Sorry with the late reviews! This and the sequel have to complete ending. Check out here, to learn more.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Keepers: WWIII by Rick Friar
Synopsis From The Book
The Keepers, the first installment of an ambitious sci-fi trilogy, plays out global warfare in the not-too-distant future. This initial volume in Friar’s complex and thus far engaging trilogy is epic not only in its breadth, but in the scope of its inventiveness. The author tackles a mix of current environmental, social, and economic trends, playing out how they might converge in the future. Friar’s vision, however, isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s 2039, and the wildly ambitious German ruler Geiseric and his henchmen have, in Hitlerian fashion, taken over central Europe and threaten world domination. Friar uses the first two World Wars as the template for his fictional third, and in spite of its eerie familiarity, the plot remains rich with suspense. The Keepers examines the efforts of a new group of Allied powers that attempt to drive Geiseric back and stymie his ruthless imperialism.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alright, I brace myself for absolute destruction of my sanity with this series. It has no conclusion and for that, I say, good luck to me. Do I need the sentiment of good luck? Honestly, yes. Is this going to be a fun series? Who has any clue. What I do know is that there is art in the book and that is always real nice. Here we go! Good luck, I suppose!
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
I don’t think I’m going to go into the details of the war itself, for it seemed reasonable. I just wasn’t all that entertained by it. I feel as if I really could have liked the history sections, because the concept of it was cool, but I just was bored and did not care. I blame this on writing style above all else.
Thank the heavens that book 3 does not exist.
Logan, an 18 year old boy, lives off the coast of America on an island with his family. One day, after their typical training, he discovers that the evil Apex Empire may destroy the Allied forces (which America is a part of). He and his family black out, and when he wakes again he is being transported on a plane. There are many more people on this plane, and it has been confirmed that the Apex Empire has taken over the world. Logan learns more about the empire through a series of sort of flashbacks.
The past covers the formation of the Apex Empire, from the rise of its leader to the annexation of the other countries into its fold. This takes place over a multitude of years and many flashbacks to as it is happening.
Logan and his family are brought to a training facility where they are going to assimilate to the empire. Logan and the friends he met on the plane, grow closer. They all start to learn German. After passing well enough they are relocated. In a month, Logan perfects sword fighting. They are taken to a farm and taught to farm. Here they are reunited with more family. Logan witnesses the punishment for people hurting animals, and makes contact with the allies. The allied soldiers are on the moon and mars, preparing their comeback. Logan is dragged in to save his uncle from the Geiseric final solution. Logan helps many people escape but is left with his family. He fights to defend himself after his betrayal becomes known, effectively recovering himself in this world, and now he waits for rescue.
What I Liked:
The art; It was cool. It was always present in the book when talking about locations. Truly, I didn’t need it. But as an extra part it was nice.
Technology; I don’t know much on this type of technology, but it was cool. It also seemed realistic to me? But that could have been due to the explanation, in which case, thanks.
War progression; From the explanation, and the rationale behind how this WWIII progressed, it made sense to me. I also wasn’t reading too deeply into it.
Geiseric’s philosophy; I found myself sympathizing with it, and truly that is the sign of a good evil dictator. Many of the characters sympathized with it, not that he’s a good person (He killed a quarter billion people in his war). I like complicated philosophies that are inherently bad, but also sympathetic.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Logan; Ugh. At no point did I look at him and go “oh. I like him.” Part of this could be because of the plot pacing, but its mostly because he’s this perfect kid and has nothing else going for him. He can sword fight. He knows martial arts. He was home schooled and kept on a secluded island. His parents love him, a lot — his mom treats him like a baby. He is sweet, and kind but can shoot up in a rage if people hurt animals or talk to his girl. He is understanding, and charming so that the Apex Empire and the Allied Forces are interested in him. These are all surface level things. I don’t know what he really likes or doesn’t like. I don’t know any of his faults or fears outside of being on a surface level. (Sure he joins the allies to save his family, but other than a base of wanting to save people, what else does he care about?)
Francesca; She and all the other females were the worst. I knew nothing about her. Not why she liked Logan (is it because he’s hot?). Not what she likes in general. I say nothing, but I did know some things. I knew how her family died. I knew that she still had her father and was in love with Logan… I… UGH. Her depiction in this book was horrifying.
Their relationship; No. Just. No. Every time Francesca is described and what she does to Logan, just no.
Side characters; Ugh. About as flat as a piece of printer paper.
The pacing and formatting; This book flips back and forth between the starting days of the Apex empire and Logan’s story. I like the flips back and forth, I just feel like nothing is going on. In either story. Trust me, there is a lot going on in the Apex story, but it doesn’t feel like anything really is. Also there is no consistent on when these stories come about. In some cases, the flip is in the middle of a Logan chapter. In others the Apex story flip happens and starts its own chapter. I needed continuity. Also not 50pgs of stuff that happened in the past that is more explanation than action.
