Sunday, 12 May 2019

REVIEW - APPARENT POWER - DIAZEM SERIES BY DACIA M ARNOLD

Title: Apparent Power
Series: DiaZem Series
Author: Dacia M Arnold
Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Publisher: Immortal Works
Release Date: 8th February 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
A dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world's population and the effects are apocalyptic. With an even rarer gene, the life of Valerie Russell turns into a shocking race against time. When the human body begins to require more electricity than needed to keep a heart beating, cars lose power, phones no longer function, and planes fall from the sky. Stranded in southern Colorado, a hundred miles from home--and from her two-year-old son-- Valerie must find it within herself to trek the distance with the help of a questionable assembly of ex-military friends of the family. But the awakening has a different effect on Valerie. While others absorb electricity, Valerie's abilities are not as limited, making her the key to unlocking a worldwide genocide of those who were not affected. As she evades the rising totalitarian government, Valerie is also faced with a moral choice: risk failure and attempt to save the masses from the regime's deadly plot or run and preserve only the lives of her family.How does a mother make such an impossible choice?


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I actually had this book recommended to me. The cover basically shows a glowing light bulb, and when I first looked at it, to be totally honest I was a little unimpressed, but that changed when I read the blurb, which I found interesting enough for me to want to read the book. There is already another book within this series but was told I did not need to read that one first, and upon reading the blurb of Reactance I think I would like to read it, and personally think it will be a better read for having read Apparent Power first. The genres I have seen listed for this book are Sci-Fi, Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic which I totally agree with and would add the book also has futuristic elements within it too.

The main character of this book is a 35year old, wife and mother, Valerie Marie Russell who wakes up as normal, still tired, body aching etc. she feels every year of her 35 years, but things are about to change drastically.  Valerie goes about her normal routine meaning she walks into the bathroom to have a shower. When she reaches toward the shower door handle electricity seems to shoot from her fingers to the shower door handle. Valerie naturally pulls her hand back to her. The shock she received didn’t hurt as much as it was more of a surprise than anything else. Then she looks at herself in the mirror and cannot believe what she sees. The image staring back at her in wonder is a much less tired and worn, there’s no skin blemishes, her pregnancy bumps, bulges and weight have also disappeared. She looks in the mirror with wonderment it’s as if her body has gone back in time, speaking of time she is running late so starts rushing, she will have to think of her physical changes later. Valerie is a medical nurse who fills in when hospitals are short staffed, today she is a two hour drive away. Valerie’s husband Scott comments on how good she looks and goes off to work himself, then Valerie gets their 2year old son Caleb ready for the arrival of the nanny, Gia.

As Valerie drives to work its clear something is horrendously wrong when people’s cars just stop, and airplanes begin dropping out of the skies. As she is almost at the small medical centre she is due to work in, she continues on foot. It is there she meets Dr August Wilkes, also a stand in Doctor who seems much older than his looks suggest. They attend the wounded with the help of the medical centre employees Betty and Roy. Naturally all Valerie can think about is whether Caleb is safe at home with Gia. All power has gone down meaning she cannot check in with Gia or contact her husband Scott. It is then Valerie decides she will walk home, but she will need some more supplies and a change of clothes for her journey. As she is in the neighbourhood of her brother Kevin and father Mike that’s where she heads first. Her brother Kevin, nor his wife are at home when she gets there so she lets herself in and goes straight for hiking equipment, backpack, medical supplies, food, weapons etc. Valerie is used to hiking so the walking doesn’t bother her at all. She used to go hiking regularly, it was something her father was very strict with his kids about. He believed they should know how to survive off grid and have survival skills. With some of the items she needs she heads off to her dads. Mike has a small amount of time to attempt to explain what is going on to Valerie and he cryptically keeps saying, “it wasn’t supposed to be you”. It soon becomes clear that Valerie and others like her are being hunted. She has to leave her dads home very quickly, and is to be helped on her journey back to her son by some military friends of her father.

The ”event” has uncovered a gene that had been laying dormant for years in human beings. There are “normal” people, then humans that are classed as conductors and then those with even more power who are called DiaZem. I don’t want to reveal a great deal more as this book is a fantastic read and you are told what details you need to know slowly within the book. Everything is revealed at the right time within the book for it all to make sense.

I really liked Valerie, I loved her morals, the fact she believes everyone to be equal. I also adored the way she stood up for herself, and those around her that she comes to class as friends. There’s a lot of rather, thought provoking material within the book, such as, why certain people should live and others considered inferior are to be wiped out. Valerie has her own strong ideas about what is right and wrong. Valerie has to fake acceptance a few times in the book as to be honest would mean the death of those she loves the most. The book has lots of action, suspense, betrayal and loss, all of which make it an exciting read that you will not want to put down. I managed to read the book in just two sittings. If I could have sat and read as long as I wanted (not being interrupted by chores, making food etc) I would have read this book in one sitting, it was that good”. I also came to adore the other strong female character in the book, Hyka. Hyka is a military medic and is part of SASQUATCH, which you will learn all about when you read the book. I thought the relationship between Valerie and Hyka was really well written. They seemed to start out almost hating each other but become great genuine friends by the end of the book. Valerie also has a fiery relationship with Major who happens to be Hyka’s dad. With Valerie and Major it’s more like a power struggle as well as Major making decisions with a military head whereas Valerie bases her decisions on what she feels to be right in her heart. There were of course other characters I liked such as Dr August Wilkes, Jack McGuire, Griff and Major.

