The Charge ~ Sharon Bayliss

  • Title: The Charge
  • Author: Sharon Bayliss
  • Series: (TBA)
  • Genre: UF, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: NetGalley
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

Description:  When King of the Texas Empire kidnaps Warren’s brother, Warren embarks into a still Wild West to save him. On his journey, he makes a discovery that changes his life forever—he and his brother are long-lost members of the Texas royal family and the King wants them both dead.

He gets help from an activist Texan named Lena, who’s itching to take on the King and happens to be a beautiful firecracker Warren can’t stay away from. Convincing her he’s not one of the bad guys becomes harder when a mysterious energy stirs in his body, turning his brain into a hive of emotions and memories—not all his own.

A legacy of violence is not all he inherited from the brutal Kings of Texas. The myth that the royal family possesses supernatural powers may not be myth at all.

Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now Warren must save his brother and choose whether or not to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID.

Review:  Warren King thought it was just another visit home to make sure his Mom was okay. She’s known to try odd things like cook bacon in the toaster and end up with a kitchen fire. Instead of a pit stop at home before going back to campus, Warren finds out his brother is missing, a dry bloodstain on the carpet, and a vague threat about others coming to take him away.

Warren:
Who has Isaac?
Why is Mom so afraid?
Does this have anything to do with their father?
Who could possibly want to harm his family?

Wired on one too many energy drinks, caffeine and sugar, Warren disregards his Mom’s suggestion to run off to Canada for safety and heads into Texas to look for answers. He’s always been the one to take care of their family. He can’t stand aside while Isaac’s in trouble. Confusion and endless questions plague Warren from the very start of his journey. Events become worse as he falls prey to a strange illness that crawls beneath his skin, charges the air around him and causes unforeseen effects when he interacts with people.

A measure of peace and clarity comes in the form of a pretty girl named Lena. In desperation, Warren reaches out to her for help. Nothing is what he thought it was and nothing will ever be the same again. Everything he knew is based on a lie and he’s role in current events may be much more than anything Warren has ever dreamed of for himself. He only wanted to have a normal life. He just wanted to go to college, date, find someone to love, get married, land a good job and live with his family. Just a normal, boring life with no major complications.

Instead, it’s a race for answers, running for his life, taking on a role he never dreamed of and making decisions that will effect the world.

I didn’t know that this book was Sharon Bayliss’ debut novel until after I read the story. It’s a great book! It has everything you want from a good story: engaging characters, moving plot, a few twists, intrigue, dash of mystery and atmosphere.

The setting is surreal because it’s very familiar and yet vastly different with it’s alternative history and technological differences. The world seems dystopian in a fashion because it’s modern but it has areas of extreme poverty due to wars that have been fought. The technology is more advance in aspects like genetic manipulation and application. It’s a rich world with a lot of promise for exploration.

Warren grew on me. It took the entire book. I’m a fan of smart, sarcastic protagonists and he isn’t exactly like that. However, he is a good man who tries his best to do what he considers right. There were several characters in the story that had potential to become a favorite character but didn’t because there wasn’t enough exposure to them to give me time to become fond of them. Lots of people running around and a lot of events rack up on top of each other with only spots to settle down and breath. Part of the reason why it wasn’t easy to find a favorite is due to the fact that several of them are young adults who act like young adults. A bit too preoccupied in their own lives and not much beyond their own desires.

I hope there will be more on the President of the U.S. and Jack in future books because they are very interesting figures that I would enjoy getting to know better.

The story is packed with events and actions. However key people fall in and out of the story rapidly and it leaves me wondering where they vanished to.

Everything that needs to be wrapped up is settled by the end of the book but that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions waiting for answers.

Some Q’s:
What happened to Warren & Isaac’s Mom?
What’s going on with Isaac?
What is the charge exactly?
What are the flashes of memory?
What’s the component that allows Lena to calm Warren?
What’s next?

A few factors make me feel like I was reading a Young Adult novel. Majority of the characters are between 18 to early 20’s. I gained insight into their feelings and thoughts but not enough into their personalities or lives to really get a hang of who they are. In general, they seem to be self involved, naive, frivolous and dedicated to running with an idea whether it was right or wrong. Perhaps by showing more of how the characters interact with each other or how they are involved in different parts of events will be a clearer way to engage the audience. I don’t mind being told information as a reader but that doesn’t always work to get me involved in the story. I feel more ambivalent when facts are presented at me rather than having me experience events due to them occurring within the story.

Looking forward to the next book! I’m told that it’s in the works as we speak. A well done debut, Sharon Bayliss! I enjoyed reading this story and I’ll be in line for the next.

*Due to the fact that there were several cool elements in the story that sneaked up on me, I wrote a spoiler free review. It’s an adventure story with it’s own wild ride! My advice is to read the book and experience it for yourself.

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