Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Book Review: 'NeverHaven: Vision of the Elder Book I' by Michael W. Garza

NeverHaven by Michael W. Garza
I am not looking to escape my darkness, I am learning to love myself there. - Rune Lazuli

Michael W. Garza comfortably posts on his Facebook page, `Zombies, spaceships, and dragons have all found a place in my writing. I often find myself wondering where my inspiration will come from next and in what form my imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise me and it's always my ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow me and take in those results. I sincerely hope that everyone will find something that astonishes, surprises, or simply scares the heck out of you.' Those of us who were captivated with his previous books `The Hand that Feeds', `The Elder Unearthed', ‘Tribes of Decay’, ‘Season of Decay’, ‘‘The Last Infection, ‘A Veil of Shadows’ and ‘Drums in the Abyss: Rise of the Elder Book 1 will find equal fascination with this Young Adult novel ‘NeverHaven: Vision of the Elder’ that once again terrifies without totally upsetting the reader.

One of the many aspects of Michael's novels that makes them absorb the reader's attention and surroundings is his ability to flow the story through dialogue. No long descriptive passages of `setting up' the stage; Michael lets the characters' responses to each other and to the myriad bizarre occurrences push the story along. He opens this new novel with his usual fine prose – ‘Every wall in the hospital was painted the same dull beige color. The entire room reeked of a harsh cleaner, which the staff apparently used to scrub everything from the small bedside tables to the door handle. The stiff aroma reminded Elizabeth of the stuff the cleaning lady used on her parent’s dining room floor. She always hated that smell. Elizabeth made sure the door to her room was closed before poking through the bag Nurse Anna left on the chair near the bed. The law permitted the hospital to keep Elizabeth only for a forty-eight hour observation period before they had to release her. Since she was under the age of eighteen, her parents could sign her out after the observation was complete. Her mother and father left her in the hospital for an extra day. Elizabeth figured the twenty-four hour bonus was Dr. Wesley’s idea. Dr. Alicen Wesley wasn’t Elizabeth’s family physician, at least not the kind Elizabeth considered a real doctor. Dr. Wesley was a psychiatrist. Elizabeth and her twin sister Jessica had been seeing Dr. Wesley for eleven of the sixteen years of their lives. Elizabeth rolled her eyes at the mere thought of what Dr. Wesley was going to say at their next appointment. If Elizabeth knew anything about her parents, she was certain the next appointment would be very soon. Elizabeth slid the unstylish robe off and let it drop onto the floor. She removed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from the bag and put them on. She leaned down, slid on her sandals, and had to use the arm of the chair to hold herself up. The room spun in a sudden rush, and she sat down to keep from toppling over. Elizabeth had lost a lot of blood, and she figured that was the cause of the dizzy spell. She scanned the room to make sure no one was watching, not wanting to give the staff any reason to keep her locked up for another day. It took several minutes to get her head back on straight. A series of long, slow breaths was interrupted by a gentle knock at the door. Nurse Anna announced herself before nudging her head into the room. “You ready for me?” Elizabeth grumbled under her breath. “Sure, whatever.”

The synopsis aligns our expectations – ‘The bond between twins can bend but never break. Elizabeth is crazy, at least that’s what everyone believes. She sees things, terrible things no one wants to hear about. Her twin sister, Jessica, used to see things too, but she convinced herself long ago it was all in her head. The sixteen-year-old was left to drift through the chaos alone, abandoned by her other half. But now the darkness has come calling. Vision of the Elder - This YA Paranormal Series follows the trail of those children forced to bear witness to the sacred rites of the Cult of the Elder. Their eyes are opened to the darkness beyond the void, and their lives are forever changed.’

Now that you have the theme, jump into this book and see why Michael has mastered the scare realm. This man can frighten even the most jaded reader - and that is a very good thing in a time when we are all becoming so cellphone computer-driven flatline in our way of dealing with ideas. He jars us, makes us think, substantiates the possibilities of an approach of realism to his creations, and in the end provides a very fine novel that creeps into our psyches. He is good, very good. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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