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REVIEW: Twist by Colby Hodge

Dear Ms. Hodge,

050552748001mzzzzzzz.jpgI greatly enjoyed the first batch of books Shomi published last year, so I’ve been looking forward to the imprint’s second offering. Yours is the first of those I’ve read, and for the most part, I am not disappointed.

Abbey Shore works her way through architectural school by flipping houses. Her latest project is the neighborhood haunted house, which has a ghostly reputation that far exceeds the reality. In fact, the only thing dangerous about it is the fact that several dead bodies are turning up in its general vicinity. Then one night, Abbey knocks down a wall while renovating and discovers a giant, spinning hourglass submerged in a tank of hydrogen peroxide. And that’s where her troubles begin.

I’ve never been a fan of time travel stories, so I was initially put off by that aspect. Thankfully the novel also promised a post-apocalyptic future, which is something I am fond of, and that was enough to overrule my misgivings. I’m glad that was the case because otherwise I would have missed out on an entertaining read. The first three Shomi books taught me to expect a fast pace and lots of action, and Twist certainly lived up to that promise. The instant Abbey steps through the time twister, we’re greeted by action, action, action. (That’s not criticism, by the way.)

The post-apocalyptic future portrayed in the book reminds me of I Am Legend, with its rundown cities and vampiric monsters. We’ve already seen similar futuristic landscapes in other Shomi novels like Driven and Moongazer, but in both those cases, the cause for the apocalypse was largely environmental. In Twist, the world’s population was nearly wiped out by a virulent strain of the bird flu and the survivors are hunted down by alien-spawned vampires, colloquially known here as ticks. I’ve mentioned before that I’m tired of vampires but these were different and monstrous enough for me to work past that pre-existing bias.

I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Abbey and Shane. In the present day, they’re both shy and unable to work up the courage to talk to each other. But in the future, Abbey’s confused by her recent time travel and Shane, who’d been turned into a vampire by Queen Tick Lucinda, is angry about the last 150 years. Abbey disappeared through the time twister shortly before their first date, and it was her failure to show up that led to his disastrous encounter with Lucinda. Shane’s struggle to work past his bitterness to realize the current state of the world isn’t Abbey’s fault and Abbey’s attempts to reconcile the Shane she knew and the future Shane both provided a nice emotional backdrop for the book.

I do have one complaint, however, and it’s one that comes up again and again with the Shomi books: the antagonist is two-dimensional. Lucinda is a member of a conquering alien race, and the one sent to Earth. Her only goal seems to be killing Abbey and any members of her special bloodline. Everything else — creating more ticks, destroying the world — is an offshoot of that one thing, and it becomes tedious. After all, when you have such a two-dimensional antagonist, is there any doubt the heroine will triumph in the end? Especially when that heroine is apparently the best fighter ever seen in that post-apocalyptic future?

That said, I enjoyed Abbey’s story and how her time in the future teaches her to be a braver person. I do think her fighting prowess and special abilities were introduced abruptly and without much lead up, as was the special bond between Abbey and Shane, but I loved her interactions with Shane’s band of post-apocalyptic survivors, who were a nicely varied bunch. And kudos for the cover as well; in general, the Shomi covers have not been my cup of tea but this one I like. B for me.

My regards,

Jia

This book can be purchased in mass market or ebook format.

Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!

8 Comments

  1. Jan
    Feb 06, 2008 @ 06:40:46

    I bought this book last week based on the Shomi books I had read last year. I haven’t read it yet so I was interested in your review. I will have to move it up in TBR pile!

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  2. Karen W.
    Feb 06, 2008 @ 11:36:37

    I just finished this and enjoyed it. A B+ for me.

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  3. Michele Lang
    Feb 07, 2008 @ 06:37:08

    I read this book too…it’s great :)

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  4. Lana
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 08:27:39

    Wow, I get to follow Michele Lang’s comment, cool!! btw, I’m really looking forward to reading your Shomi “Netherwood” book…I understand there are some serious SF elements in it. Can’t wait to read it!!

    Anhyway, about Twist: I thought it was a hauntingly good story. Thank you for a truly good read.

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  5. Colby Hodge
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 12:00:45

    Thanks to every one for the kudos on Twist. The story was quite a bit different from what I usually write and even though I enjoyed writing it, It was still scary to throw it out there.

    I also agree with the two dimensional comment about Lucinda, the villaness. Thats why I hate deadlines I simply ran out of time to really bring her motives to the forefront. When I turned this book in I told my editor there was a lot more of this world I wanted to explore but time simply ran out of me. There is also the issue that the story was writte from the first person, which is something I’ve only done iwth my YA’s. It’s hard to convery what the other characters motivation is when you can’t really be in their heads. I tried to write this book third person but Abbey’s voice was so strong that it had to come out in first. My biggest concern was making Shane’s internal conflict real and I’m glad to know that you saw what he was going through.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Colby

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  6. Tamara Anguiano
    Mar 24, 2010 @ 07:22:59

    =””Tammy A.””=
    I read this book once and couldn’t put it down. Since then I have reread the book at least three or four times. I simply can get enough of it. Thanks Colby for getting this book out there. I hope maybe possibly there will be a sequal and if so send it right to me.

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  7. DaelanAleta
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 18:40:17

    This book is amazing. I couldn’t believe that it was marked down for so little money as to be within my budget in my local store after I read it! I love Abbey, but above all my favorite character was Shane. I loved the suspense when I was waiting to read whether his eyes were red or blue, waiting to read whether he was loving Abbey or killing her! He is my favorite character, I wish he was a real guy!

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  8. Char
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 23:16:04

    I read this around when it first came out. Saw it on the shelves at a Walmart Neighborhood Market, bought it, and never regreted doing it. This book was and is amazing. Sadly i lost my copy, but i just bought another and can’t wait to re-read it. I’m a very picky reader, and this had enough sarcasm, action, and smut for my liking. :)

    ReplyReply

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