With technology being a dominant part of everyday life, what reader would not want to read a story about it? Stories involving technology will capture the attention of a wide audience of varying ages, especially a younger audience who come from a generation who constantly stare down at smart phones and browse social media websites daily. A very new young adult book series has been released revolving around technology and how teenagers can use their cybernetic abilities to help others.
Ayden is a teenager who has suffered a traumatic past from a racist and abusive father. Living a life no child should have to endure, he is discovered by digital saviors who offer him not only a way out of his personal Hell, but also an opportunity to use his own cyber savviness to help others. When a crime puts two innocent lives in prison, can Ayden use his cyber skills to save them? Can Ayden trust his unknown saviors to aid him down the right path to a life that holds a better future?
Ayden’s Choice, the first in the Nele Vonlanthen series written by Sam Felix, is a story that is rather intriguing as a whole and has great potential as a young adult book series. It is the first story in a while to refer to technology as “magic” and how “magic” still exists in the world because of technology. This is an intriguing concept for many books, such as the recently released young adult book Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern by Seth Adam Smith, refer to magic still existing in the world, but the magic people know as fantastical magic rather than technological magic.
While the story does hold an intriguing concept, it is in need of a bit more development for future books in the series. While Ayden’s Choice is summarized to focus on one single character, the story as a whole focuses not only on Ayden, but also on many other characters connected to him. This really benefits the story, hearing from so many different points of view, but the story would have benefitted more from perhaps more of a third or first person limited point of view. Even if the series continues along the point of view style it has started with, the story does not make it confusing for readers to follow the characters, but perhaps a paragraph break between character points of view or even separating the points of view through different chapters may separate the characters better.
Along with the point of view, Felix needs to be careful with the speech used to tell the story. The writing jumps occasionally between past and present speech when it should focus more on past tense, since that seems to be the main tense used. With the mix of the two tenses, the storytelling can seem jumbled at times. However, even with these minor elements that should acquire some focus, the story is very intriguing. Ayden’s Choice is a good length, especially for a younger audience, for it is short enough to read through the whole story in a day and the way the story is written will make readers want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Not to mention the illustrations scattered throughout the story as well as the cover art done by Erika Edblom are beautifully crafted and add more to the story’s visuals.
While Ayden’s Choice may seem like it needs a bit of technical work, the new young adult book series Nele Vonlanthen holds great potential for future books. The first book of the series has an intriguing story line that will keep readers wanting more with each turn of the page. The various points of view of different characters as well as the excellent use of dialog will keep readers intrigued by what each character will do, not to mention the mystery behind the series’ namesake, Nele, is introduced, but the character raises questions that will make readers want to know more about her. What will future stories contain? There is no limit to what tech-savvy material can be covered.