The Cranes must battle against insurmountable odds to fight for their freedom, and to be reunited again.
Rating: 3/5 stars
The story begins with Bergden Crane, a regime enforcement officer surrounded by families that are randomly interrogated and imprisoned by the regime.
The Regime is portrayed as a brutal force that won the war against rebels, and now seeks to control every ounce of their citizen’s existence. A dangerous and depressing life seeps into every street corner of Blackwell, with few opportunities for improvement. The supreme Chancellor Kroft rules over everything people do. Prohibited material results in beatings and a brutal jail sentence. Even the average citizen on the street needs to remember the Chancellor’s speeches when questioned, or they are sent to re-education camps.
When their friends get taken, and his wife makes a startling revelation, Bergden begins to question if he can continue to turn a blind eye to the suffering.
Suddenly, Bergden faces the unthinkable, accused of treason; he is separated from his wife and son, having to test his own strength to battle against the challenges constantly thrown his way. On the run, he uses all his wits to figure out how to save his family. People are out to get him, pushing him into the world of those he sought — the rebels.
A year later, working as a pipe fitter in Harvick, Bergden longs to see his family. He is left with few choices, having to once again fight and to kill in hope of making a better life for his family.
The action and drama increases as Bergden fights back against the oppressors, seeing first-hand the atrocities that were occurring everyday against those he had arrested.
What is Bergden Crane willing to do for freedom?
Meanwhile, Alyssa learns more about the people she is living with. Nothing is quite what it appears.
The chain of events leads Alyssa and Bergden to realize how strong they truly are. Both face deathly obstacles for their freedom and to be reunited once again. How far will they go? How much of a price will they pay?
The book switches between the POV of Bergden and Alyssa. We intimately discover the kind of people Alyssa and Bergden are – their motivations for persisting, their struggles, and their morality. Yes, all in the first chapter you get the real sense of who these characters are.
For 10 years life has been cruel, re-education camps and forced propaganda are a daily hurdle. A life devoid of hope. Day after day the same schedule, food, and entertainment.
We see the kind of character Bergden is as he deals with his superiors, as well as his subordinates who relish in hurting anyone they can. Bergden has suppressed his desires for too long, his revulsion to what the city has become, but fearful to show any of this.
“Unemployment meant an entirely different thing in the city of Blackwell under the Regime. It meant you were dead.”‘The Cranes of Blackwell’.
The author sets up a world devoid of basic humanity, lust and human emotion. This morbid existence driving people to take risks, rebel, and join the Remnants.
At first, the story had me intrigued. Alyssa’s fate seemed sealed when a surprising opportunity presented itself. However, it is not what it seems. Bergden and Alyssa have to fight on two battle fronts, quelling their emotions to uncover what is been hidden and to find each other again. Suspense increases as intentions and motivations unfold, revealing that each part of the story held a purpose that lead up to the final result.
Both main characters were easy to connect with at first. Motivations and morals quickly introduced. You get a good sense of the type of people they are, and I was not even half way through the book. There are some grisly scenes that depict the sadistic cruelty of the regime against the coalition, and anyone that does not conform.
The other characters add to the suspenseful tale in this brutal world.
I certainly got the impression this world somewhat mimics a rather historic time in history, and what could have happened to the country if the war was won by the other side…Tweet
Unfortunately, there was something lacking at times that prevented me from becoming fully immersed into this world, and to the characters. The more I read, the more disconnected I felt towards the characters.
The ending felt rushed and implausible. It felt like a satisfying ending was sacrificed so one character could be the ‘hero’ instead of the other.
Although Alyssa went through trials, it just felt like a bit of a leap to how her character turned out.
The story contained some decent action scenes, and comprised of a simple and clear story-line about a husband and wife separated, and their individual journeys to gain both physical and mental strength to carry out what needed to be done.
I would recommend this book to people wanting a quick read that has an easy-to-follow plot. The story is just like any other revolved around a corrupt government, and some choosing to fight back.
3 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Reedsy Discovery, and to J.D Kellner for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
Have any suggestions on what book I should review next? What about your latest project? Drop a link in the comments below on books you would recommend, and I would also be happy to check out books you have written.