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Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Beyond Amazon: A Metaphysical Journey Through Time and Space by Jesse G. Shepherd and Carolee Shepherd is a mind-bending mystical science fiction novel. The story unravels in Dropwater, a little town in Montana hosting the August Arts Festival. Returning after several years is one of its featured musicians, Curtis Trueheart, who spent his adolescence and graduated from high school here. After his well-received performance, he meets a couple, Alecia and Randy, and later, their son. They invite him to their home on Outhere island in the Salish Sea. Looking forward to a relaxing vacation on the island, Curtis finds himself on a trip that will change his life forever. While on an evening walk on the beach, he meets a strange bearded man that is eight feet tall with shaggy hair. A puppy with peculiar features, which follows Curtis around, also appears. Alecia reveals to him that the puppy is a hu-mutt and is entrusted to him because he can give it a positive influence. She also explains that the island is where Dr. Sri Manu Nanda, a genetic scientist, began his genetic research more than a hundred years ago. Dr. Joy, as he is popularly called, experimented with shape-shifting, time jumping. and interspecies breeding, the latter to produce human species that do not willfully harm others. Curtis also learns of the existence of transportals where the mutability of time dimensions makes it possible for time travel. As Curtis tries to understand these supernatural phenomena, he enters the transportal by accident and goes on his own fascinating metaphysical journey.
Beyond Amazon is a unique science fiction story that is definitely thought-provoking. Written for young adult readers, it’s a story that will nourish the imagination and nurture the idea to make the world we live in more humane. Based on science as it relies on scientific facts, theories, and principles in support of its settings, characters, theme, and plot, it is a highly imaginative novel. What is striking about Beyond Amazon is the absence of bad characters in the storyline. The conflict here is not between the hero and the villain but rather in the choices made as the characters go on with their lives. Curtis Trueheart, the main protagonist, is easy to relate to and is a likable character. And to accompany him in his journey through time and space is quite engaging. The authors have presented their readers with a vision for the future built on the foundation of realism. In a very creative way, they create a totally different world with a link between the present and the future. This is perhaps the reason why the narrative is a fascinating read. With an inventive plot, a number of fascinating characters, and an otherworldly setting, the story is an amazing celestial mix. Every second you spend reading this book is indeed worth it. Highly recommended!