1 out of 4 stars
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Raging Falcon by Stephen Perkins is a political thriller novel set in 2063.
Jim Keogh has been incarcerated for most of his life due to false murder charges. Now there is a political battle to put him on the unsustainable list and end his life. On his last night to live, the prison guards beg Old Jim to tell them his story. It is a story involving his father’s political schemings and dealings with terrorism and black magic. His father is a ruthless man who has little to do with his family. Something changes when Jim is a teenager. All of a sudden his father is meddling in his life, making decisions that will impact Jim forever.
This book is not anything like what I expected. Because it is listed as a young adult novel and set in the future, I was expecting a typical young adult dystopian story. It does not fit either of those categories well. First of all, it is both violently and sexually graphic. There are numerous sex scandals, murders, and instances of rape. Additionally, there is liberal use of strong language with the F-word being one of the more tame words used. All of this makes the book highly unsuitable for the young adult crowd. Furthermore, even though the story starts out in 2063, the majority of it is focused on Old Jim’s past which is our modern day time. There is no real dystopian feel to the story since it is talking about events like Benghazi, Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and the Boston Marathon bombing. I would describe the book as a paranormal conspiracy theory for adults.
The pacing is fast and there is a lot of action. Unfortunately, there are so many characters to keep track of that the fast pace makes it harder to understand what is happening. I was confused for most of the book because I could not figure out who's who. Some of this is due to the amount of minor characters in the book, but another reason I found is because the characters have numerous titles they go by. For instance, Jim’s father is sometimes referred to by his first name, his last name, the major, the magus, and I believe he is also called the black pope (though I never was certain of that). Add several names to the other characters and readers are left scratching their head in confusion.
I am disappointed by the lack of any relatable or likable characters. The only remotely likable character is Jim, but he actually has such a small role in the book, despite being the protagonist. Although even if he had a larger part, he lacks personality. His one likable quality is that he is not evil. In reality, the main character is Jim’s father, who is utterly despicable. Most of the other characters are just as bad. By the middle of the story, I really grew tired of reading about all these horrible people. It was so depressing!
I have to address the fact that there are grammatical errors. Similar sounding words are sometimes misused. For example, then is used instead of than or chopping instead of chomping. There is also an odd stylistic choice for setting off a character’s thoughts. The author uses an ellipsis at the end of their thoughts instead of using italics. Actually, the author uses ellipses frequently in the dialogue as well which is quite distracting.
My rating for Raging Falcon is 1 out of 4 stars. Despite disliking the characters, I would have given the book a higher rating if it had been well written. The overall confusion of the story makes it impossible for me to recommend it to anyone. A reader should never have to flip back and forth between pages to figure out what is happening.
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