Monday, January 23, 2017

Defender (The Voices #1) by G.X. Todd

G. X. Todd lives and works in the West Midlands. After completing a history degree at the University of Birmingham in 2002, she started working for public libraries where she now drives the 35ft library van around the Black Country. In addition to holding a HGV licence, she enjoys spending sunny afternoons riding motorbikes.
When not scaring other road users, she can generally be found writing or building LEGO sets.
'On the cusp of sleep, have we not all heard a voice call out our name?'
Defender by G X Todd is an imaginative thriller that draws on influences from Stephen King, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman to create a new world - where the biggest threat mankind faces is from the voices inside your own head. If you loved The Stand, you'll love Defender, the first in a four-part series.
In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road.
The moment locks them together.
Here and now it's dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet.
These voices have purpose.
And when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn't know it yet.
Defender pulls you on a wild ride to a place where the voices in your head will save or slaughter you.
I was drawn to the novel by the synopsis, it promised to be not an average read, especially having in mind the comparisons with names like King, Barker and Gaiman. I was even being ready to disregard the mediocre cover that gave me the "Meh" vibe just because I was sure Todd had something to bring to the table. 
I felt that the whole concept of hearing voices in your head could be developed very interesting almost sending the novel on the verge of postapocalyptic sci-fi, but then it lacked the span and the aim of such read.  Now I don't want to be harsh, but there is one thing that makes the authors mentioned above stand out and that is their unique voice, characters and above all setting... In Defender it all felt typical... if not predictable. G X Todd is a good writer, she has all the tools and wording, I like her over-all voice, but  I think she got lost somewhere in the middle of the book. 
There were a lot of strong points in the novel: for instance the relationship between Pilgrim and Lacey was brilliantly developed! The connection is very real like, very detailed in its presentation. I loved it, but there are other aspects of the novel that put me off.
Often I felt that I was reading a comics, rather than a novel. Not that the narration was scarce or not wordy enough, but the plot read as an almost random sequence of events that the characters undergo without anything to come out of it. I don't know how to explain it but to call it an aimless conquest?! And also, I was lead to believe that the world was almost devoid of humans... in the same time Pilgrim and Lacey met a whole lot of characters, which I found confusing and pointless, because these encounters didn't help us learn more about the characters or their mission. Todd might have just cut them all for-all-that-matters.
I know that for a first instalment in a trilogy Defender is just supposed to set the base for the whole narration but failed to grab my attention. I struggled to remember even parts of it, what is left to continue reading further in the series. Personally, what I look for in a book is urgency and that "AHA" feeling that will leave you hungry for more... Defender disappointed me in that sense. Maybe I was expecting more grandeur and more literature out of it; maybe I set my expectations too high, but end line is it wasn't vivid enough.