Official Review: Shadowline Drift by Alexes Razevich

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Katherine E Wall
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Official Review: Shadowline Drift by Alexes Razevich

Post by Katherine E Wall » 30 Jun 2014, 09:35

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Shadowline Drift" by Alexes Razevich.]
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In Shadowline Drift, author Alexes Razevich creates a reality which encompasses and then transcends our perception of reality. Published by Razor Street Publishing, this, for lack of a better term, magical realism novel invites the reader into the rich, dense Amazon, which nurtures secrets and hidden tribes.

We join the protagonist, Jake Kendrick, as he begins negotiations with a newly-discovered, tribe, the Tabna, for the mineral benesha, which appears to be a solution to world hunger. But remember, in this world, things are seldom what they appear to be, including the main character.

Jake is a fantastic character with depth, motivation, and as required by all protagonists, a flaw. He is an accomplished negotiator, successful, and only three-and-a-half feet tall. However, his physical stature is not his flaw. Instead, his vulnerability lies in his own perception of himself based on his height. This is important, because perception – reality and illusion is a key theme throughout the story. In many ways, Shadowline Drift follows the classic Hero’s Journey. However, Ms. Razevich plays with some of the roles. Combining, for instance, the roles of the mentor and the antagonist within one character, and later introducing a second character who exhibits a similar duality.

It is interesting that the first, Mawgis, is an older male from the Tabna tribe, and the second, Naheyo, is a young female from the Lalunta village. Each is gifted with unusual powers, which at times help and other times hinder Jake’s progress as he follows a journey to save humanity from a trap he unwittingly sprung. This counterpoint between the two characters contributes to Jake’s confusion. Since, he can’t trust his own senses, time, or reality, how can he trust either of them? He finds his touchstone in the anthropologist, Pilar Ramirez. Yet, with her invitation to study the Naheyo culture at stake, can he even trust her?

These are some of the questions, Jake must struggle with as he fights for his own sanity on his quest to save mankind. The reader will find themselves drawn into this fast-paced story with its beautiful imagery, powerful language, realistic setting and authentic, diverse characters. It is obvious, that Ms. Razevich either knows the Amazon well, or did extensive research into the area and the process of interacting with previously uncontacted tribes. She touches on some of the issues threatening the rainforest, and her descriptions color the world without overwhelming the narrative or slowing the pace. This is a delicate balance, often missed by authors. This is writing at its best.

I would be remiss, if I did not mention the quality of the editing, as well. In most books, including traditionally published by the top publishing companies, several typographical and grammatical errors catch my eye. However, in Shadowline Drift, I only noticed two minor typographical errors during my first reading. Neither of these ejected me from the fictive dream. Even on my second read, and with closer inspection, I was unable to detect any more. Now, this is not to say there might not be more, but even during the second reading, I found myself absorbed into the world. A spectacular feat to achieve. Regardless, the editor who worked with the author deserves kudos as well.

I have only one complaint with this book, and it is relatively minor. While I understand that Jake’s perception of himself based on his stature is important to the theme and plot, sometimes, I felt that it was overstated. I think Ms. Razevich can trust her reader’s to make the connection. After all, Jake has lived with this condition for twenty-eight years and is successful in his chosen field. While insecurities do motivate and compel us, they do not tend to enter our conscious thought as often as they seem to with our protagonist. A more subtle approach would have achieved the same story goal, perhaps even more successfully. Still, as I said, this was relatively minor for me, as the story still engrossed me.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a well-researched setting combined with magical world-building. In fact, I recommend, following this author’s journey, as I believe she will be producing even greater work in the future. I intend to buy her other book, Khe, published in 2012, and I look forward to reading subsequent books by Ms. Razevich.
I rate this book 4 out of 4.

***
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Post by gali » 13 Jan 2017, 06:51

It seems like my kind of book. I love magical realism tales and this one sounds perfect. Jake sounds like a fantastic character based on your words. Good job on the review and congratulations to the author for the positive review!
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Post by hsimone » 13 Jan 2017, 07:09

Great review! I love a read with great world building and a mix of genres! I am very impressed that you not only gave the book a second full read, but that the author was able to capture your attention even through the second read. Congratulations on receiving such a positive review!
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Post by Janetleighgreen » 13 Jan 2017, 07:20

Nice review! I'll check this one out, thanks.

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Post by Hneite » 13 Jan 2017, 09:00

A good world building is for me a must, and combining this with a setting where you must question everything is promising. It made my to read list.

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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 13 Jan 2017, 11:11

wow, sounds like you are thoroughly impressed with this novel. Your have very good justification to give this the top rating of 4 stars. Character development and world-building is a difficult challenge. The author sounds quite talented to have done this so well. Sounds like a book that I would enjoy! thank you for your review.
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Post by Rachaelamb1 » 13 Jan 2017, 11:18

Sounds like a fantastic book! I think you gave great advice about making Jake's insecurity more subtle. Focusing a character's thoughts too much on one issue is a pet peeve of mine.
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Post by anushreevaishnav18 » 13 Jan 2017, 11:31

Sounds good. I want to read this . Gud job on the review

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Post by bookowlie » 13 Jan 2017, 12:03

Great review. Although I like books with a strong main character, the magical realism genre is not my cup of tea. Glad you loved the story!
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Post by AA1495 » 13 Jan 2017, 12:04

It's nice that the book is well edited. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Thank You for the great review! ☺

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Post by bluegreenmarina » 13 Jan 2017, 12:11

I love stories set in the mysterious jungles of the Amazon. They frequently tend to have a theme of "anything could be out there" and this book seems to take that theme one step farther into the fantasy realm... what an interesting concept!

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Post by ellieonline03 » 13 Jan 2017, 12:30

There are two elements here that make me want to read it: good world building and a beautiful set of characters. I am most interested in Jake Kendric. He certainly reminds me of Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones. Great job on the review!
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Post by Sarah_Khan » 13 Jan 2017, 12:36

Great job on the detailed review! Although this isn't my typical genre, the way you described the book has me thinking I should give it a chance. :)

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Post by Vermont Reviews » 13 Jan 2017, 12:40

I did enjoy the preview. I think you did a wonderful job with writing the review.
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Post by jungkookblog » 13 Jan 2017, 13:13

Great review! The characters seem very developed!

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