War World

Young Adult - Adventure
387 Pages
Reviewed on 09/05/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

War World: A Novel by Rod C. Spence is a fantastic blend of fantasy, science fiction, and adventure, a novel with a strong appeal for fans of young adult fantasy. The reader is thrust into the world of the author right off the bat, with powerful elements of the setting, a world in which competition in technological development is strong: “Another technology was found that promised even greater rewards.” And then there's a creature whose entire life experience has been inside a cocoon. We are introduced to the key elements of the story from the opening pages, and then thrust into a rollicking adventure that involves killer gnomes, prehistoric monsters, and wizards. It’s a world of the survival of the fittest with different factions colliding. When his planet is threatened, will Jeremy Austin and his friends have what it takes to save it?

Rod C. Spence melds different genres into one and creates a fast-paced, cleverly-plotted story that is packed with action. It is emotionally intense, psychologically exciting, and engaging. Jeremy is a character that readers will root for — the son of famous geneticists who gets attacked by gnome assassins and sets out on a path he never envisioned. The plot is deftly done and is filled with deep layers. The story takes place in a well-imagined world, and the conflict is phenomenal. War World: A Novel features lofty writing. The descriptions are cinematic and the author does an impeccable job with the dialogues. Rod C. Spence is a master storyteller with a unique gift for plot and character. The reader is gripped from the opening pages of the story with no let up until the satisfying denouement.

K.C. Finn

War World is an exciting, genre-spanning adventure for young adult readers by author Rod C. Spence. Best friends Jeremy Austin and Patrick Korrapati are part of a select group of teenagers known as the TerraGen Kids. Their parents are prominent figures working for a powerful corporation that has built a portal to the planet Genesis. When their parents go missing, Jeremy, Patrick and four other unlucky kids are duty-bound to enter the portal themselves and join the mission to save their parents. Wild beasts and incredible challenges lie ahead, not least because of the looming Shadow Lord who haunts the world of Genesis. A hero must rise to vanquish him along the way.

There’s far too much to say about this excellent novel in a single review, because it has so many facets relating to classic science fiction, fantasy and horror interwoven into a lavish and enjoyable plot. The characterization of the teens was a particular highlight for me, showcasing diversity amongst the six characters and keeping them realistic for their age and abilities in this brave new world. The rise to heroism for each of them is played genuinely, and they keep their spirits up and brave despite the challenges which they face. The whole experience felt very ‘Jurassic Park’, and in the best possible way, and Rod C. Spence writes with speed and pace to guide you through detailed exposition and high stakes action. I can’t recommend War World enough; it was a truly immersive and exhilarating read.

Liz Konkel

War World is the first book in an exciting new series by Rod C. Spence. Jeremy thought all he had to deal with were trials at school, until he hears news of his father disappearance after an expedition for the company TerraGen goes south. When his brother also disappears, Jeremy knows there's more going on than what TerraGen is sharing. TerraGen seems to think he knows where his father's mysterious missing diary is and sets out to interrogate him and the other TerraGen teenagers. The six teenagers are forced to band together to solve their parents' disappearance and journey through a portal to another planet called Genesis. There, Jeremy and the others encounter a dangerous world where they must fight aliens, monsters, gnome assassins, and the wrath of the Gnome King. One thing is soon clear: whether Jeremy likes it or not, he may be the only one who can save Genesis... and Earth.

Alex, Jeremy, Patrick, Marissa, Serene, and Leo are six teenagers with one thing in common: their parents disappeared on an expedition to another world. Rod C. Spence crafts a brilliant science fiction adventure drawing inspiration from Michael Crichton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Terry Brooks. War World weaves through multiple perspectives, ranging from the scientists at TerraGen to each of the teenagers, to even the thoughts of the aliens hunting them. Spence makes it clear who the bad guys are and what goals they have, but exploring each side of the story through various perspectives doesn't take away the surprises Spence has in store. Every corner turned is another surprise waiting for discovery. The first part of the story has TerraGen as the root of everything happening with more of a mysterious tone as the teenagers search for answers while fighting against being interrogated and threatened. The teenagers aren't exactly friends and each comes from different situations, but TerraGen's threat forces them to band together.

Once they reach Genesis, the story becomes more action-packed and turns into a science fiction adventure with some fantasy elements woven in, starting with the presence of the Gnome King and a wizard. Various issues are addressed through the teenagers' lives, including abuse, cancer, and bullying which are mainly addressed in the first part of the story. The danger picks up at high speed on Genesis and the teenagers are constantly fighting for survival. Illustrations are at the beginning of every chapter, setting up the events to come. War World is a very enjoyable science fiction adventure about six teenagers banding together to face deadly monsters and aliens on a dangerous planet to find their parents, stop a corrupt company, and save two planets. A must-read for YA fantasy fans!

Jamie Michele

War World by Rod C. Spence is a science fiction fantasy novel that follows Jeremy Austin and five other teenagers on a mission to save their parents, who have vanished during an expedition. There's a lot of players involved in this adventure and each has their own point of view shared, with the six teens being accompanied by mercenaries, scientists and government agents through a TerraGen Universal portal...TerraGen being the company that got them into this whole mess. The wormhole delivers the group to a planet millions of light years away, where a search for their loved ones also becomes a survival mission for themselves as they are forced to confront a whole host of dangers, including the Shadow Lord, and a thirty-day deadline before they are sealed in forever.

Rod C. Spence weaves a wildly descriptive tale in War World. The tension rides through every scene and with little down time, it's definitely a fast-paced adventure. I loved the fact that Jeremy is just an everyday, barely-average teenager despite being the son of a renowned and revered scientist. The world building throughout is vivid and genuinely comes to life, which says a lot considering the number of aliens, creatures, wizards and even gnomes introduced. This is a book that I really enjoyed and will definitely be passing on to my own teenage daughter. It's rare we find common ground but War World is a story that is likely to find a wide-ranging and adoring audience. Enthusiastically recommended!

Amanda Rofe

War World by Rod. C. Spence is a young adult science fiction fantasy novel. It is the first in a series of books recounting the space adventures of an eclectic mix of six high school students and their parents. TerraGen, a highly advanced biotech company, discovers a wormhole. They set up a remote laboratory on a planet called Genesis, 2.4 million light years away, to carry out research without any legal restrictions. An expedition of over 500 people is dispatched to this strange world and includes the parents of the students. However, something goes awry and the expedition goes missing. The students decide to investigate but their plans are hijacked by a bunch of mercenaries. Unfortunately, even more powerful forces are at work and they all get drawn into a hitherto unknown world of ancient cities and crazy alien entities, including the sinister Shadow Lord.

A mix of rebellious teenagers, high tech espionage and prehistoric aliens from another planet provide an exciting backdrop for this fantasy science fiction adventure. This is a fast-paced drama that young adults will be able to thoroughly immerse themselves in. War World contains an assortment of interesting human characters, a portal to a weird planet, and a number of extremely hostile alien creatures; all the ingredients necessary for a great fantasy adventure of this kind. The alien world is a captivating place, very scary and extremely dangerous. Rod C. Spence has created a sophisticated plot line with numerous twists and turns which keeps the reader engaged throughout.