Perspective shifting; When I say this I don’t mean between Logan and the past. That? That was fine. What I mean is that in the middle of paragraphs or chapters the perspective changes between characters. This book is 3rd person, almost omni, but also sort of limited. We get into all the character’s heads, but then not all at the same time. Take for instance a Logan chapter. We could have Logan and how Logan feels and what he sees and then flip to Francesca in the next line and how she feels — feelings that Logan would not know or understand. A few pages later get Logan’s mother. Each time we get this shift it is clearly unintentional, as it is most certainly the other characters looking at Logan and observing him and this moment, but its not him thinking of how they feel about him. Instead of showing us how Francesca is manipulative we see it explained. Instead of showing how his mother babies him, we hear her mental battle trying to decide whether or not to baby him. It takes the focus off Logan, while also keeping it on him, and effectively ruining my immersion. It happens. A lot.
Use of German; There are points where it is perfect examples of code switching. Characters are speaking English and use German phrases. There are other points where the characters are in Germany speaking German and we get random German phrases in the text. Like of course those sentences are being stated in German, they are speaking German in Germany! They are not speaking English in Germany when German is the language they are having everyone learn, so we can essentially assume that all the English sentences we read are translated for the reader. So then why is it that we get sentences where it is like “die professoren, the professors” or explaining what words mean, in the explanation text? I understand if someone was teaching another character the language (which happens later) but not here. Also why do this at all? It feels more like someone using their German knowledge to flex on the reader and be like, “see they are speaking German in Germany all the time and this is just a moment to remind you.” But there is no context or story relevance as to why we have chosen these moments to really signal that we are speaking German, other than the fact that these phrases and sentences seem a bit more intimidating. Its like a Chinese person, in China, talking to another Chinese person and seeing the text: “你好, how are you today?” First off. No. Second off, so is the whole sentence in Chinese or only the first part? Because if the whole sentence is in Chinese, why specify a few words? Now if the rest of the sentence was in English, that would be code switching (a bad example of it but it does count). The code switching I had no issue with when it was there. I simply had an issue with how the language was written while in Germany.
Commentary on America; So at first I had this in likes. I found it really interesting that the author went ahead and used America’s hypocrisy as a tactic of rallying for the German and Japanese. America had a genocide of its own with the Native populations, and I thought this was wonderful to have a commentary on. I liked how we saw them discuss the slave trade. I liked that they were brought up, and we must understand that all of these injustices were wrong. What bothered me, was that there was nothing more said about it. It was a fact, but that was it. I also was irritated by how it was repeated over and over and over again, the same phrase rewritten in its own way over and over again. It was as if there was nothing more to say about it, no other commentary on it other than this is bad, this is hypocrisy, but nothing on how that hypocrisy guided civilization for years. There was really nothing outside that America should be punished for it. It was a: this is bad! Why? Because its bad! — approach. Now don’t get me wrong, the genocide of the Native Americans and slavery were bad, and you should just know those things are bad. However, education is important and using “because” as a reasoning does not explain to people why things were bad. Using numbers does, and the numbers were not used (outside of the numbers for the Holocaust). When your evil empire places knowledge as one of its pinnacles and it doesn’t emphasize the loss of culture: languages, heritages, stories, religions, histories. (I bold because it wasn’t just one group of Native people that were killed, it was many. It wasn’t just one country from Africa that gave slaves, it was many, and many tribes.) The loss of life: how many, in what ways, over what period of time. The way that it was covered up, ignored, and placed into the fundamental roots of the systems built upon the bodies (institutional racism, mass incarceration, the stealing of native children from their families, etc). You want to make us the bad guys, but you don’t really want to have a conversation about it. It’s a sort of, look at me? I’m radical and saying facts. I’m an ally, mentality, without really talking about the systems in place, or the history behind it other than “it was bad.” Also, I may have missed it, I don’t remember them talking about Japanese Internment camps and the bombs on Japan. Those are also stains that America has gotten over and through with little to no backlash other than “that was bad.” Additionally what about the Chinese railroad workers, do I need to go into detail about why that was bad too, because this book didn’t. There are many cases in American history that are stained in the blood and built on the backs of minorities. There is a fascinating commentary there, that I would have been more interested in reading into for the Apex Empire’s manifesto, but instead it felt very one dimensional understanding of the topic.
Time Taken To Read
2hrs 47 min
I knew this was a 1/5 before I got 100 pages in. But I’m no quitter.
I have so many screenshots of this writing, my goodness. Nothing really of note that struck me as really good.