VanWest The Present

VanWest Series

Fiction - Science Fiction
198 Pages
Reviewed on 04/22/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

VanWest The Present is the second entry in the VanWest Series by Kenneth Thomas, a fast-paced, engrossing science fiction story with a protagonist that I loved. VanWest has grown up to be a loyal Enforcer, who blindly obeys every command — however dark and morally corrupt — from the Universal Council. He has ingrained in his mind the mission to serve without question, to work for the growth of humankind and the universal commandment, and to destroy everything or anyone who stands in the way of the Universal Council.

Everything changes after his promotion to captain and after getting injured at the Games. But this also unveils his latent psychic sense — the ability to see future events. The Council sends him on a precarious mission to stop the Utopians, a renegade set led by the former Head of Science, the genius Dr. Isaac VonHelmann. While he is about to be reunited with his childhood best friend, Iris, the daughter of the Utopian leader, there are far more disturbing truths when he gets to Mars. The choices he makes with what he knows will determine the survival of Earth. Will he follow orders or his heart on a far-off planet?

I didn’t read the first book in this series but I absolutely enjoyed VanWest The Present. The characters are exceptionally written and the adventure is exciting. I also loved the twist in the plot. The protagonist is a multi-layered character whose complex nature is brilliantly written. The conflict — both on internal and the physical levels — is well-conceived and deftly articulated. Kenneth Thomas’s gift for plot and character creates the success of this story that puts the past and the future at an intersection in the present. It is a fantastic story, indeed.

K.C. Finn

VanWest: The Present is a work of fiction in the dystopian and science fiction sub-genres, and was penned by author Kenneth Thomas. The sequel to the dynamic and evocative VanWest: The Past, this new novel continues the story of Captain VanWest and his newly-discovered feelings about the corrupt Universal Council. Completing the startling cliff-hanger ending of book one, we then jump straight into a world of revolution and danger, pursuing a sector known as the Utopians. It’s the Captain’s proposed mission to stop this group, but coming into contact with a figure from his past brings him back to reality, and new discoveries on Mars mean that following orders may no longer be on the cards for our once-loyal Enforcer.

Author Kenneth Thomas builds upon solid concepts and ideas set forth in book one to deliver a stunning sequel that never lets up, offering full-throttle sci-fi for fans of the classic flavors of the genre. One of the things that continue to impress me about these works is the handling of complex concepts such as time travel, which plays a large role in the Utopians’ plans, and the intricacies of secrets, lies, and betrayal that occur within this framework. Kenneth Thomas delivers a rollercoaster plot which is satisfyingly watertight, and once again populates his world with realistic figures and an atmospheric and varied range of settings to give readers the adventure they’ve all been craving. Overall, I would highly recommend VanWest: The Present and the series in general to readers seeking accomplished science fiction from an imaginative and razor-sharp writing mind.

Christian Sia

VanWest: The Present is an installment in the VanWest Series by Kenneth Thomas, a well-plotted and expertly written science fiction story with wonderful characters and strong conflict. VanWest has served the ‘all-knowing’ Universal Council with loyalty, destroying everything that defied the council. But after being promoted to Captain and after the injury during his victory at the Red and Blue Games, he discovered that he has a unique gift: a psychic sense that allows him to foresee events. Dr. King, his leader, is utterly taken aback at this gift and sends VanWest on a mission to hunt down the Utopians who are determined to change the past. If Dr. Isaac VonHelmann and his renegade group are not stopped, they will travel to the past and stop some of the important events from happening. It is the beginning of an adventure fraught with danger and many challenges. VanWest will discover a lot, face his past, and make decisions that can change the future of humanity. But there are those who will make sure he fails on this mission.

This is a wonderful story with characters that I adored from the beginning. The story takes place in an inter-planetary setting and follows a conflict that is phenomenal. While Dr. Isaac VonHelmann and his group are bent on changing the past, an endeavor that can have many consequences for the present, VanWest is out to stop them. There are political intrigues, machinations, stabbings-in-the-back, and betrayals as the conflict escalates. The narrative is filled with action. Opening in New Jersey, the story transports readers on a rollicking ride to Mars. The writing is impeccably good and Kenneth Thomas’s use of humor makes it more enjoyable. I love the dialogues and how naturally they are. The characters are rock-solid, each developed with a strong background. VanWest: The Present is one of those books that readers complete in one sitting; it is fast-paced and features characters that are memorable.