Monday, 19 December 2016

Book Review: Ayden's Choice by Sam Felix*

It's been some time since I published a book review post, hasn't it? Which is pretty embarrassing considering this blog actually started life as a book blog, before quickly morphing into a lifestyle blog. I recently ran a poll over on Twitter to determine if you guys would be interested in weekly book reviews in 2017. And the answer was almost unanimously yes! So to sort of get the ball rolling, although the weekly reviews won't start till January, I'm here today to share with you my thoughts on Ayden's Choice*, a novel by Sam Felix.

Ayden's Choice, by Sam Felix, follows teenager Ayden as he embarks on an emotional journey to leave behind his abusive father; in the hopes of a better future, and the opportunity to save his mother and younger sister. What Ayden doesn't realise, when he is mysteriously called away to join a group of elite hackers who use their internet savvy for good, is the damage that will be bought upon his mother in his absence; and so we see him wrestle with his love for his mother, his hatred for his father, and his ambition for his future.

This book screamed 'danger' from the moment I picked it up and, as I put it down some hours later, I felt shell-shocked, and a little distressed. Make no mistake, this is not an easy read. I mean, when is a novel about domestic violence ever going to be a comfortable, easy read? But this is made all the more awful by the involvement of a police officer, and the framing of two innocents. It really is a novel that, in my opinion, toes the line between being young adult fiction and adult fiction; between being too much and just enough.

Sam Felix, author of Ayden's Choice, doesn't shy away from giving the, at times, gruesome details of the violent attack Lora, Ayden's mother, suffers at the hands of her husband, Frank, when Ayden doesn't return home one night. And it doesn't make for comfortable reading. But it inspires in you that same feeling I imagine Ayden had upon learning of the attack; the feeling of wanting retribution, of wanting the right person to pay for this. As Ayden, and the unknown group who pulled him out of the abusive family situation in the first place, work hard to uncover the violent police officer for who he really is, you are left egging them on, eager for justice to be done.

As the chapters alternate between Lora and Ayden, the story moves along at quite a quick pace. And with every chapter ending on a cliffhanger, it's hard to put this down for the night! The beautiful black and white illustrations, scattered throughout the paperback book, really help bring the story to life; giving us images of the characters we encounter throughout. The decision to illustrate Ayden's mother, lying in her hospital bed and covered from head to toe in bandages, could not have been an easy one, but it is Lora that really drives the whole story; Lora, and Ayden's love for her.

Ayden's Choice isn't a book I'd have picked for myself, but I've learnt from this that sometimes I need to step outside of my comfort zone. 'Cos amazing things can happen when you do. I went into Ayden's Choice with no expectations, and I came out reeling. I felt like I'd been through the emotional wringer with this book, but I enjoyed reading every page. I loved joining Ayden on his journey out of an awful situation, and I'm crossing all of my fingers and toes for a sequel! Now, if that isn't the sign of a good book, I don't know what is!

You can buy Ayden's Choice, in Kindle or Paperback format, on Amazon now.

*Products sent to me in exchange for a review. All words and opinions are my own.

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