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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

14 by Peter Clines (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Website 
Read FBC’s review of Ex-Heroes 
Read FBC’s review of Ex-Patriots 
Read FBC’s review of The Junkie Quatrain 
Read an excerpt HERE 
Order the book HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Peter Clines was born and brought up in Maine, he moved to California when he grew up and worked in Hollywood for a number of years. He has also been a prop master for several movies and TV shows. He has written reviews for the Cinema Blend website as well as for the Creative Screenwriting magazine. He has previously interviewed many famous film personas such as Frank Darabont, Paul Haggis, Kevin Smith, George Romero, Akiva Goldsman, David Goyer, Mark Herman, Nora Ephron and many others. He currently lives in Southern California.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches.

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much.

At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends.

Or the end of everything...

FORMAT/INFO: 14 is 370 pages divided over four titled stories, and an introduction. Narration is in the third-person for all sections featuring POV chapters from Nathan “Nate” Taylor, Malavika “Veek” Vishwanath, Roger, Andrew, Mandy and Claire

June 5, 2012 marked the e-book and paperback publication of 14 via Permuted Press. Cover art is provided by Conzpiracy Digital Arts.

ANALYSIS: 14 is a book that had a lot of secrecy attached to it, Peter had hinted about it in various interviews and blog posts. I compiled a blogpost wherein some of its mystery was mentioned So when I got a review copy of the book, I was prompt to start the book and find out what was the big mystery at the core of the book.

The best and worst part about reviewing this book is its central plot and how much a reviewer can describe of it. In this regards this book becomes a very tough cookie to talk about, leave alone review it in its entirety. The book plot begins with Nate who is in LA and is looking for a new apartment, he hears about this new place that is really cheap and fills in the application for it. Upon getting acceptance he moves in and finds that as the building and its occupants are odder than they appear. Beginning with the building manager Oskar and right down to cockroaches found in the building, that have a emerald tinge to them. His curiosity soon gets ahead of him and he soon starts discovering that the building might be much older than is apparent and also server a purpose much more meaningful than other deemed important by human minds.

The biggest mystery along with the host of the other smaller ones is for the reader to discover as the author intended. The tale is very much like an episode of the Twilight Zone with a huge helping of LOST mythology and secrets. The reader is slowly taken through the mystery of the building as does the main character Nate, drawing in on a host of influences and backgrounds, Peter Clines has written a fine story. The mysteries are several and range from the miniscule to major ones however the trick is in recognizing which is what.

The best part of the story that it shares with LOST, is its terrific characterization, beginning from the main character and to all the side character cast, the author has given all of the characters interesting personalities and it makes the story come alive. The reader gets invested in the characters wanting to know more and thereby as a result feels much more attuned with the overall direction of the story. Characterization has always been a strong point of Peter seen in his Ex-Heroes books as well as the short story collection “The Junkie Quatrain” and this trend continues colorfully in this story as well.

Another fact that I liked about the story and one that strengthens its connections to the LOST-like setting is the mythology and background present in the story, tracing its roots to a couple of famous scientists as well as literary figures. The story veers back in to SF and horror territory smoothly and then back into a character study. The humor and character bickering are also spectacularly present thereby giving the reader a fun read as well thereby alleviating the story’s darker parts. Lastly the author’s nods to pop culture, Hollywood and other literary works made this book a fun one and like LOST has some connection to the plot as well.

The only thing that I felt went against the book was it is a standalone and at the end of the book, the reader gets this intense feeling of wanting to know more about the world and possible future/fate of several characters as well as exploring more of the history and the reason for the creation of the Kavach. The last word means something in Marathi, my mother tongue and so it was quite exciting for me to see its use in this book with the proper context.

CONCLUSION: Peter Clines takes a well thought concept and creatively expands on it to give the readers an excellent mix of The Twilight Zone, LOST & H.P. Lovecraft, this is a story for all the people who want something interesting to read and get a complete story in the end. Read it and find out why Peter Clines needs to heralded as one of SFF’s rising superstars.

4 comments:

Nayan said...

I was intrigued enough after looking at the cover that I instantly added it to my TBR pile.
Thanks for reviewing this book.

For the benefit of the readers, I would like to point out that the word "Kavach" carries the same meaning across Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati and means "armor". This added tidbit of information actually intrigues me even more now!!

Ed Bernard said...

I downloaded my copy from Audible and as I type this, I figure I'm about 1/2 hour from the end. I downloaded it based on some blurb on the first page, and I have no regrets. The biggest compliment or best review I could possibly give it, is to say that I honestly and sincerely envy anyone who hasn't read the book yet, because they will have the pleasure of discovering its intricacies for the first time. I remember someone saying that to me before I read LOTR and the Hobbit for the first time. They were right, and I know how they felt. I can't put 14 on the same level as LOTR or the Hobbit in terms of story depth and character development, but this is a seriously good story and I'll be looking for other Peter Clines books to read.

The Reader said...


Hi Nayan

Thanks & I think you are going to enjoy this book very much :)

@ Ed

Yeah Peter Clines is a terrific storyteller. I really enjoyed his Ex-Heroes and had a similar reaction as yours (read my review) Well not to the same extent but it made me a PC fan forever ;)

Mihir

Woodrow said...

This book has very poor character development and is badly written.
I don't see how you can actually give it a positive review. It is one of the worst books I have ever read.

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