Young Adult - Sci-Fi
433 Pages
Reviewed on 10/24/2017
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Author Biography

A native Detroiter and public school educator, Winston created the IA series, a coming of age hero's journey, as part of a creative writing and 'Boys Read' program. He is also piloting the Adopt an Author program to connect authors with young readers via the web to help foster the love of reading.

He is a graduate of The Recording Institute of Detroit, Wayne State University, The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan, and received his MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. He has written songs with and for Grammy winner David Foster and record mogul Clive Davis. He has been a recording artist on Arista and Polygram records, and has written and/or produced songs for Gerald Levert, Gerald Alston, and many others.

Winston currently lives with his daughter, Marquette, in Michigan and intends to acquire an African Grey parrot one day when he conquers his irrational fear of birds.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

IA: Union, Book 3 is a paranormal science fiction/coming of age novel for young adults, written by John Darryl Winston. While the author does give sufficient background information to enable this book to be read on its own, I would advise working through this series in order to get the full impact of the continuing story.

Naz and Harvis had a plan to get themselves kicked out of the International Academy and sent back to the Exclave -- a move that would have many scratching their heads in confusion. It was indeed a reversal from when Naz and his little sister, Meri, sat for the exams that would enable them to leave the Exclave behind. Now, however, Naz wanted answers. He needed to know why Meri had to die and whether the rumors that his father was still alive were true. Even more importantly, he wanted to remember what happened four years ago, that time frame which was so frustratingly blank. The realization that the other people in his life, like Dr. Gwen, Harvis, and Coach Fears probably had some of the answers to his questions was likewise infuriating. Their plan was simple, though the execution of it would be abhorrent to everything the two fourteen-year-olds believed in.

John Darryl Winston’s paranormal science fiction/coming of age novel for young adults, IA: Union, Book 3, is an intense and absorbing story that explores the uncharted potential of the human brain as a young orphan with startlingly powerful abilities learns to channel them and tries to differentiate between those he can and cannot trust. The friendship of Harvis and Naz is marvelously portrayed in this tale as the two friends look out for each other and work so well as a synergistic team. Winston’s descriptions of their sparring practices rank up there with the some of the best of martial arts writing. Naz comes of age in this powerful third book of the series, and the challenges he faces are formidable indeed. IA: Union, Book 3 is most highly recommended.

Kim Anisi

Tone, Naz, and their friends and foes return for another round of adventures in IA: Union by John Darryl Winston, the third novel in a series that will grip you right from the start. I very much recommend books 1 and 2 before reading this one, otherwise you will find a lot of what is happening a bit confusing - and you would NOT want to miss all the scenes with Tone, the charming-sometimes-not-so-charming parrot. Up to now, Naz's life hasn't been easy and he had to learn that he is indeed very special - with unique powers that nobody else on the planet seems to have. He can read other people's minds and can move objects at will (which includes living beings like humans, too). In the third volume of the series, Naz and some of his friends leave the International Academy and rejoin their old mates. Naz moves into MeeChi's shop, where Tone is uncharacteristically quiet. For Naz, meeting D again is especially exciting. However, D's life also isn't the easiest. Her father is violent, and one day D disappears. For Naz, finding her is just as important as finding out the truth about a member of his family. One everyone assumed was dead. Naz's life seems to fall apart again - will he be able to put all the pieces back together?

I enjoyed reading IA: Union by John Darryl Winston just as much as the first two volumes - apart from all the sporty stuff. I'm not into sports that much, but I can't complain about how the author wrote everything. Fortunately, the story soon goes back to the more important things, like Tone. I love that parrot. How about a Tone novella? Naz is still a very likeable character and many readers will be able to identify with some aspects of his characters, e.g. the search for acceptance, and the hope to find true love that doesn't shy away from the weirder aspects of one's character. If you haven't read volume 1 and 2 yet, I hope you will pick them up together with volume 3. It'll be a great experience to read them all in one go because one is never enough. You become part of Naz's world, fall in love with some characters, fall out of love with them, maybe even hate them for a while. It's story that makes you feel involved, you care about what is happening, and that is something that makes it easy to read these novels in just a few sittings.

Charity Tober

IA: Union by John Darryl Winston is the third installment of Winston’s science fiction/coming of age series, following IA: Initiate and IA: B.O.S.S. Readers are reunited with the book's lead character, Naz, as he attempts to put his shattered life back together after the devastating events that occurred in book two. The streets of the Exclave are as deadly as ever, and Naz struggles to find purpose and motivation to go on. After all, what does he have left? The answer and his saving grace come in the form of a girl named D. She brings color and life back to Naz's current meandering existence and, just when things seem to be taking a turn for the better, the unthinkable happens; D goes missing! After suffering so many losses, Naz is determined not to lose anyone else. He must reach within himself, embrace his growing powers, and find the strength and courage within to find D at all costs.

I found IA: Union to be another great installment to the series. I have read the other two previous books and have enjoyed seeing how Naz has grown from a scared street kid to a capable and resilient person. He has embraced and developed his newfound powers and, even when things seem dark, he somehow finds the will to go on and do the right thing. It would have been so easy for him to just give up after D is taken. I mean, he has suffered so much loss already, but no, he doesn't just throw in the towel. He takes a stand and does what's right. Such a great lesson for today's generation.