The Picky Bookworm

"Books are a uniquely portable magic." –Stephen King

I received this book for free from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion in exchange for a free copy of the book.

Title: 1984: When 2 Worlds Collide

Author: Jerome Sitko

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Number of Pages: Unknown. Depends on your e-reader settings.

Purchase on Amazon here for $2.99 on kindle or for free with kindle unlimited.

The Story

Lance, Jeremy & Joey are three friends who, along with their friend Ryan, have defeated the villain, Charlie, and closed the doorway to Sheol. Or so they thought.

Ryan has died in Sheol, and has come back as a “groupling.” A groupling is a sort of undead creature, completely under Charlie’s thrall, and as such, recruits other grouplings for him from our world, called Adamah. Grouplings are like Charlie’s army. Completely obedient, and completely disposable.

The difference between the two worlds is single fold: In Sheol, if you die, you come back. If you die in Adamah, even if you are “undead,” you never rise again.

The Problem

Lance, Jeremy & Joey return from Charlie’s defeat triumphant, but sad, thinking that Ryan has died. As they each start to have dreams, they realize that Ryan is alive, so they decide to rescue him. Will they succeed? Will they rescue their friend, and reunite their “family” again?

Excerpt

For about a week after the incident, Lance has moped around his trailer house. His mom keeps asking if anyone has any new news about Ryan and also bugging him to go outside and get some sun. He knows he should, but he can’t bring himself to leave the safety and comfort of his home. He’s been spending his days on the sofa being a couch potato or in his room listening to cassette tapes of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Eagles and Motley Crue. In the last week, he’s showered zero times and brushed his teeth twice. Hell, he hasn’t even changed out of his pajamas: a pair of red shorts and a plain v-neck T-shirt.
Ryan keeps swimming in and out of Lance’s thoughts and Lance can’t shake it. He knows Ryan is alive and, if it’s true, then they need to find him. But how can Lance know for sure? They watched Joey murder him. But was it in Adamah or Sheol? If it was in Sheol he can still be alive. What evidence does he have besides his notebook by his bed? Where would they even begin to look? He’s confused and depressed.

The Review: What I liked

I love the premise. The two-worlds theory is really interesting to me, especially since I subscribe to the multi-verse theory of the universe. The premise that you can die in one world but not in the other is also very interesting to me. I wish the author had gone into a little bit more detail about that part, and gave a little bit more about how the two worlds differ. It almost seems as though one world is “hell,” but the author never actually describes it as such.

I like that when the friends do speak with one another, they are honest. They don’t seem to have much passive-aggressiveness between them, which is refreshing. They seem to really be able to depend on one another, which will be important on their quest to save their friend.

The author is very honest about what the kids do and do not know. Even without dialog between the characters, the author is good at explaining when the kids have no idea what is going on. The book is very honest that way.

The Review: What I didn’t like

My biggest complaint with this book is that it feels like it should be a sequel. Too much is explained about the past as the story goes along. It has the feel that a whole book could have been written before this one, and it would have made a lot more sense. This doesn’t make the book unreadable, but gives it a “not quite finished” feel. I would love to read a “prequel” by the author, that is about the boys’ first adventure in Sheol.

UPDATE: I have heard from the author about this book, and it is in fact a sequel.

On first glimpse, it’s obvious that this is the author’s first book. I noticed a couple glaring mistakes that a professional proofreader would have noticed. For me, this affects my overall enjoyment of the book.

I can’t think of a book comparison that would make sense, as this is the first book of its kind that I’ve ever read. Other than some descriptions of cannibalism, I’m not even sure this book belongs in the Horror genre. I did enjoy that the author had different names for the two worlds, other than just “Earth” and “Hell.”

The book is description driven, rather than character or action-driven. The characters don’t actually talk much. They each have feelings that they express, but it’s all as if it’s in their heads. This actually irritates me just a little bit.

UPDATE: author note, this book was deliberately written in omniscient narration. I didnt know there was a word for this type of writing.

The book is also very wordy, as if the author couldn’t quite figure out what he wanted to say, so used as many words as he could to cover it up. It almost feels like a first draft.

The Rating

All in All, I would have to give this book 3 stars. I couldn’t get past the grammatical mistakes I ran across, and the book just isn’t my cup of tea. This book seems more like a description based thriller than a horror book, so thriller fans might find this book interesting. I did finish the book, in order to give an honest review, but I doubt I will ever read the book again. If the author decides to write a prequel, I would definitely be interested to get the back story on the characters.

Conclusion

While I myself didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, I can’t discount the fact that the author had some very good ideas. The execution of the ideas just needed some additional tweaking, and maybe a professional editor and proofreader to take care of grammatical mistakes. My 3-star rating is based squarely on the fact that this book just isn’t my personal cup of tea. I think that sci-fi fans would be remiss to not at least give this book a shot, because while very different, the ideas behind this book are unique and engaging.

How about you? Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

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