First of all, I have to say I am so proud of LM Preston. Bandits is her third young adult novel, and her writing continues to improve. She is voracious in spreading the word about her work from attending the BookExpo America in New York City to interacting on a daily basis with her fans on Twitter. I highly recommend following her at: http://twitter.com/LM_Preston
As a small, independent publisher, I cannot commend LM enough for the amount of time and level of dedication she puts into her promotional efforts. LM reached out to me to review Bandits as a part of the online launch party in celebration of the book's June 1st release. After reviewing LM's previous titles The Pack and Explorer X-Alpha, I readily agreed to participate.
LM is a rarity because she writes for teenage boys. So many young adult titles are aimed at a female demographic, and it is refreshing to see an author go after an audience that is not considered "book-friendly." It is an uphill battle to connect with potential readers who are not known to frequent bookstores or libraries. However, LM carries the torch for young guys who are looking for something to read on their Kindles, Nooks and iPads.
What is great about LM's creative approach is that she intertwines a meaningful message amid the fistfights and verbal posturing common among most adolescent guys. In Bandits, she examines the damaged relationship between Daniel and his father, Rayne. The narrative begins with the murder of Rayne, a known criminal mastermind. However, before his untimely death, he was desperately trying to extricate himself from such a dangerous lifestyle. Daniel resented his father's show of weakness in this most macho of cultures. Needless to say after this act of violence, Daniel's emotions are sent into a tumultuous upheaval. He hates his father. He loves his father. He misses his father. He doesn't understand his father. He is his father.
Throughout the course of the story, Daniel tries to work out his interior confusion while unknowingly becoming a better man in the process. If his feelings weren't enough to deal with, he also has to save his planet from utter destruction. Luckily, he has help along the way. His cousin, Faulk, is a runaway pilot who wants to put the family back together. He is a source of undying support for Daniel, but also an ego-centered rival when it comes to affections of Jade, a sharp-tongued beauty attracted to both boys. Not to mention, Daniel's intrepid little brother, Nickel, plays a vital role in restoring his sibling's psyche. While the supporting cast is there for Daniel in his quest, ultimately the responsibility for their fate rests with him.
LM excels in the world of science fiction. There are many references to classic archetypes. The power to restore a planet - the pakeet - is reminiscent of Star Trek's Genesis project. The creepy, crawly vines are a nod to the devil's snare in Harry Potter. The aliens on Purgas remind me of those encountered by Star Wars' Obi Wan Kenobi on Kamino. While the whole pirate aspect is a nod to the adventures of Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. As always, LM brings her own unique twist to the spectacular imagery of the genre.
At times, the detailed descriptions of each and every movement of a character slows the action down a tad. The book sustains momentum when chapters are kept to around five pages. When paragraphs get too wordy in terms of cliff features and plant life, I couldn't wait to get through them and get back to the witty, snappy dialogue. The verbal interaction among her young cast is where LM excels.
Overall, Bandits is more than capable of stealing a teenage boy's attention.
Bandits by LM Preston is available for $14.99 at Amazon.com and at LMPreston.com.
Review copy provided by LM Preston's Launch Party for Bandits.
Also by LM Preston: The Pack and Explorer X-Alpha
Congratulations to our winner: Victoria Zumbrum!