Review by Katinka C.
(Reviewer owns a copy and decided to share her views with my blog readers. So, don’t forget to leave a thank you note for her.)
AUTHOR: J. A. Jaken
PUBLISHER: Forbidden Fiction Publishing
SUMMARY: Shai discovers he is a pathfinder and is desperate to find a genetically suitable partner to prevent his extrasensory talents from running amok. Unfortunately those talents make him a target for the brutal crime lords and other violent denizens who inhabit the city of Nhil-Rhar. Shai needs to learn how to use his pathfinder senses—no matter how much they terrify him—before he’s trapped in a partnership that will enslave him for the rest of his life.
What would you do when you’ve been beaten to pulp a little too often during the 16 years you spent in orphanages and on the streets? You make sure to fly under everyone’s radar. Which is exactly what the slender, green eyed Shai does. Especially now that he has finally managed to get a job in a nightclub, he’s not willing to endanger his hard fought securities in a city in which The Agency and several ruthless syndicates wreak havoc, in a constant battle for territory and power.
Then one fatal night, Shai’s working in the club when he locks eyes with a girl. Panic rushes through him when he realizes: this is no ordinary flirt. The ‘sweepers’ of The Agency have tracked him down. But why? Why him?
Before he can even attempt to flee to the streets again, Shai’s brought into The Agency, with its clinical white rooms. Here he learns something that turns his life upside down. He’s a pathfinder. He can sense people’s thoughts, the past and the future. You think this is an awesome gift? Wait until you hear the catch! Most pathfinders don’t make it to adulthood. They get sucked into their visions. Their minds get lost. That’s why there’s a built-in security in the form of a genetic imperative: a pathfinder must imprint on a ‘guide’, someone with the ability to keep him grounded during his mental endeavors. There’s more. The pathfinder doesn’t really have a choice in the matter, as imprinting is something that can be forced upon him…
All in all, what it seemed to boil down to was that Shai’s life was seriously fucked. For someone who had always been fiercely proud of his independence, the thought that he was fated to be dependent on another human being for the rest of his life was a crippling blow.
Wow, this might be even creepier than Jacob from Twilight imprinting on Bella’s baby girl! No wonder Shai rebels. But soon he discovers there’s a fate far worse than the semi-consensual relationship the agency has in store for its new guinea pig. In a city that’s drenched in anarchy, Shai’s gift doesn’t go unnoticed. Syndicates are out to claim this rare and shiny ‘weapon’. And they will not shy away from brute force to have Shai imprint on a guide of their own choice.
Shai closed his eyes, trembling. “You’re a guide.” The hand on the back of his neck turned disturbingly affectionate, stroking lightly over his skin. “I am”. Shai sucked in a long breath, trying not to panic. “But I..I already have a guide. You can’t—“
“Your bond with him isn’t completely formed yet. It will be easy enough to break.” Shai’s skin felt like it was trying to crawl off of his body.
Man, what a terrifying concept! Imagine what it would be like to be stripped off your free will and be forced to bond with someone purely based on a genetic imperative. Feel me shiver and shudder through the computer! And let me tell you, Shai’s being put through the wringer. So please be warned that this story contains, however genetically invoked lust, non-consensual sex that some readers might object to. The author does not dwell on these parts though, making it clear that they are a necessity to the story. And although Shai is 16 years old, which is something that might bother you as well, this fact barely registered with me since he behaves as someone who is quite a bit older. So yes, there are a few tough and angsty moments, but nothing that made my stomach actually churn. And I promise, I’m not THAT tough, ha!
That being said; Pathfinder was remarkably good! I enjoyed every minute of this fast-paced, somewhat dark science fiction story. J.A. Jaken can write! At first, she appeared to be trying a little too hard to show off her writing skills, which resulted in a few beautiful descriptions of the city, but also in overly flowery language. However, as soon as she got caught up in her own story, she dropped that act entirely. The plot of Pathfinder is jam-packed with a cocktail of adventure, world-building, action, angst and hints of love, and kept me on the edge of my seat constantly.
The only complaint that I have is that everything felt a little rushed. I think some of the story’s potential got lost in the execution. The author stuffed a bunch of intriguing ideas and tidbits in Pathfinder, that just screamed for further exploration. For instance, this book is populated by a few intriguing (side) characters, that I wished were fleshed out more. Also, I’d have liked a creepier build up to Shai’s experiences with the syndicate, a little more insight in The Agency’s freaky experiments and some time to reflect on the things Shai had to endure throughout the story.
Do I sound like an unsatisfied brat now? Because I’m honestly not. The only reason why I’m bringing up these points at all, is because I enjoyed this book so much that I craved more, more and MORE! So if you’re into a fast-paced, science fiction story with a dash of angst and twistedness, then definitely give Pathfinder a shot. I know I look forward to reading more from this author.
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