The Journeyman: The Commons by Michael Alan Peck

(7.5/10)

The Journeyman is a novel that contains three stories that are intertwined to become one. It begins with Paul Reid, a street kid from New York, Annie - an Iraq war veteran - and her son Zach, who is autistic, boarding a bus heading west to California. However, the bus crashes before reaching its destination, and sends Paul, Annie, and Zach onto their separate journeys.

Paul is found by Porter, who is meant to be his envoy through The Commons; the new and strange world that the three arrived in after the bus crash. Annie and Zach are captured and brought to Mr. Brill, the being who is now in control of The Commons. This begins the three separate but intertwined journeys that create The Journeyman.

I was really quite impressed with this novel. As with many of the novels I've received to review for Fantasy Book Review it's very different from other novels I've read before. Peck does a remarkable job of bringing The Commons to life and creating an atmosphere of uncertainty that leaves the reader feeling the same way as the characters - anxious but determined to see the journey to the end.

Peck's writing was incredible at giving each character's journey its own feeling. Paul's journey left me feeling a little apprehensive, lighthearted, and informed as the characters that accompanied him provided comedic relief as well as information important to the nature of The Commons. Annie's journey initially left me feeling hazy and very jumbled, which is very fitting given her journey (however, as a personal preference, I didn't enjoy that feeling). I felt that the writing surrounding Annie was exemplary, as it really made me feel as though I were in the same mental state as she was. Zach's journey was my favorite to read. I felt so scared for him as I read, but I also was filled with a sense of pride at his progress throughout the book.

My only complaint is that I felt that the secondary characters, such as Rain, Porter, Mr. Brill, etc. were a bit on the underdeveloped side. To describe these characters as two-dimensional would be unfair, but to say that they were fully fleshed out as secondary characters wouldn't be accurate either.

I definitely loved reading this book, and I most likely will continue with the series. The Journeyman: The Commons has a lot to offer and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to my friends and fans of fantasy.

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