Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Review: Nomad by J.L. Bryan

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I received this book for free from J.L. Bryan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Nomad by J.L. BryanNomad by J.L. Bryan
on July 26th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, NA, Sci-Fi
Source: J.L. Bryan
Buy on Amazon

A new dystopian novel from the author of Jenny Pox - coming July 26.

They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight.

JL Bryan has always impressed me with the level of originality and excitement he works into his novels (big fan of Jenny Pox), and I was yet again taken aback, this time by a time-travel dystopian that is full of thrills and has a kick-ass heroine to boot!

Time-travel dystopian! When I saw those words together my mind kind of flipped, making me unsure of what to expect. For one, time-travel is nothing to play around with if you’re not fully committed to deliver. I have a low level of patience for ignored time loops and paradoxes, and while I’m still wrapping my head around the details of JL’s take on it with Nomads and the universe taking care of itself, it’s one of very few time-travel plots that I can say I’m ok with (and “ok” is about the best you’ll get). Some things still hurt my brain if I think about it too hard, but that’s time-travel for ya.

Taking us straight into the action, this story begins with Raven suddenly finding herself in 2013 with no recollection of where she is, nor where she’s from. It doesn’t take long for her to realize she’s in unfamiliar terrain, though, with old-fashionedโ€ฆ everything and bizarre gadgets in her pockets. It also takes just as long for trouble to find her! Raven’s personality and smarts made it easy for me to take a liking to her. She’s quick on her feet and intelligent in a way that completely fits with where she’s really from – the future is not a pretty place. It also makes her loyal to her cause. However great of a protagonist she is, though, she brought out my enthusiasm more than my emotions. Perhaps due to the nature of the plot with its distant past and new present, together with flashbacks and the Nomads theory, it made it hard to get attached with this nonlinear character building. I did, nevertheless, find myself intrigued and unexpectedly enthused by the peculiar romance that she stumbles upon with its sensual pull and lingering sense of wrongness. I was also surprisingly content with the direction JL decided to take with these two.

This plot brings in a layered butterfly effect that requires pinpointing what needs to be changed to bring about a full metamorphosis of Raven’s future. This means most of the book takes place in our day and age, where she wants to try to make things better with a nudge – or bullet – but what if it isn’t enough? Or makes it worse? Aside from this fun to ponder time-travel bit, I loved learning about the future Raven came from; especially the realistic plausibility of it all. The advancement in technology, the history that lead to this dystopian society, even the fashion, it’s a solidly imagined world that is made believably futuristic without any overkill.

Highly entertaining with a time-travel aspect that is just as fascinating as it is perplexing, Nomad is a unique dystopian that’s perfect for reluctant dystopian readers, or those who just want a different mix! You might as well pick it up; this book is in your future! (I’ve seen it!)

FYI – This book is considered New Adult; college life, sex, violence, and a few swear words thrown in.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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25 Responses to “Review: Nomad by J.L. Bryan”

  1. Melanie

    I guess that I won’t be readif this one then if it’s NA I’m that way but I love the sound of time travel dystopian- could go either way- good or bad. To to know Nomand was no disappointment, the plot seems awfully intricate.

    Lovely review as always, Giselle! <33

  2. Amy

    Ohh this sounds like it’s a great book. I will be reading it soon and can’t wait to get to it!! Raven seems like a character that I will easily like and enjoy reading. Fab review hon!

  3. Jenea Whittington

    I love book that are like this, with time travel. I definitely need to get this one, Raven sounds interesting and so does the plot itself. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great review.

  4. Nick

    I was waiting for your review of this book before deciding whether I wanted to read this book or not. I’m glad to hear that the girl is actually kick-ass and it’s just not the cover model. I’ll admit that I’m a bit wary of the time-travel aspect since I’m not the biggest fan of it, but it seems to be fairly well-done here.
    I’ll give this one a try.
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  5. Book Swoon

    Nomad sounds like a great dystopian – time travler, plus the element of romance makes me want to check it out some more:) I haven’t read anything by J. L. Bryan, but I’m going to check him out.Thanks for sharing Giselle.

