Driven to the Hilt

Forging the Blade (Volume 2)

Fiction - Science Fiction
337 Pages
Reviewed on 08/13/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Forging the Blade by D.G. Lamb is the second installment in the Driven to the Hilt series, preceded by The Deepest Cut. This book carries on with Joshua Vernon on his own - with the memory of his deceased parents always at the forefront - trying to survive with his integrity intact despite a string of setbacks. When he is offered a $200 deal that, in desperate need of supplies while he remains on the run and in hiding, cannot be reasonable refused, Joshua accepts Hobo's bid. Upon completion, he becomes unknowingly swept up in a world of watchful torment in a challenge that is as psychologically challenging as it is physical.

Forging the Blade by D.G. Lamb is an exceptionally well written second installment of this series, without any of the meandering middle bits that sometimes overwhelm in between. Lamb has also employed the use of what he has named Dynamic Formatting, with font shifts and spacing that bring a reader closer to his vision of Joshua's world. It's a risky move and not everyone will be open to such change, but if you are able to hang in there for the first few pages, it becomes almost second nature to the overall story. Frankly, I loved it. Joshua is a darn good kid who is thrust into so many horrible situations, but Lamb keeps him human and easy to root for. I'd recommend this series to lovers of the science fiction genre who are on the hunt for something a little deeper, a little more intra-personal, and a lot more fun.

Christian Sia

Driven to the Hilt: Forging the Blade is the second book in the series by D.G. Lamb, a fascinating blend of sci-fi and fantasy, an engaging story set in the distant future. Problems start with an irresistible offer from a stranger, but Joshua soon finds himself in a world that is as fascinating as it is intriguing. He is trapped in a room, a white room. But he quickly learns that this room can communicate with him, can respond to his moods and changes depending on how he feels and acts. Will he find in himself the strength to make the choice that will redirect his life to where he wants it to be? Can he become an ally to this strange room and use it to forge his destiny or will he find himself at odds with it?

The setting of Driven to the Hilt: Forging the Blade is a world like no other — evolved and scientifically matured. At times the reader gets the impression that the whole setting is the psychic landscape of the young protagonist. The narrative is done in exquisite prose, with a voice that is captivating. It is interesting how the author reinvents the world in the 22nd century, imagining scientific innovations that are cutting-edge. The characters are imbued with a strange sense of humanity and it is hard not to like the young protagonist, a complex, three-dimensional character. The conflict is developed at multiple levels, from dealing with corrupt police to taking control of one’s destiny. The sense of unpredictability permeates the narrative and creates the suspense that urges the reader to keep on turning pages. D.G. Lamb’s book has originality, a great plot, and characters that readers cannot resist.

Rabia Tanveer

Driven to the Hilt: Forging the Blade (Volume 2) by DG Lamb is the second novel in this dystopian series in which Joshua is finally free of the clutches of his ruthless society, but his troubles are far from over. Joshua was trying to escape the prejudice of the people who blamed him for a sin that his father committed. When he succeeded in running away from these people, he had no idea that he would have to fight something even more terrifying than just the hatred of people. He thought escaping the underworld of his colony would be the end of his misery, but it turned out to be just the beginning.

Joshua is now stuck inside a room that may not be what it seems and this might be his hardest challenge yet. The actions he takes and the decisions he makes have a huge impact on what happens to him in this strange room. The room seems to be changing with Joshua and how his mind is developing inside the room. What is the purpose of this room? Why is Joshua inside it? What more is there for our determined Joshua to learn? Can he escape from this room?

After that explosive first novel, the second novel in the series brought something new and even better to readers. Joshua showed so much growth in this novel. He is no longer that terrified kid who was trying to prove something to himself. He is now a mature man who is scrutinizing everything in front of him and making sound decisions. I loved his development and how he was taking his time and thinking out every single move. Joshua is now a complex character, someone who facing every challenge head on and fighting for what he thinks is right. The narrative is engaging and attention grabbing, which just made me love it even more. Simply fantastic.

K.C. Finn

Forging the Blade is a science fiction novel suitable for all by author DG Lamb, and the second book in the Forging the Blade series. In book one, The Deepest Cut, we met a young man named Joshua who had recently lost his father. Forced to live in a deadly wilderness, Joshua came of age staring death in the face at every eventful turn of his young life. Now we find him navigating the grimy but high-tech streets of Cypress Grove, where acquaintances both old and new are set to betray him. It seems that Joshua’s mind is the prize on everyone’s lips, and when he’s made an incredible offer, our hero makes the mistake of accepting it.

DG Lamb’s high technology world hits you from page one, and it will be a shock for those who aren't familiar with a sci-fi background. But if you stick with the digital antics happening alongside the main action, the two blend together in a seamless narration as the tale goes on. Forging the Blade mixes this well-written, truly technological style with a gritty, physical realism of both the grimy streets and the sterile chambers of futuristic wonders, and I found that as the novel progressed it became much more of a psychological thriller than a science fiction plot. The lack of graphic scenes also makes this an ideal read for young adults, so anyone searching for a deep-thinking exploration of personality, psychology and what makes people tick will find their reward amongst these pages.

K.J. Simmill

Joshua felt like he owed Hobo, and he needed the money, so how could he refuse to help Hobo retrieve something? He was only twelve, but his potential had not gone unnoticed. Perhaps had he known the true cost of helping Hobo that day, his life would have taken a different path. But, again, he needed the money to survive, something statistics suggested would be near impossible. He did everything he was asked, performed better than Hobo had dared to dream, and his reward had been the loss of his freedom, or had it been the gift of life? A white room, a school-like structure, all training him and other Recruits. But for what he didn't know, only that they suggested he was better off with them, and perhaps he could agree. But he was always one for questions, and some of them have answers perhaps best unknown. There is one thing he comes to learn; they are been forged, tempered and honed to be part of something bigger, something operating in the shadows.

Forging the Blade is the second volume in D.G. Lamb's Driven to the Hilt. Despite no knowledge of events from the first book, I had no issues in picking this up as a stand alone tale. D.G. Lamb writes with dynamic formatting which, if I am quite honest, isn't something I particularly enjoy, but I can certainly see its appeal. Joshua, the main focus of the book, is a fantastically conceived and deep character who shows tremendous strength, resolve, and growth, along with the other Recruits as they learn their place in this new life. The book is written in parts, each one focusing on a particular aspect or area of Joshua's life, and the transitions and transformations he begins to undergo. This is the kind of book that hooks you immediately and refuses to let go. It has so much to offer, from intellectual discussions to an injection of comedy. D.G. Lamb has created a believable cast, an enjoyable plot, and an exceptional story with some great descriptions and incredible development. The choreography of the action scenes, even the subtleties of altering relationships are written brilliantly. There are layers to this plot, both visible and unseen. If you're looking for a character-driven tale of intrigue and growth, then look no further.