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Paradigm
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on January 8, 2015
Sam’s life is simple, driving around the wilds with his friend Nathan, selling junk from the back of the car, his beloved red GTO that they have managed to collect, which are mainly old electronic gadgets that many people now in the future do not use anymore.

On what they think will be a quick and simple trip into the city, Century City turns out to be an eye opener of the start of an adventure, when they stumble across a dying monk who mysteriously asks Sam to return a box. The box looks strangely familiar to Sam. The box is called The Paradigm Device.

Sam soon finds his life is about to change that others want the box. Sam finds himself on the run from Carolyn Bast a woman who not only runs her own company, but seemingly runs the city too. Sam is unaware he is carrying a key that not only Carolyn Bast is after, but something far more dangerous called MUTHA a powerful artificial entity that has been watching and waiting for Sam to return.

Just what is the importance of the key? And why is Sam so closely connected to it?

Set in the United States in the future when the world as we know it as all but disappeared, and humans try and survive on the resources left, a world that they have only ever known. Paradigm is one of those great unpredictable stories, I like not knowing what is coming next, and the story intrigued me right to the very end. I will look forward to reading more books by the author Helen Stringer.
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on November 21, 2014
The story has an unusual touch of science fiction several decades in the future with enough action and mystery to keep you entranced.
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on July 25, 2014
Once I picked up this book, I couldn't put it down!

I know, I know, that's how most reviews start. In all honesty, it is an excellent read. It is well formatted, the characters are believable given the circumstances, and it threw a few curve balls that I didn't see coming. When an author manages to do that to me, I know it is a good book and I'll snap up more of their work.

The orientation is a third person narrative that follows the main character. I enjoy the fact that the author didn't jump perspectives, and that she also managed to keep things flowing without a lot of back story or explanation. The entire narrative flows around the characters, and you plunge into their world as they see it. A few things are given a broader explanation, but a lot of it is casual. Almost but not quite a first person perspective.

The prose in this book is also excellent. With most of the descriptive passages it was easy to see what the author was trying to convey.

Would I read this again? Certainly.
Will I be checking the Author's page to see the rest of her works? Oh yes.
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on July 5, 2014
My son, a teenager and avid sci-fi reader (both classic and contemporary), encouraged me to read Paradigm because he believed I would enjoy it as much as he did. Not having anything of interest to read on a week-long family vacation, I started reading Paradigm on the five-hour plane ride on the first day of our trip. I tried to pace my reading so that I would have something to read on the plane ride home at the end of our trip, but I was too drawn into the story, the well developed characters, and to all the questions that I (and Sam) wanted answered and explained, that I finished it before my trip was over. Without being bombarded with excessive descriptions, I still felt like I could "see" the landscape, the characters, the vehicles and even the air quality (here's hoping that one day this story plays out on a screen other than the one in my head!). The philosophical implications of human's destructive qualities leading to a post-apocalyptic world was subtle yet thoughtful, so it didn't feel like yet another moral tongue lashing, but, instead, was integral to the storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed Paradigm.
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on June 26, 2014
The Story-
Sam Cooper is seventeen and lives in the badlands of a post-collapsed America.He knows two things, that he loves his GTO car and that he should never go into the city. Feeling desperate, he breaks his own rule and heads into Century City. Immediately things go downhill. His head feels like it's going to explode and even his pain killers have a hard time keeping him alert. Then, he stumbles across a dying man and is given a small chest, something he recognizes from his youth, something his mother told him must be kept safe at all costs. Caught on a surveillance camera, Sam is brought to the attention of Carolyn Bast, the tyrant who runs the city, and MUTHA, the computer that controls the world.

Fleeing for his life only allows him to fall into the hands of the very scientists his parents originally escaped from, but also gives him the answers to some long sought after questions. He begins to learn the truth about who or what he really is and why MUTHA so desperately wants him. His only hope of survival is teaming up with sixteen year old Maori warrior, Alma. Together they fight back against Bast and try to stay out of MUTHA's clutches.

