Official Review: Maelstrom by Richard Paolinelli

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Official Review: Maelstrom by Richard Paolinelli

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[Following is the official review of "Maelstrom" by Richard Paolinelli.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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By Richard Paolinelli

We begin the story with the tale of Dr. Steven Collins who inadvertently caused a massive war and the isolation of Earth. The scientist was trying to create a force field to protect the Earth from meteorites and other space threats. However, in an awful twist of fate, the creation of the force field flung Steven into the future and we rejoin the Earth decades into the future, in the middle of an interstellar war.

Steven exits his travel inside a classroom, where we begin to understand how this force field has affected daily life. San Francisco is the site of extensive nuclear fallout, prompted by a second test of the force field by Steven’s brother.

Steven has to come to terms that he has caused the deaths of almost the entire human race, and possibly their total extinction in the future. He decides the best course of action is to leave the planet and confront the enemy Andras.

Our main antagonist is Andras, a wizard-like being who has technology to control minds and who takes sadistic pleasure in torturing the agents sent to destroy him. His most recent acquisition is a young woman named Alexis, his current favorite.

While Steven is exiting the planet, we learn more about Andras, our malicious and elusive enemy. We learn that he has a deep and abiding hatred for our protagonist, and would like nothing more than to get his hands on him. He has severe radiation burns that disfigure him, but his intellect has increased tenfold. He created a space station orbiting Jupiter and terraformed Europa, killing several native species and replacing them with some created by him. He has a confrontation with a highly intelligent group of extraterrestrials who drive him out of their valley.

We follow Steven in his travels through the station. He gets ambushed along the way by a young woman who had been captured by Andras. Alexis has been tortured continuously in Andras’ care, but through a spontaneous attack from Steven, she was released from his brainwashing. She helped Steven neutralize the station and pick up the chase on one of Jupiter’s moons. Eventually, they chase Andras back to Earth and follow him through the shield that covers the Earth.

The ending to the book does not need to be repeated, I need to leave some surprises for you!

I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. This book was well written, with excellent flow to it. The author uses a few perspective changes, but not to the point where we forget who the main character is. It is not an overly long story, it includes about twenty-two chapters. I enjoyed reading through Steven’s dilemma. The remaining humans on the planet view him as a monster because his force field instigated nuclear strikes that scorched the earth. However, we begin to see the future humans’ minds change, in light of Steven’s dedication to helping them defeat Andras and his original intentions regarding the shield.

I cannot give this book four stars because of the few flaws in the plot line I encountered. Some of the language is repetitive, for example: “tendrils of energy peeled off the field and met in a floating ball of energy. ” The use of energy is used several times, and while the usage is correct, I feel like it could have been more descriptive. There were also some good attempts at twists within the story. Unfortunately, they were very transparent and easily guessed, but did not detract from the overall plot. I am happy to recommend this book. It has some darker parts to the plot, including the millions of deaths caused by the nuclear fire, and the descriptions of the tortures Andras used. However, the language is mild, and this is only described a few times.

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Latest Review: "A Mirror Among Shattered Glass (Book One of the Supernatural London Underground series)" by Romarin Demetri
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