Of course, when you have characters you love on the “good side”, you also have those you love to hate on the “bad side”. The characters that fall under this title and worth mentions are Dr Lucas Jarrett who will stop at nothing to ensure Valerie does his bidding. Then there’s Mike Burton who has kept a lot of information that he should have given to his daughter long before the “event” happened. Max who does have a difficult decision on which side to be on.

I was undeniably pulled right into this book, the world it was set in and its characters. I found the descriptions so good that they made it easy to viaualise whatever was being described. The book flowed well at a fairly medium pace and explained the whole genetic differences really well in a way I could understand it and work out which characters had the different genes quite easily. The book could be read by a YA audience but I honestly think this one will do really well with an older age range of reader also. The well written book style reminded of Steven Konkoly and a little like Grace Hamilton. It characters that you would say were preppers, ready for any possibility that could arise.
When I finished the book my first thoughts were, Wow! what can I say? Amazing read, looking forward to more!
To sum up I certainly wish to read more about books in this series. I would also wish to take a look at any other titles written by this author. When can I read more??


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

How many books will be in the DiaZem series? 
The series consists of 3 books following Valerie Russell, the heroine of the trilogy. There is also one companion novella written separate if the main series. Those characters will merge into the main story by book 3.

When should I read Reactance? 
The fun thing about Reactance is that it is more of a bonus story. If you never read it, you can still read the trilogy and not really miss too much. Stephenie Meyer did something similar with “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” and her Twilight series. I originally wrote the novella as a teaser to book 1, but it follows the timeline between books 1 and 2. If you were going to read it at all, any time before the 3rd book is perfect.

How did you get your ideas for Apparent Power? 
Apparent Power is a mash up of books and TV shows I was digging at the time and a fruitless search for adult dystopian novels like the ones written for YA.
I joined the army at 19, so while reading Divergent, I related a great deal to the main character, Tris, in the fact of being so young and going through this rigorous military training. When I finished the series, I tried doing a search for “adult version of Divergent” or “books for adult fans of Divergent” and came up with more YA novels.
So, I decided to write this book I could not find. At the time, Revolution was on TV and the plot circled around the world being without electricity. I am a sucker for interesting dystopian plot lines so I adapted it to something more original and took off with this adult story.

How did you choose the word “DiaZem” for the title for your series? 
For everyone who is not an electrician, Apparent Power is an electric term used to describe anything with power. This is also a pun on the main character being a mother and having power. The original title of the book was DiaZem, but I knew if I saw this on a shelf at the bookstore I would not pick it up. Dia is a latin word for “between” and Zem is a take on the Turkish word, Zemin, meaning ground. So, in keeping with the electrical theme, DiaZem is essentially a “grounding rod”.

Did you have to any specific research for Apparent Power?
If so what/how did you do it? I did a little research regarding metabolic science as well as electricity and how to demagnetize a magnet. Because I gave the body an alternative way of absorbing and expelling energy instead of taking in food and expelling calories through exercise, I wanted to keep within a believable set of rules which the reader could really buy into. All of the science mentioned in the book is based on real life principles which govern those systems.

Who designed the Cover of your book? Do you have a lot of input into the process? 
Max Seidel of Immortal Works Press, my former publisher, designed the cover where I had a huge hand in the dream of this cover. Like the popular dystopian novels, the subsequent covers will be different in color but maintain the light bulb for continuity.

If you had to choose to be a character from Apparent Power, which would you be and why? 
Hyka is most everyone’s favorite character. She comes off very intimidating, but her humor is hilariously subtle and dry. She was likely my favorite to write which is my much of Shifting Power, the second in the series, we will see a lot more of her.

Do you, basic plot/plan for each individual book in the series, before you actually begin writing it all out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I wrote Apparent Power beginning to end without an outline. I followed the formula of many YA dystopian novels, to include a moment before the climax where you have no idea how the main character could ever get out of their situation, I just had no idea what each plot point actually looked like going into it. The sequel, Shifting Power, which is due out November 5th, 2019, required much outlining to keep consistent with the previous story and new stakes.

How long did it take you to write Apparent Power? 
I began writing Apparent Power March 2015. I signed it to a publisher on December 2017. In between I took a solid 9 months off a writing while I transitioned between promotions at work. I never wrote anything before, but I did a lot in between which will be available in a collection in late May.

Did you have to do a lot of research for your DiaZem series? 
I am doing a fair bit of research regarding country wide disaster planning, past disaster clean up, nationwide surveillance and power grids. Being the leader of a rebellion is hard and there is so much to know and learn even as an author.

What can we expect from you next and in the future? 
The following titles are currently in the works:
Brightest Firefly: A Collection of Short Works May 28, 2019
Shifting Power (Book Two of the DiaZem Trilogy) November 5, 2019
Memoirs of a Dacia December 6th 2019
And a fantasy adventure The Hunt For Bheanoira 2020

When can we expect more of the DiaZem series?
Shifting Power, Book Two comes out November 5th 2019 and the final installation, Taking Power, will be out Fall 2020.

Where can your readers follow you?
  



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