Review: The Tower

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Nicole Campbell. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, $13.50, 346p. ISBN 9781545411278.

Her fifth novel in just over two years, Nicole Campbell presents The Tower, a young adult story of life, love, death, and loss. Setting her tale in Elizabethtown, Illinois, and distinguishing it with a foundation in witchery, Campbell tells the otherwise familiar story of three teenagers who have grown up together and are now learning how to navigate through the realities of life.

Rowyn, Reed, and Rosalyn are as close as three friends can be. Having been raised as members of the same “Circle,” their families’ beliefs in witchery knit them close as the characteristic that sets them apart from the other kids at school. Outside of their beliefs, though, Rowyn, Reed, and Rosalyn are every-day teenagers that struggle with coming of age, relationships, what to do after high school, and even the effects of sudden tragedy.

While the staple themes of a young adult novel are well carried throughout the novel, the significance of some of the witchery signified in the story isn’t directly communicated. For example, the Tower card is drawn periodically during readings,  but without an understanding of tarot cards and their meanings, the connotation is lost to the reader. It is not until the last page of the book that some connection is made between events in the story and drawings of the Tower card:

“The Tower card hadn’t lied. Everything crumbled and fell, and it took pieces of me with it.” Excerpt From: Nicole Campbell. “The Tower.” iBooks.

Campbell writes well while switching between points of view of each of the teenagers. She is attentive to differing reactions that each character might have to the same event, and is able to understand and communicate emotional struggle. The Tower is an approachable story, remaining realistic in its “paranormal” basis, welcoming any reader of general young adult fiction.

Guest Post and Excerpt: The Invasion

Invasion

As the popular quote goes, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Looks like this is true of even authors. Next week, Book 4 of The Union Series is published, continuing a four-year-long telling of an American dystopia. Author T.H. Hernandez has taken a journey of her own, along with her readers, in discovering her characters – enough to feel a desire to revise Book 1, published back in 2014.

Here’s a look into what moved T.H. Hernandez to better Book 1, The Union, followed by an excerpt of her latest book, The Invasion!

The Invasion (The Union Series, #4)
T.H. Hernandez
Publication date: August 1, 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult


From the Author: How writing Book Four led to revision of Book One

“When I first published The Union three years ago, it was the first novel I’d written. It had been through more than thirty rounds of edits, incorporated feedback from a publisher, an agent, and my critique partners, and had been professionally edited. However, when I went to pull some quotes for an upcoming blog tour, I realized my characters didn’t sound like themselves.

THAfter writing three more books in the series and outlining a fourth, I know my characters so much better. Even though they go through incredible growth throughout the series, they are essentially themselves, and I wanted them to sound that way.

In addition to fixing character inconsistencies, I shaved off close to 12,000 words without altering the storyline. The result is a faster-paced story that I hope readers will embrace.”


 

EXCERPT FROM The Invasion:

Liquid fills my nose and mouth and I claw in front of me, searching for the surface. I gasp, choking on a combination of air and water, and shove my drenched hair out of my face. Hercules One holds an empty bucket at his side, water still dripping from the rim.

Dizziness takes hold when I sit up, my body tilting. H-1 grabs my biceps, yanking me to my feet mere moments before my head would have conked on the concrete. Guess he wants the honor of doing the head conking himself.

Something about my face doesn’t feel right. My fingers run over the planes of my face, hitting a tender spot on my cheek. Pain shoots through my jaw and into my head while stars dance across my vision until everything disappears.

Another blast of water hits my face and my eyes fly open to a pair of cold blue ones staring back at me. “Where did you train?” Draya asks.

My lips part to tell her off, but the words catch on their way out.

Hercules Two approaches me, and without warning his fist is in my stomach. A yell tears from my raw throat and I double over, screaming through my teeth.

“Where. Did. You. Train.”

“In the Northwest,” I gasp.

“Where in the Northwest? Which camp?”

The pain begins to ebb, allowing me to control my mouth. If I tell them what they want, they’ll have no reason to keep me alive. I’m just not sure how much I can tolerate before I verbally vomit the truth along with the threatening bile. H-2 strikes the left side of my face with the back of his hand, sending blinding pain racing from my head into my spine.

“Northwest Seven,” I scream. Shit, at this rate, I’ll tell them everything and be dead within an hour.

Draya’s eyes dim rather than brighten with the information. “Now we’re getting somewhere. Who was with you?”

“Other recruits. There was a whole truckload of us, plus all the kids already there.”

She narrows her gaze before turning on her heel and leaving the room, returning a few moments later with a tablet. “Several soldiers left that camp unauthorized, including the commander. Who was your commander, and where is he now?”

What the hell? First, I’m not telling her anything about Cyrus, even if she tortures me, but second… “Don’t you know who the commander was?”

Her only response is an unblinking stare.

The open-palmed slap doesn’t hurt any less as it rocks my head to the side. The stakes are too high now, and I manage to keep my mouth shut. “Answer the commander,” H-2 snarls.

I bite my lips together and prepare for the next blow, another backhand across my face. In an instant, the face of the first girl I shot to save Marcus’s life flashes before me. I close my eyes and do my best to stand a little straighter and take the next strike as penance for her. The fist in the gut is for the boy I killed, and I crumple to the floor. The boot to my ribs is for the kids blown up when the explosives went off. I hear the first crack, more than feel it. What they’re doing to me pales in comparison to what I did. I can take this, I deserve it. But I can’t prevent the small whimpers from escaping with each kick until the merciful darkness comes to take me again.


The complete series:

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Book One, The Union, is only 99¢ for a limited time!

 


About the Author

T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.

T.H. loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, bad lip-reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.

When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California, with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, affectionately referred to as “the puppycat.”

You can find T.H. online at http://thhernandez.com

Author Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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