3 out of 4 stars
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Nowadays, when we hear "the wall", we probably think less about Pink Floyd and more about the current POTUS. Some Guy's book, The Wall, Guardian's Redemption, does feature the latter, though not as much as you would think. In this sc-fi/fantasy book, five members of an elite special ops team face a variety of tense, high-stakes situations, including providing security for President Jonathan “JR” Rothchild's wife and two children during the unveiling of the highly anticipated wall. This ceremony, of course, ends up going awry, thereby setting off a chain of events that eventually lead to the book's inevitable climax.
Led by Forge "Gunns" Qaletaqa, the Wrecking Crew, consisting of Thurston "Scorpio" Wong, Ollie "Terminator" McDonald, Noam "Bananas" Dylan, and Desmond "DMoney" Jackson, faces demons both spectral and mental. Gunns in particular suffers a crisis of conscience, rethinking the way he has done things and led his crew before an integral part of the tome causes him to look inward. Ultimately, this book is as much about redemption as it is about "catching the bad guys".
The Wall starts off with a bang as we see Gunns being tortured for information in a prologue that actually works as more of an epilogue for the first chapter. Everything from Chapter Two onward continues consecutively after the prologue. I'm sorry to say that while the book as a whole was a great read, I was disappointed when the action decreased somewhat after the excitement of the first two sections. Even so, I would still say that the action and suspense had a good balance with each other. As a big horror fan, my favorite parts were when the team fought supernatural entities. The author did a superb job of building the suspense, and I felt goosebumps more than once along the way.
I also really liked the members of the Wrecking Crew. In such a short book (89 .pdf pages), character development often suffers due to more attention being given to moving the plot forward. To an extent, this book's protagonists also got short shrift, but I was pleased that Some Guy (the actual pseudonym used by the author) was cognizant enough to give many of the characters their own idiosyncrasies. Gunns, for instance, chews toothpicks, and Bananas suffers from fear-induced stuttering. With a name like “DMoney”, one would think that Desmond would speak “Ebonics”, but he actually speaks in very cultured and clipped tones. I was also pleased that just like any group of men who spend a great deal of time together, the members of the team would not only joke amongst themselves but also squabble. It was these little things that allowed me to feel close enough to the crew members to actually care what happened to them both individually and as a team. Even though the peripheral characters weren't painted quite as well, they were all believable. By the same token, the writer also did a pretty good job setting up the scenes, and I could always picture where the action was taking place.
The writing in The Wall was simple, though not elementary. The speech was especially well done, with each character talking like a real person. Unfortunately, the author's use of grammar was less stellar. The book was so good that the errors didn't detract from it much, but there were many instances of incorrect punctuation, missing or extra words, and misspellings or incorrect word usage (like “of” when it should have been “off”, in one instance). More distracting were the few instances where the author used the first-person pronouns “me” and “I” even though the book was written in third-person.
On Amazon, this book is also noted as a graphic novella, but I would say that it's more like an illustrated novel because it doesn't resemble a comic book as much as graphic novels generally do. The drawings are few and far between but pretty well done. I will note that they are styled much like the graphics in comics though. However, there's not much in the way of a background in the pictures, instead focusing more on the character noted in the scene. I miss picture books from my childhood, so I thought that they were a nice addition, but the book could have stood on its own without them.
As much as I enjoyed reading this book, however, there was one thing that really took away from my overall enjoyment. Both the epilogue and Chapter One end in such a way that I wondered what happened next, but I never got the answers. For the rest of the book, I wondered how the characters got out of the predicaments that they were in at the ends of these chapters and was hoping to find the answers, which kept me from fully submerging myself in the story. Since this book is the first in what I assume will be a series, I was hoping that the answers would be found in the next book. However, the excerpt for the second book - which followed the end of this tale - seemed to indicate that it would be a new story with new characters, so I likely won't find my answers there either. As a result, I'm left with a slightly bitter taste and feeling of untied ends.
In summation, I felt that The Wall was a very good book that could have been phenomenal had it not been for a few missteps. If I could give half-points, this tome would get 2.5 points, but since I cannot, I will simply give it 3 out of 4 stars because I feel that the good trumps the bad. I think the book was less sci-fi/fantasy (as Amazon lists it) and more supernatural with whispers of horror, so I recommend it for fans of those genres. I also think that readers who enjoy brothers-in-arms stories or tales of redemption will enjoy it. Please also note that there are many scenes of graphic violence, not to mention vulgar language, so those who don't care for such things should probably keep a wall between themselves and this book.
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