Today Kim Livingston reviews The Identity Thief by Alex Bryant. Kim is in Colorado, USA and is currently adapting to the working from home routine, books bring a welcome relief.
The Identity Thief by Alex Bryant
A shapeshifting sorcerer called Cuttlefish unleashes a terrifying wave of magical carnage across London. A strange family known as the River People move into Cassandra Drake’s neighbourhood. Are the two events connected?
Spoiler alert: no.
Reasons to buy this book:
✔ Good cover.
✔ Cheap. Seriously, the Kindle version only costs as much as about 3 mangoes. What would you rather have – 10 hours of gripping urban fantasy, or 30 minutes of biting into sweet, succulent mango flesh?
✔ OK, I shouldn’t have used mango, objectively the best fruit, as a comparison. But buying this book doesn’t stop you from buying mangoes, if that’s what you insist on doing.
Alex has led a largely comfortable but unremarkable life in North London, and more recently Oxford. His main hobbies as a kid were reading and sulking.
When he’s not writing, he’s performing with his improvised comedy troupe, Hivemind Improv. And when he is writing, he’s procrastinating.
The first idea for The God Machine came when he was 19, shortly after falling off a horse. Or possibly shortly before – the exact chronology is lost to history. So is the horse’s name, in case you were wondering.
Author site: www.alexbryantauthor.com
Goodreads: /alexbryantauthor (www.goodreads.com/alexbryantauthor)
Instagram: @alexbryantauthor (www.instagram.com/alexbryantauthor)
Facebook: @alexbryantauthor (www.facebook.com/alexbryantauthor)
Twitter: @alexbryantauth (www.twitter.com/alexbryantauth)
Review by Kim Livingston
I. Loved. This. Book.
Okay, I needed to say that before I went any further.
The Identity Thief, by Alex Bryant, is book one in the God Machine Series. (“Does it count as a series if it’s only two novels so far? Well, one novel and one novella? I’m going to say yes. Yes, it does.”- Alex Bryant) The cover is perfect. Shadowy person. London bridge. Scrolled font and border. Yup. I was in. Back cover—intriguing. First page? BAM. Hook, line, and sinker.
Actually, before the first page, there is a Trigger Warning for sensitive readers. I am well known as THE sensitive reader, so I was a bit concerned.
The Identity Thief contains numerous upsetting unpleasant and downright unnecessary themes. Sensitive readers, and anyone under the age of 12, are advised to take a look at the trigger warnings. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I then went to the link which reads:
The Identity Theft: Trigger Warnings
Ableism; autism; bio horror; bullying; decay; death; epilepsy; excessive violence; fungi; gore; homophobia; infant death; insects; kidnapping; lookism; mental illness; mentalism; police brutality; racial discrimination; racially motivated violence; religious discrimination; spider; worms.
Yep, it’s a lot. Sorry about that. Did I miss one? Get in touch using the contact links.
Yuck. Why write about this? Still, something told me to try and read until I couldn’t anymore.
I’m so happy I did. First of all, the book is listed under children’s paranormal and teen and YA paranormal and is appropriate for those target audiences. (It’s also perfectly entertaining for adults.) Yes, every trigger category listed is in this novel. But, as I said, I am the most sensitive reader I know and I still loved the book. Plus I understand why they were included in the book. Because every one of those categories happen every day, and the book points out just how ugly that looks. Bonus points for being an upstander.
Bonus points also for including a neurodiverse main character and an LBTQ character and writing both with class.
But the real star rating here goes for the author’s writing skills. I mean genius use of unique style that is completely fresh and engaging. My favorite was his purposeful use of the overuse of a word in one section. Most authors, when realizing they’ve done this, go scrambling for their thesaurus. Mr. Bryant takes the word and works it into the character’s schtick with skilled hilarity. Plus the plot rocks. Most of the characters are abhorrent, but that’s also Mr. Bryant’s point. When asked which character he most identifies with he responds:
Obviously not the main character, Cass, who’s a nasty piece of work, inspired by the kind of girl I was terrified of in school. It’s actually Hector, the quiet and pathologically awkward one who’s probably plotting something evil behind closed doors.
And that’s just the kind of wicked sense of humor the author includes in Identity Thief. He reminds me of Joss Whedon, (yes, I said that, and yes, I stand by it), including in your face messages, dry and constant humor, and the knowledge that a character you really love is going to die. (Lucky for us, that also means once in a while they magically come back to life.) Since finishing The Identity Thief I’ve been fangirling Mr. Bryant’s website (not unlike Googling favorite lines from Firefly for hours).
On his website, Alex Bryant has a Coming Soon section regarding the second book in the God Machine series. He writes, “so the first one (Identity Thief novel) took me ten years. Get over it already. I promise you the next one will take… less than that. Definitely less.”
Please Alex. Make it soon.
And by the way, The Identity Thief is definitely worth the price of three mangoes.
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