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Matt Forbeck's Brave New World: Revolution Paperback – August 24, 2012
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About the Author
Matt Forbeck has been a full-time creator of award-winning games and fiction since 1989. He has designed games and toys and written stories of all sorts. He has sixteen novels published to date, including the award-nominated Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon and the critically acclaimed Amortals and Vegas Knights. His latest work includes the Magic: The Gathering comic book and the historical horror novel Carpathia. He is currently in the middle of his 12 for '12 project, in which he's writing a novel every month this year. For more about him and his work, visit Forbeck.com.
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"Matt Forbeck kicks off his Brave New World trilogy in great style with an action-packed narrative that is also full of a variety of interesting characters set in a setting as unique as it gets." ~The Founding Fields
Another Matt Forbeck review this month, which means that it really is no surprise what I've been reading these past few weeks! What can I say though, I love his work and he really is one of my favourite authors out there. So far for me, he is 4/4 for me as I have yet to be disappointed with any of his stories and that's a great thing as far as I am concerned. For folks that may cry out fanboisism or any other such "accusation" this is anything but. My high praise for his work, that I've read of course, simply means that he is a consistently good author who can keep you entertained and hooked no matter what type of a narrative or form he is writing in/for, whether it be comics or novels, fantasy or science-fiction.
Brave New World: Revolution, as I said above, is the first novel in Matt's drive to write twelve novels this year, each of those being around the ~50,000-word mark. The reasoning being that this is the target for people who participate in National Novel Writing Month each November and for other such reasons. Of course, it goes without saying that such a rapid pace is only possible with a high writing speed, something that Matt seems to excel at! He's a word-Terminator or something. Anyways, you can check out the details of the project on his site here.
Anyways, back to the review. The novel is set in Matt's own setting and the world he has created is a very interesting one. Imagine a a present-day Earth where the United States employs an organisation of superheroes and where the tasks of these superheroes include fighting all the bad guys and recruiting, often forcibly, their own kind. I don't have much experience with Marvel so in DC terms, this is like a dark, gritty version of the Justice League where the heroes are not exactly the knights in shining armour. Matt Forbeck's Brave New World is, I think, a fantastic setting. It offers a lot of opportunities for some truly cinematic stuff with superheroes. And everybody loves superheroes don't they! Escapist entertainment at its best.
As a first introduction to the setting, I found the world-building to be rather excellent. Matt takes you through the alternate world with a nice and easy pace that never overwhelms or underwhelms you. New characters, new groups, new concepts are introduced in regular intervals and they never come off as too cliched or there just for the hell of it. Every character has something to offer to the larger narrative that is being told and you will be surprised at how some of the minor plot points turn into rather important ones later or in the novel.
As such, the pacing of the novel is mostly handled well, as I thought that it lagged in a few places and sometimes there was too much of a jump between events and characters that can leave the reader confused. One of the main reasons for that is that Revolution is written in first person from the POV of a handful of key characters. This is something that really threw me off in the beginning because I was really confused. I tend to somewhat speed-read even when I have all the time in the world, and that unfortunately fluxed everything for the first few chapters. I quickly picked up on the fact that the author had managed to put in POV tags at the beginning of each chapter to help the reader identify who was telling the narrative. An odd decision that I'm not sure if I'm sold on as yet. It definitely is a change from the norm though so I'll be waiting to see how the sequel, Revelation, turns out to make a proper call on this style.
You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:
Great narrative of wonderful (but darker than my usual forte, to be honest) characters that makes me wonder if Matt Forbeck can carve out the sub-niche of "superban fantasy." After all, lumping all supers stories into science fiction never seems right to me.
In any case, this was a great read and I was proud to be one of Matt's backers on Kickstarter. I'll confess I found it easier to read the print copy of the novel over the e-version, and be warned this is a page-turner.
There were times I wish I found myself wishing to read this as a graphic novel, but Matt's deftness with balancing action & description made it almost unnecessary. Still, when one of the antagonists gets his just desserts, I really wanted to see the smug s.o.b. taken down.
The book does an excellent job at fleshing out the characters who, I imagine, will be the main players throughout the trilogy. Forbeck's use of multiple viewpoints goes a long way toward developing the characters that are telling the story. However, going forward, I am resolving myself to not become too attached to any particular characters because the characters I liked the best in Brave New World: Revolution all died. Forbeck managed to create significant emotional impact with these deaths, and they were not random by any means. I personally just don't want to feel like I'm jinxing any more characters.
If I had a complaint about the book it was that I felt it could have used a little more depth at points. I know that this feeling most likely springs from the fact that Forbeck turned out this polished bit of fiction in a month. However, there were times where I felt like I was only getting 90% of the story that Forbeck wanted to tell.
Ultimately, Brave New World: Revolution is a promising start to Forbeck's trilogy and is definitely a new hope." This is a must read for any fans of superheroes, alternate history, action, or dystopian stories.
Full review here: [...]