Book tour stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for The Warden, a dystopian fiction written by Jon Richter.
First thing first, let me thank Lilyan and the publisher, Bloodhound Books, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
The year is 2024, and the residents of the Tower, a virus-proof apartment building, live in a state of permanent lockdown. The building is controlled by a state-of-the-art AI named James, who keeps the residents safe but incarcerated. Behind bricked-up front doors, their every need is serviced; they are pampered but remain prisoners.
This suits Eugene just fine. Ravaged by the traumas of his past, the agoraphobic ex-detective has no intention of ever setting foot outside again. But when he finds the Tower’s building manager brutally murdered, his investigator’s instincts won’t allow him to ignore the vicious crime.
What Eugene finds beyond the comfort of his apartment’s walls will turn his sheltered existence upside down. To unravel the Tower’s mysteries, he must confront James… and James takes his role as the Warden very, very seriously.
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: I like it. Good palette choice overall, except for the font color. Either white or purple – white would have given it a more refined look. I also saw the .gif version, which is very cool (see below).
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing about the pandemic and everything related to it. On the other hand, dystopia is where my heart lies, and I’m unable to pass one up. It’s a compulsion, like, I see a dystopia and I have to read it.
See my dilemma?
When The Warden tour popped into my inbox, I went through a brief yet ruthless inner conflict before joining in, heart triumphing over brain. How did it go? Well, Team Heart was right once again, because if Team Brain won, I would have missed out.
Eugene is one of the inhabitants of the Tower, a building complex sealed from the inside. No one gets in, no one gets out, in a quite literal way: doors and windows are bricked, and robots meet people’s needs. It’s a depressing life, justified by the threat of the ongoing pandemic. Or is it?
The Warden follows a double timeline, counterposing Eugene’s POV with Felicity. It’s Felicity’s creation, an AI named James, who pulls the strings, and Richter does a marvelous job in showing that to the reader while keeping his characters in the dark.
Are the characters sympathetic? No. My eyebrow was raised a good 90% of the time while reading, but I was so engaged I didn’t mind, and it takes talent to achieve something like that. Besides, Eugene grows throughout the story, managing to face his demons – always a green tick in the ‘yay’ column.
The story flows well, its pacing is well-balanced: not too fast, as it wouldn’t fit with the heaviness of Eugene’s life, and not too slow, as it wouldn’t transmit the sense of urgency he feels. Same goes for Felicity, but her parts are interlaced with inevitability, too.
There are a couple of things that don’t resonate with me. One is the POV shifting—why am I reading Michaela’s in Felicity’s chapter? Why there’s James’ POV introduced around the end?—and the other is a logic gap I’m unable to come to terms with.
Still, The Warden is an enjoyable tale, and it well-deserves its 4 stars.
(Bloodhound Books? Thank you for your note at the end of the book. We see eye to eye on the typo matter :D)
MEET THE AUTHOR
Jon Richter writes genre-hopping dark fiction, including his three gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial, Never Rest and Rabbit Hole, his cyberpunk noir thriller Auxiliary: London 2039 and his new techno-thriller The Warden, as well as two collections of short horror fiction.
Jon lives in London and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story! He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you many more sinister tales in the future. He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the world’s greatest works of dark fiction, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcast fix.
If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites. His website haunts the internet at http://www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books available on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.