The Collective

Book One of The Tethered Shards Series

Fiction - Dystopia
370 Pages
Reviewed on 05/30/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Demetria Head for Readers' Favorite

In David J. Steigelfest’s dystopian sci-fi masterpiece, The Collective, the fragile foundations of human civilization teeter on the brink of collapse, manipulated by a malevolent force lurking in the shadows. Jonathan, trapped within the collective consciousness of a beehive, holds the key to countering this darkness, his soul entangled with the hive’s collective spirit. As the remnants of humanity struggle to survive in a world overrun by chaos and violence, ten-year-old Jeight’s silent struggles take center stage. Misunderstood and labeled as developmentally disabled, Jeight has a secret: his mind is a battleground between the forces of good and evil, with Jonathan’s presence interfering with his ability to stay present. When Brandon, Jeight’s older brother, and their friend Saanvi embark on a journey across post-apocalyptic California, they encounter unexplained phenomena that reveal Jeight’s true nature. The Collective is a riveting tale of resilience, sacrifice, and the enduring power of hope in the face of unimaginable darkness.

David J. Steigelfest masterfully weaves together the narratives of Jesse, Brandon, Jeight, and Saanvi, each character offering a unique perspective on the dystopian world they inhabit. The well-thought-out premise shines through in the seamless integration of Jesse’s prologue in 2015 with the other three characters’ storylines in 2042. Jesse’s heroic act of rescuing a young girl from a swarm of yellow jackets sets the stage for the unfolding mystery, establishing the interconnectedness of their fates. Brandon’s struggles to care for his brother Jeight add emotional depth, illustrating the complexities of love and responsibility in a shattered world. Jeight’s silent presence serves as a poignant reminder of the fragile bonds that unite humanity, while Saanvi’s introspective journey highlights the delicate balance between hope and despair. Through vivid prose and compelling storytelling, The Collective stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity, sure to captivate fans of the genre and leave them pondering long after the final page.

Romuald Dzemo

The Collective: Book One of The Tethered Shards Series by David J Steigelfest is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which the remnants of humanity are trapped by an evil force. The narrative follows Jonathan, whose soul is entangled with the collective consciousness of a beehive, and ten-year-old Jeight, whose unique condition hides a powerful secret. As Jonathan seeks to counter the evil force that has enslaved humanity, Jeight's latent abilities begin to surface. On a thrilling journey across the ravaged California landscape, can they unravel the mystery and find what it takes to protect humanity?

This story elegantly blends elements of science fiction, fantasy, and suspense. The premise of a world on the brink of collapse, coupled with the mystery surrounding Jonathan's and Jeight's intertwined destinies, creates a fitting backdrop for the drama that follows. The author explores themes of identity, power, and survival. The characters in The Collective are richly drawn and multi-dimensional, each facing chaos and a world filled with treacherous paths. From Jonathan's enigmatic presence to Jeight's gradual awakening to his true potential, the cast of characters captivates with their complexity. David J Steigelfest deftly explores the relationships, from the bond between brothers Brandon and Jeight to the burgeoning connection between Brandon and Saanvi, imbuing the story with emotional strength. The Collective is a mesmerizing debut that offers a bold promise of what is to follow. I enjoyed the crisp writing and the wonderfully crafted dialogues. There is no doubt that readers will be pulled in by the morally twisted characters and the innocence of the young key characters seeking a path to make the world better.

K.C. Finn

The Collective is a work of fiction in the dystopian, thriller, and adventure genres, and is the opening novel in The Tethered Shards Series. The work is best suited to mature readers as it contains some dark themes and strong language. Penned by author David J Steigelfest, the plot follows Jonathan, a deceased man whose soul is entangled with a beehive's collective consciousness. He struggles against a malevolent spirit that has collapsed human civilization. Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jeight, perceived as developmentally disabled, is influenced by Jonathan’s attempts to communicate. As their safe haven is destroyed, Jeight, his brother Brandon, and their friend Saanvi journey through a post-apocalyptic California. They discover that Jeight's connection to Jonathan has unlocked a powerful and terrifying potential, offering both hope and danger in their quest for survival.

Author David J Steigelfest utilizes suspense and dark imagination to craft an intense and captivating read. I loved the atmospheric language and descriptions used to portray the post-apocalyptic world around the characters, with brilliant world-building concepts entwined with supernatural elements to keep readers immersed from start to finish. Jonathan’s struggle to combat the malevolent spirit from within a beehive was a unique and intriguing premise that I’ve never read before, and it offered a lot of psychological layers that were really satisfying to explore. The dynamic between the central ensemble cast, as they navigated their perilous journey, was compelling and heartfelt, with plenty of realistic dialogue that moved the plot forward naturally. Steigelfest’s vivid descriptions and well-developed characters made the bleak, dystopian setting come alive in every shadowy corner and chilling new revelation, and the themes of survival, brotherhood, and the intersection of the human and spiritual realms were explored masterfully. Overall, The Collective is a thought-provoking and gripping read that left me eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series.