  6. Alexa Y.

    The idea of time travel AND dystopian together in a tale blows my mind. I’m glad that it worked out well enough for you! It sounds like quite the adventure, honestly. Plus, I think I just love that the character’s name is Raven!

  7. Bellas Shelf

    I LOVED Jenny Pox! Sadly I did not finish the rest of the series. I probably should huh? Time travel dystopian sounds pretty freaking cool by me. I loved JL’s Jenny Pox so I am interested to see how his other stories compare.

  8. Book โ™ฅ Soulmates

    I love how JL Bryan’s twisted mind works!! While I am a little nervous about reading it because of the time-travel aspect, your review made me excited about meeting Raven and seeing this new world (worlds? ๐Ÿ˜‰ that JL has created.

    โ™ฅIsalys / Book Soulmates

  9. Jen (Books and Other Happy Ever Afters)

    I’ve been meaning to pick up JL Bryan’s books up, and this one sounds like a really good one! I’m glad to hear that Bryan was able to pull off the time-traveling aspect really well. I think I would like the smart main character a lot! I’m glad you enjoyed this one a lot, wonderful review as always, Giselle!

  10. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

    I have Jenny Pox but I haven’t read it yet. I need to get on that! And this one sounds great as well! The words “Time-Travel Dystopian” make me put it on my “Must Read” shelf on Goodreads. And yay, a New Adult book that’s not contemporary! Great review! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Shooting Stars Mag

    I still need to read Jenny Pox and the rest, but I certainly want too. At any rate, this latest sounds just as great. I don’t really read a lot of books that deal with time travel so the explanations can probably be unrealistic and I would go with it…I’m glad this is one of those novels you’re “ok” with in that aspect though. Makes me more excited!


  12. Megan K.

    Time travel novels are tricky to write, but kudos to this author for managing to pull it off! And also, dystopians are starting to get old with the same-old plots. Glad to see that there are still some original ones around, though. Thanks for putting this one on my radar, and lovely review, Giselle!

  13. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader

    The first thing that immediately came to mind when I read this book’s premise was the 2012 film, Looper, in which Bruce Willis travels back in time to kill a future dictator while he’s still a child.

    I love time-travel stories when they’re handled with the proper amount of care and attention, and I’m happy to hear that Bryan pulls this off relatively well. It’s a very difficult thing to do and I find typically has a high rate of failure. Like you, I have little patience for inconsistencies or nonsensical plot development within the rough rules of the time travel oeuvre so this can be a make-or-break sort of thing for me.

    Sometimes there’s nothing better than an action-packed, plot driven novel. I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for this one following its release as it sounds like a lot of fun and a great concept! ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. Rachel

    Time travel books leave my head spinning a bit too, Giselle! I have a hard time wrapping my head around some of the concepts. Sounds like this one wasn’t too bad. I love a kick ass heroine and an action packed plot, so I’ll have to check this one out! Wonderful review, Giselle. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Candace

    I think this is one I may really enjoy. I love time travel, but I’m with you, it can be a lot to wrap your head around. So I’m glad this one worked pretty well in that aspect. I think I’ll have to give this one a try!

  16. Micheline D

    Yay, I’m beyond pumped that you enjoyed this one ๐Ÿ˜€ I freaking LOVE time-travel (hello Doctor Who!) but you’re right – it can be tricky if it’s not done right. Sometimes it’s easier to just not think about it too much but the idea just fascinates me to no end >.< Anyways since you enjoyed it I think I could really LOVE this one! I even signed up for the blitz – can't wait! Thanks for another fab review G!

  17. Aylee

    Oh, I’m incredibly picky about time travel in books, as well, so I would accept “OK” as being adequate. Sometimes I actually enjoy being confused by time travel… it’s intriguing to me, what can I say. Sometimes though it’s definitely better not to think about it, I agree! I also need to see what this JL Bryan is all about!

  18. Molli

    NA time travel, and you liked it?! SWEEEEEET. I haven’t read any of his books yet, but it’s awesome that this is a new series from him and you liked it just as well as the Jenny Pox series. This one sounds good, thanks for bringing it to my attention, love!