Saturday, September 26, 2015
Book Review: Reich by Drew Avera
Germany is all that's left of the world after radiation destroyed the rest of the world at the close of World War II. The Aryan Empire is going strong, kept safe and consistent with protection from the Enforcers. In a sea of blond, fair-complexioned Germans, Mikael is dark and knows he doesn't fit in. When he starts to see ripples in the sky, he knows something is up. His discovery leads Germany down a path that can only end in truth and blood.
That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from Amazon
In the 158 years after Hitler's death (AH158), Germany has become the utopian state that he had originally envisioned. The Aryan Dynasty has conquered the free world at the cost of billions of lives. Hitler has become the patriarch of a new religious fervor, one that even he did not see coming. The wastelands that surround Germany are the only threat awaiting the German citizens. That is at least what everyone is taught. This is a story of how misplaced power can lead to tyranny, but it could be Germany that falls victim to a new Reich.
This is an alternate history that pits present-day in a world where Hitler won and founded the new dynasty he envisioned. Other than the mention of a year (158 years since his death), there's not a whole lot pinning the setting to a particular point in time, whether the 1990s even through to now. Computers are fairly capable, but not prominent, and technology is able to connect global communications apparently at the click of a few buttons.
The premise itself is what grabbed my attention. I was curious to see what Hitler's utopia looked like, at least in one author's eyes.
Avera's style is simplistic... and it pains me to say unpolished. There were a myriad of typos and wrong words in Reich, such as "vile" instead of "vial" to describe a small container of liquid. A number of technical choices were poorly realized in my opinion, such as (SPOILER ALERT) the POV characters in the first two chapters ending up dead at the end of their chapters. That's right, spend a chapter with this character, and he dies at the end. Chapter two, spend a chapter with a new character, and at the end of the chapter, he ends up dead, too. By the third chapter and third POV, I was expecting the whole book to go that way.
This book had a lot of promise. A lot. The author has a lot of potential, but I have to say that potential is far from reached with Reich. The concept was intriguing, but most other elements were lacking, making for an overall poorly presented package. I wanted this story to be good. I wanted it to grab me, but I'm afraid it did not. We barely even see what the utopia is like before things are getting torn down, and events, pacing, and characters are far from believable.
There was a lot I had issue with as far as believeability. Apparently millions die, but the biggest the strike force ever gets mentioned as being is like 67 people. Granted, there's mention of uprisings all over Germany, but when the main force is that tiny, there's no way things will succeed. The battles we see are pitifully fast and far too easy despite the characters freaking out about the odds and whether they're going to survive. There's really no sense of risk here. Partly, I was unable to care about any of the characters. They seemed to be cardboard cutouts with names.
That and the ending didn't resolve anything. The book was far from finished, and it just stopped.
I apologize if this seems harsh or cruel. I really do. The fact that I read to the end speaks for Avera's potential as an author.
Would I Recommend This Book? I'm afraid not. There's a lot to be desired, and even though Reich is a very quick read (about an hour for me), it leaves too much to be desired to take the time to read it. I would love to see Avera develop the idea with a more established writer or a professional editor and give it more length and depth. I think he could really have something. I give Reich an Aryan 2 of 5 stars.