Listening Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes
Audio Released: January 23, 2018
John Darryl Winston
Everyone has secrets…. What if you didn’t know your own?
One young man with latent supernatural abilities plus one street gang hell-bent on recruiting him equals…IA: Initiate.
The most important thing in the world to 13-year-old orphan “Naz” Andersen is keeping his little sister safe from the streets of a Chicago/Detroit-like urban ghetto known as the Exclave. Naz tries to stay out of the way at his foster parents’ home, but he walks in his sleep. He is unable to keep the fact that he hears voices from his therapist. He attempts to go unnoticed at school and in the streets of the Exclave but attracts the attention of friends and bullies alike.
Naz is ordinary, or so he thinks. He harbors a secret of which he is unaware. A seemingly random act of gang violence propels Naz on a path that leads to discoveries about his supernatural abilities, abilities that will ultimately decide whether he lives or dies. Now he must navigate his turbulent surroundings and face the full force of the world around him. The only way he can survive is to discover the supernatural world within.
This review will be broken down into two parts, the actual storyline and then the narration.
I found myself on enjoying this juvenile fiction much more than I had anticipated. The summary of the book is captivating enough to draw you in, but the slow build up made me fear that the story would just run slow throughout the course of the novel. That was not the case, however. At times I became as confused as Naz was discovering his own being. While that may sound like a bad thing, I mean that in the most positives of light. Why? Winston was able to beautifully capture the raw emotion of fear, confusion and the overwhelming feeling of a not just becoming an adult but an adult with abilities that were unbeknownst to him.
I’d say my favorite scene landed in the depictions of young Naz’s dream state. My heart pounded as it unraveled. Winston created a dream-like state that felt so real that you could feel it with own fingertips, but only to find out it was nothing more than just a figment. But was it? Your left to ponder this as the story continues.
This is a clean book. By clean I mean, no gore, no swearing and children acting of age appropriateness. Which was refreshing to see as our young children seem to be growing faster than needed.
I think it’s a bold move for Winston to do his on audible. I have not come across that. But then again my Audiobook journey isn’t that extensive either. I enjoyed the dual narration although I wish we heard more from Marquette Winston, as I found her voice to be more soothing, young and fresh. Not saying that Darryl Winston voice wasn’t easy to listen to. I just found his voice to sound too mature for the story itself. But overall I found both narrators did a phenomenal job, both being voices I would not mind hearing again.
FYI: So I don’t yet know how to add audio bites but if you click here you’ll be taken to the author page where he offers a sampling. Sorry for the slight inconvenience 😦