Flash by Sean C Sousa

Rating 7.8/10
Great promise, inventiveness and creativity

Long ago, the first reign of Grigori Geist nearly destroyed the Earth.

Returned from exile, Geist is secretly rebuilding his kingdom beneath Antarctica, assembling his robotic Vaucan race to war against mankind. Only one obstacle remains: the war hero known as Brian Renney.

Yet Brian is losing a battle against his fears. Scars of heart and mind linger from his days in Vietnam, fuelling his failures as husband and father. This embitters his youngest son, Jason - a star athlete torn between pursuing the love of his life, and meeting the demands of a father who is far from the storied army captain he once was.

And all the while, Geist is coming for them.

In this dark hour, Brian and Jason encounter a war to end all others… and an unexpected ally who, once meant for evil shall forever be a force for good.

The Forever Saga: Flash is the first book in a series called The Forever Saga, written by Sean C Sousa. Flash is also his debut novel. Reading the blurb and seeing the cover of the book immediately created an image in my mind and a certain expectation. Having the big Prince Ahya (later named Flash) on the cover within the hands a character… gave me a somewhat Iron Man, Transformers, Gundam idea, and made me quite eager to pick up this book.

The introduction of The Forever Saga: Flash was pretty awesome - being directly thrown into the depths Antarctica with Prince Ahya and the scientist Dietrich Schmidt. Showing glimpses of the mighty Vaucan race, with the different classes of Vaucan's and what they are capable of. Later in the story you get to see the Archvaucan - robot gods who are better than the other classes. These introduction and descriptions really got me back to my young boy dreams… with mortar guns, laser weapons, 3000ft long airships, and the abilities of them where just a great, cloaking controlling weather you name it. And on top of this is the introduction of Grigori Geist, who is now in control of the Vaucan's and Regnum Aeternum, the city underneath Antarctica. It is in the introducing chapter that you first get to hear about Brian Renney. But one thing does remain obscure and that is the reason why Brian has to be killed by Geist. All in all I found that the using of the Vaucan race in this was was done perfectly to a certain level in the book but taken on the whole I found that it just felt too different from the other major storyline. The purpose behind Brian and later Prince Ahya is to stop Grigori Geist from destroying or taking over the world. The fighting of Brian and Prince Ahya against Geist and his forces was very neatly done, showing a nice display of the repertoire of armaments that each party had as well as showing the goals of each party. If this book had revolved solely on the Vaucan race and taking over the world this would have made my day. But there was another storyline intermingled with the Vaucan one, this one revolved around Jason and his family and had a high social impact hidden in it. However, putting these storylines next to each other, they did not quite add up for me.

Like I mentioned, there is strong social element hidden in the book, which is mainly shown by the characters of Jason, his father Brian and his mother, Mary. I must admit that I was impressed by this element in the book and it was at time pretty compelling, especially at the end when the family gets to read the letter of Brian. Brian is a man with a past, having served in the Vietnam war he is heavily scarred, suffering from post traumatic disorder from the events that he witnessed. What was done nicely was showing this aspect together with the family and how Brian’s behaviour is influencing them in a negative way. Brian is heavily pressuring his son Jason to become, in my opinion, everything that he couldn’t become. The pressure exerted on Jason is directly noticeable, but in this Jason on one hand does not want to disappoint his father but he also has his own goals to pursue. However the relationship between father and son is not the only one that is broken. Also between Mary and Brian as they are hitting several speed bumps. A quite compelling event that occurred was when Mary mentioned to Brian that she is not giving up on him. This element of a struggling family was brilliantly constructed and was not only explained within the family but was also notable to the outside relations. Looking at this element and the Vaucan storyline I just cannot say that 1+1=2. Both these storyline would have made great entries on their own but together they do not complement each other fully. I really missed the turn around of Brian once his views changed, I wanted to see him pursue his family in the fullest, I think if he could confront his demons with his family that the story would have come together in a better way, where he could both explain his cause with the Vaucan and make amends with his family.

In summary; The Forever Saga: Flash is a diamond in the rough. It shows, like many self-published authors, great promise, inventiveness and creativity. And this was seen in both storyline - the Vaucan’s and Jason’s both - but in the end they just did not quite add up for me. There is a nice ending to the book wherein Jason will probably make a great entry in the sequel to come. I do somehow get the feeling that Brian’s part was a dual role, that he both kept the family apart but on another level also together. Now with a pretty interesting ending I do have high hopes for the sequel to come and what will happen with the Renney family as a whole.

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