Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Regina Shen: Resilience Book 1 by Lance Erlick (Review and Giveaway!)

Every year I discover a few books I consider gems written by indie authors. After reading the description of the Regina Shen series I was intrigued and pleasantly surprised by how much I was taken in by this story and loved reading this debut to what promises to be a heart-pounding and thrilling series.

Book Details:

Book Title:  Regina Shen:  Resilience (Book 1) by Lance Erlick
Category:  YA fiction, 227 pages
Genre:  Sci-fi / adventure / dystopian
Publisher:  Finlee Augare Books
Release date:  March 2015
Content Rating:  PG (no bad language or sex, some violence)

Book Description: 

Regina Shen is an outcast forced to fend for herself in a world that bans books and artifacts from before the Great Collapse. An approaching storm could be the least of her problems. The World Federation condemns Regina and her family to live on the seaward side of barrier walls. Those walls were built to hold back rising seas caused by abrupt climate change and as a place to dump outcasts.

A hurricane threatens to destroy Regina’s world, tearing her from sister, mom, and home. Now Federation agents claim she has unique DNA that could prevent human extinction. It's too bad she doesn't trust them enough to barter fairly, let alone with her life. Three-hundred-plus-year-old Grand Old Dames rule the all-female Federation using a rigid caste system. Their notorious Department of Antiquities, under the command of Chief Inspector Joanne Demarco, polices barrier walls, destroys knowledge from the past to suppress dissent, and pursues Regina for her genome.

Regina survives by her wits on swampy islands and thrives on salvage from sunken cities, including illegal print books from before the Federation. With her photographic (eidetic) memory, she defies Antiquities by consuming salvaged books not available in the Federation, which makes her an outcast even among her exiled peers. With Antiquities in pursuit, Regina fights to stay alive and avoid capture while hunting for her family. Does she have the resilience to survive both the storm and Antiquities?

​Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Every year I discover a few books I consider gems written by indie authors. After reading the description of the Regina Shen series I was intrigued and pleasantly surprised by how much I was taken in by this story and loved reading this debut to what promises to be a heart-pounding and thrilling series. Yes, this one was a gem!

As I began reading, I was immediately pulled into a dystopian world where a Great Collapse occurred 300 years earlier as a result of abrupt climate change, rising seas and open warfare. This caused society to build huge concrete walls around all continents to hold back the rising seas. It's a world made up of only females (it's not clear what happened to the male population) with a caste system. Regina Shen and her family are Marginals, outcasts who live on the other side of the wall where there are swampy islands, genetically enhanced alligators and bounty hunters who kidnap young girls into slavery.

Just as Katniss stands out with her bravery and kindness in The Hunger Games, Regina Shen is a character one is not soon to forget. She doesn't set out to be a hero, but she is brave, kind and resilient in the face of tragedy and many obstacles. When the Federation discovers that her DNA can solve the dilemma of their fertility crisis, Regina is hunted ruthlessly. She uses her wits and survival skills to outrun them and manages to stay hidden with the help of Mo-Mere, her wise teacher.

What makes this novel so good are the well-developed characters and the world-building. Regina is a good role model for teens in that she stands up to what is right, does not give up in searching for her family and does not wallow in self-pity. She uses her knowledge from the forbidden reading of print books that have been banned, but that she salvages from the sunken cities below her swampy world. The author succeeds well in creating a character we come to admire and want to see how far she gets in unsettling the ruling class.

Joanne Demarco is her rival. A woman who has risen from the bottom of the caste system and is now Chief Inspector hunting for Regina so she can continue to rise in her pursuit for power and glory. But these are not cookie-cutter characters. They are complex with motivations and aspirations anyone can relate to. The author has created the perfect rival for Regina because Demarco understand Regina's world and Regina understands how to outwit her. 

As I said before, the world-building is amazing. I could feel the oppressive humid heat of the swamps, envision the islands with scavenged goods for survival, smell the fishy channels as Regina manoeuvred her log boat against the currents, and see the Great Wall as it towered high above the starving Marginals who flocked to it after the storm destroyed their homes. 

This first book is a great start to the series and I immediately began to read the second one as I finished this one. As a reader, we now want to know what Regina will do to find her younger sister. We are also left with the mystery of Regina's mother and why she disappeared. Do not be deterred by the book's cover which I don't think does the book justice. I'm not fond of depictions of angry youngsters with guns and it truly does not depict Regina's true character. A symbol, like the one of the cover of The Hunger Games or the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu would be more fitting. 

Regina Shen: Resilience will go on my list of best books read in 2016. I am reading all four books in the series and my review of Regina Shen: Vigilance Book 2 will be posted on June 28. If you like well-written dystopian novels don't miss this series. It will not disappoint!

To read more reviews, please visit Lance Erlick's page on iRead Book Tours

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

Meet the author: 

He was raised by a roaming aerospace engineer, growing up in various parts of the United States and Europe, as well as traveling through Asia. He took to stories as his anchor, including the works of Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein, and has been writing since age eleven.

Growing up, he was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future.

In an ideal world, Lance would find time loops where he could step out for a week at a time to read and write. Then he would return to the moment he left, without life getting in the way. Of course, since everyone would have the same ability, he suspects life would still sneak in.

 Lance is also the author of short stories and novelettes.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter  
 Facebook   Goodreads

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