

This story was very entertaining for me, an almost 60-year-old man. I do enjoy science fiction. I do not enjoy romance novels much. I want a hint of reality in my books, something to believe might be true some day. It definitely helps if the story is based on current events around the world. I can readily recommend this book. I would, though, order the next two books in the series before getting to the end of this one. That way, the reader will be able to jump right into the next volume, and be up-to-date on the story.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi with the Sci, May 16, 2012
By 
Kat (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Teleportation is an idea that has always fascinated me. Imagine the possibilities - that nasty work commute is over in the blink of an eye, no more 'I-want-to-pull-my-own-eyeballs out' long-haul flights and popping to the shops becomes literal. But for John, teleportation comes about by accident and has potentially devastating consequences when he finds a watch on the beach near his home.

John Gone is a well-written and enjoyable YA science-fiction story. John is a likeable teenage boy who has a close relationship with his mother, but feels socially isolated growing up on a Floridian island surrounded by retirees. His friendship with Ronika, a kooky computer whiz is genuine yet complicated, and as the story progresses their growing friendship feels natural and not at all engineered. When John is teleported to new and unknown locations the action sequences had me hanging on every word.

The ideas behind the story are sold well, but I did find the science a bit too overwhelming for me personally. And although the story of the scientist, Felix, who invented the watch was interesting, it all felt a little bit too drawn out and at times I found myself struggling to understand exactly what was happening.

Overall, John Gone is an enjoyable read with an entertaining storyline, a believable main character, and some very intense science.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John might keep leaving, but I'll keep reading, January 16, 2012
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This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I'll admit it - I judge books by their covers (go ahead, judge me for it). While John Gone's cover art is great,a teen glowing in blue didn't inspire me to read the book. I only read the book at the (excellent) advice of my friend. It's an easy read (thanks, Michael) but still a smart story. I anxiously awaited where John would end up next, if he would live, and what Felix or Ronika would do to help him - it was all so interesting. The only thing standing in my way of the sequel is a library book that's about to expire. Can't wait!
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5.0 out of 5 stars First in a trilogy: Watch out, you'll be hooked., January 15, 2014
By 
Hillel Kaminsky (WEST HEMPSTEAD, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD

John is a 16 year old boy who finds a watch on the beach. He puts it on and discovers that he cannot remove it. At the same time every day the watch teleports him to different locales, which get progressively further from home. The watch is broken and is stuck in a loop determining the bio energy of the user. After 6 or seven teleports, John will die.

John seeks the help of his friend Ronica, a 19 year old girl who quite obviously loves John, but John is too thick to see this. Ronica is a mechanical and engineering wiz and gives John a small robot that accompanies John on his adventures. Thus, even though she is not physically with John when he teleports they can communicate and she sees what the robot sees. While playing around with the watch, the pair discovers that by pulling out the fob they can communicate with Felix, the guy who invented the watch.

Felix is unquestionably brilliant, but has been trapped in an underground lab for 30 years by the people for whom he made the watch. Felix is desperate to get out of his prison and tells John how to teleport to him so that they can change places. John is reluctant to do so (of course) but ends up doing this because if he keeps on teleporting he will die anyway. Felix promises to come back for John with a second watch to free him but he has not done so after a year.

Felix has not forgotten John but spent the year looking for Kate, a woman he fell in love with while inventing the watch. When the people who owned the lab betrayed Felix and trapped him underground, Kate was trapped as well but escaped using a spare watch that Felix had made for himself. Felix finds Kate and Kate frees John, leaving her trapped in the underground lab. The book ends with John and Ronica enjoying a day at the beach accompanied by the Kate, who is communicating to them through the watch. Throughout the book the bad guys (lab owners) send assassins to bring John to them and kill everyone who knows about the watch.
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John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy Book 1)
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