My Thoughts-
I had to read this book because of the cover. I kid with one blue eye and one green eye. I couldn't resist. That is Sam, our hero. He is a great character, full of emotion and intelligence. He has survived the badlands after the death of his parents, and is smart enough to piece together all of the clues that fall into his lap. At first you think Sam is normal, but then his headaches occur whenever he enters a city. Right then you know he's something special, and you have to read to find out why. I think he handles things real well when he finds out the truth and I was glad for a strong character that didn't whine or fall apart.

Then there is Alma- loved her! She is a deadly assassin who isn't afraid of anyone or thing, and she's only sixteen. She kicks the crap out of grown men. She is so brave and amazing, I couldn't help but want to be her in that topsy-turvy world.

Okay, on to plot. The story itself is well written and I enjoyed having to read on to figure out the mystery of Sam. Even then, there's more for him to do, and you don't know if he'll survive. The story stays focused, and even the side plots are interesting and twist well into Sam's world. What a fun story! 4.5 Stars!
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on June 12, 2014
I can't believe I got this book in a free download.
The characters are emotionally developed and span across the moral spectrums.
The story unique and keeps you guessing.
wonderful wonderfulness.
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on June 10, 2014
Very good book. Fast paced and entertaining. Did not wan to put it down. We'll thought out with several surprises.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I like my post-collapse apocalyptic dystopias to be challenging with a touch of threat, but not so grim and depraved that they read like YA snuff films with an extra side helping of sadism. For early YA it seems the point of a post-collapse scenario is to create an unsettled and menacing but manageable environment and to get the reader thinking a bit about how the collapse happened.

I also like the story to be driven by the characters and the writing, rather than by some convoluted and intricate plot or by non-stop peril and action.

If that sounds like what interests you, then have I got a book for you.

Sam Cooper is a smart, decent and adaptable survivor. He and his pal Nathan are cruising a post-collapse America in Sam's almost magical GTO. Forget about how they find gas and so on; this is a road trip book so you need a radical car. (No one ever survived an apocalypse in a Volvo.) They're just grifting along until they run across warrior chick Alma, who keeps turning up to get them out of tight fixes. But then sophisticated bad guys show up and it almost seems like they're looking for Sam. Then there are hints that Sam might be "special". Then the plot takes off. NO SPOILERS.

At least two very good things are happening here. First, we have strong, relatable, engaging characters. I'm not sure how you can have a successful early YA book without that. Second, we have high quality, carefully crafted, but restrained writing. Stringer can create good characters, she does snappy smart dialogue, she can set a scene, and it turns out she can style a taut action/confrontation scene. She can also unfold a plot without lots of exposition and she can pace a suspenseful buildup.

In fact, there's a lot here that is less clunky and more engaging than what you would find in a mainstream "adult" suspense thriller.

It finally dawned on me that this Helen Stringer is also the author responsible for the "Spellbinder" series for middle grade readers. I think that that series is one of the best magical tween heroine series out there, so I shouldn't have been surprised by the success of this step up in targeted reading age.

Anyway, this book is fun, it's clever, it's suspenseful, and it's polished. That works for me.

Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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on May 24, 2014
Although this book is listed as teen sci-fi fiction, it works for me as a mature adult. I loved the way the author creates a USA of the future, with so much devastation but still some hope - and the lead characters blend in well with the plot and their environs. We need a second in the series! Well done! Keep 'em coming.
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Quick paced. Well edited. Believable characters and a well thought out world. What more could you want? Well, okay, mAybe it is not quite so believable when the bad person is put down for the count and allowed to live to be bad another day. Then again, this is rather common so who cares. If it helps, I opened this on my Kindle after quitting on five previous free books. (Yes, I got it for free). Read it in two days and looked for the next book with a figurative credit card in hand. Did not find the next (suspect it is not out yet) but Paradigm seas good enough to pay money for another.
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