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Joseph, a young assassin drafted into a longstanding shadow war in which loved ones are routinely killed for no apparent reason but revenge, falls in love with a Canadian girl and attempts to escape to a new life with her.
Joseph, the would-be hero and narrator of Shane's first novel, doesn't know what he's fighting for, only that if he doesn't do his job, the "evil" deeds committed by the other side won't be answered. Knives are preferred over guns. The best weapons are his bare hands, which he uses to choke a targeted woman to death outside her Brooklyn brownstone in the book's opening scene. Though the war has been going on for some time, most people seem to be unaware of it, even though high-school kids are instructed on their future roles. (You have to be 18 to become a soldier; no one under the age of 18 can be killed.) After he falls for Maria during a botched job in Montreal—they meet cute in front of a porno theater—he tells her what he does and breaks all kinds of other rules to be with her, especially after learning she's carrying his baby son. He also violates code to spend time with his two best friends and fellow killers, Michael and Jared. There are other assignments in the war, we learn. You can also work intelligence or be a "breeder" leading a domestic life to keep the ranks replenished. Credibility is not Shane's strong suit. There are too many question marks and unlikelihoods hanging over the plot, and over 17-year-old Maria. Give the author credit for sustaining the story as well as he does, and for devising a compelling finish. But he hasn't satisfactorily worked out his premise, one reason why the paranoia played up in the title is never felt on the page. Having introduced the rule that if you have a child before you turn 18, you have to turn it over to the other side, Shane does nothing with it. Maybe he's saving that for the sequel he sets up.
Senseless individuals carry out a senseless sort-of-secret war, with not a true hero or even a protester in sight.
Posted September 27, 2011
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All wars have rules!
1. No killing innocent bystanders.
2. No killing anyone under the age of eighteen.
3. Have a child before you are eighteen, the child must be turned over to the other side.
BREAK THE RULES YOU BECOME THE TARGET!
Children are indoctrinated at the age of 16 and begin their war training. On their eighteenth birthday they become the hunters and the hunted in the war of "us" vs. "them".
The war has gone on for generations, fought all over the world, with two distinct sides "good" and "evil". The terms vary based on which side you are on. Reasons for the war change depending on who you ask. Every killing is done in way to look random or like an accident right out in the field of innocents. Plus the "us" and the "them" are not even clearly identified by those fighting the war. There is one rule everyone knows, Paranoia will keep you alive.
When I finished this book, I said "Wow" and then sat back to contemplate the story I had just read. The news is filled daily with crime, scandal, and war. Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, gang wars, drug wars, political wars, but to think a war like the one described in this book never entered my mind. Many wars are entered into without exit strategies or based on unclear information but the fact that this war has divided two factions without even a clear inkling WHY? scares me more than any of the other wars.
This book takes us with Joe on his journey in this war. It is definitely an intense suspense thriller that at times will have you on the edge of your seat, but it is so much more than that. Children of Paranoia is a book that will make you stop and think.
What really knocked me for a loop is that this is Trevor Shane's first novel. He has created the character of Joe with so many layers, it is almost like peeling an onion and there is still more. He also surrounds Joe with other wonderful characters that the reader becomes invested in with a few short sentences. Joe's mother is just one of those characters, her actions were both shocking and understandable.
This story is heart stopping one moment and tear jerking in another. Shane has created a masterpiece you will pick up and not put down until the final word and then you will say "Wow" and sit back contemplate this story and then want to tell your friends all about it. Just like I did!!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Dutton, a division of The Penguin Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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Posted December 1, 2011
Posted November 4, 2011
Posted October 23, 2011
Wow! What a book that took me out of my comfort zone and I loved it!! A semi dystopian book with a love story twist, what more could a girl ask for? Written in the form of journal entries and a letter to a child, I connected with Joseph our main character from the beginning and was just waiting for him to find the love that would change his life.
Before you get to the love story, you must read quite a bit of guts and gore. If you have a weak stomach for death, then this may not be the book for you. But if you can handle it, there is more to this story than a man who is killing people. The bigger story of trying to find where one fits into a bigger picture is something that everyone tackles at one point in their life. Was he on the side of good or evil? Did we find out or do I still wonder? This made the book deep and it made me fall in love with the story even more.
Head to your closest store and grab this one. I noticed in Goodreads it said #1 - so is it the first in a series, I sure hope so!
