2 out of 4 stars
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Chrome Mountain is a debut novel by Ben Schneider.
It follows an unlikely duo of a disillusioned inventor Trey Raddison and a previously lawless biker Sonya McCall as they become involved in a secret organisation, Chrome Falcon. Chrome Falcon (or as the protagonists call them "the Chromes") have their eye on taking over the USA and taking away the freedom of its citizens. The Chromes are ruthless and have some technology that the government and the ordinary citizens have no idea about. Trey's ordinary days as a bored IT employee and a lonely geek are over when the Chromes want an invention he has already destroyed.
I have given this book two out of four stars. It is categorized under SciFi and Fantasy, however, it is a lot more like an action-packed thriller than a full-on SciFi novel. They main SciFi elements are the technologies that do not currently exist. However, they are a backdrop to the action rather than an in-depth exploration of what such technology would do to the world, and how it might operate. For some readers it is fine, but I am less interested in the action sequences and more in the character development and the science element.
The characters themselves are often interesting but, in my opinion, the author does not always do them justice. For example, quite often a person is repeatedly described only in terms of their ethnicity. This is not very helpful. The dialogue could also be a bit tighter: sometimes I heard the author talking instead of the character (especially during the internal monologues, which often bordered on preachy).
It seemed that the reader was not trusted to make their own conclusions and pick up on characters mood or internal struggle indirectly, for example, through body language and their relationships with other people and their surroundings. There are multiple mentions of God used in a way that made me wonder whether it would be helpful to the prospective readers to let them know that it is a Christian novel rather than a novel that includes Christian characters.
In summary, while this kind of SciFi is not my favourite, it might appeal to people who are into fast-paced action adventure with elements of advanced technology and a religious message. The writing itself could be better, but I feel that, given that this is the author's first novel, he is more than capable of developing his skills further. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
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