Posted October 18, 2011
I was very excited to read this book. You all know how much I love dystopian so I was very excited to find that Children of Paranoia is dystopian for adults. I really, really liked this book. It did take me a little while to get into it though. The beginning of the book is very violent. It's not violent without reason, which is why I was able to get into it. The main character, Joseph, is fighting a war so the violence is understandable. I would have had more of an issue if the violence seem gratuitous, which it doesn't.
At its core, this is a story about protecting the things and people that you love, something most of us can understand. Once I got through the beginning, I really got sucked into the story of Joseph and Maria and how with their growing love, Joseph begins to realize that he's tired of fighting the war and he wants a different life for himself. This isn't a war or action story only; it's way more than that. It's a human story with social commentary.
This is the beginning of a trilogy but the end of the book is neat and tidy but still made me want to read the next books. I NEED to find out what happened and I cannot wait for the other books to come out!
Posted October 16, 2011
Posted October 11, 2011
You read about death every day, see the reports on television. Some are called 'accidents.' The murders seem senseless and go unsolved. Did you know, however, there is a secret war going on all around you, every day? It is being waged by two sides intent on killing the other. "Children of Paranoia" introduces you to this war. It will show you some of the participants, but the reason behind the killings are, well, as one character says, "One side is good, one side is evil."
Twenty-five year old Joe grew up with family deaths before learning about the war. When he turned eighteen, he became an assassin for his side. He followed the rules and made his kills. After nearly getting two of his friends and himself killed in New Jersey, his contact sends Joe to Montreal for a job. While tracking his quarry, Joe meets Maria and love blooms. Unfortunately, the job doesn't go well and an innocent is almost killed. After a period of recuperation followed by a few more assignments, Joe returns to Montreal to finish what he started and to see Maria. By this time, he's sick of the war and wants out. Maria reveals two devastating pieces of news: she's pregnant and she's only seventeen, which by the rules of the war means her baby gets handed over to the other side. Joe finishes his last job and he and Maria run, knowing they will be pursued by not only his side, but the enemy too.
This story is an interesting but poignant metaphor for the senselessness of killing, be it by rival street gangs, feuding families, or entire countries.
It's written in a clinical manner, portraying the war as always existing, and never ending, with nobody really understanding why certain people need to be killed. It shows that while the majority of mankind lives normal lives, certain individuals are recruited to kill or to orchestrate and assist the killers. This is a powerful story, one where you ask for an explanation, but after the last chapter, you wind up looking at certain aspects of life and wondering about the point of them.
Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, author of "Beta" for Suspense Magazine
Posted September 10, 2011
Joe is a soldier in an underground war, but he doesn't know over what the war is being fought. All he knows is that he's good and 'they' are evil. Joe meets a civilian woman and accidentally pulls her into the war with him. To escape a horrible end, they have to live on the run from everything and everybody they know.
Though this is considered a Thriller, it's much more than that. There's commentary about the confused state of our world, and a story about a young family trying to make a life for themselves. Children of Paranoia is a page-turner that makes the reader think. Great first novel by Trevor Shane - looking forward to reading more by him.
Posted August 12, 2011
For seven years, twenty-five years old Joe has fought in the secret war. The adversaries conceal the combat from the public through supposed horrific accidents or inexplicable violent acts. Thus civilians remain ignorant. A dedicated assassin, Joe believes he fights on the righteous side of good though he does not understand the underlying cause of the war only the other side is evil. He adheres strictly to the rules of engagement that he is not to kill an innocent bystander as collateral damage is unacceptable and he is not to kill anyone under the age of eighteen as assassinating a child is unacceptable too. Joe knows if he breaks the commandments he becomes the enemy of his side.
His last assignment went terribly wrong so his handler punishes Joe by tasking him to perform a dangerous kill in Montreal. However, Joe's frozen heart melts instantly when he meets Maria. He no longer can kill at random. To stay alive and keep his beloved safe, Joe flees as his former associates hunt him as he is now considered an evil traitor. In his attempt to escape Joe learns the third rule of engagement on his side of good is agents retire only in body bags.
Although the premise seems over the top of the St. Joseph's Oratory; fans will enjoy this exciting twisting thriller while pondering who is good and evil in terms of alleged patriots and terrorists. The story line is fast-paced from the first kill to the final confrontation. Though a lack of how Joe became indoctrinated to believe his side is the good killers would have helped anchor reader support of him, Trevor Shane provides an engaging thought provoking tale.
Posted July 15, 2012
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Posted November 13, 2011
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Posted January 4, 2012
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