Saving Raine by Frederick Lee Brooke
The Drone Wars: Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (258 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
“Matt, Raine went to California because her parents thought it was safe. It’s not. You’ve got to get her out as soon as possible. She could die, Matt.”
When 19-year-old Matt Carney gets a cryptic message from his father telling him to go to California and save his girlfriend, Raine, he doesn’t hesitate—he grabs his AK-47, revs up his blue pickup, and gets ready to make the 2,300-mile roadtrip.
But cross-country travel in 2021 isn’t easy—or, sometimes, even possible. The U.S. has become a near-military state: 17,000 checkpoints severely restrict interstate movement, Predator drones target innocent civilians without cause, and explosions rock cities daily. Matt and his stepbrother, Benjy, face deadly attacks from a corrupt government, ruthless local law enforcement, and bloodthirsty terrorist groups as they embark on their trek. They’re about to find out that their trip is much more than a private journey, and their success could change the face of the country—forever.
Can Matt and Benjy outrun the drone missiles raining down on their heads? Can they avoid assassination by government officials hell-bent on taking over what little is left of the country? Can they outsmart the deadly schemes set in motion against them?
Break the rules.
Save the girl.
He only gets one chance before she’s gone forever.
It’s easier to make a promise than it is to keep it, but Matt has never been the type of person to go back on his word.
Dystopias are one of my favourite sub-genres of science fiction. Projecting how current trends could go horribly wrong in the future is fascinating, especially when the author isn’t afraid to criticize more than one political party in the process. The world-building in this one was strong, consistent, and occasionally pretty scary.
The antagonists in this story are fairly flat characters. In some cases their reasons for opposing Matt were hard to understand because their actions didn’t match what they seemed to want from him. Everyone has contradictory moments, of course, but with such limited information about their personalities I had trouble understanding why they made certain choices.
Matt is a well-developed and sympathetic protagonist. What I found most interesting about this character is how his flaws interact with the plot. He has more than his fair share of them, but because they’re so well-integrated into everything else that’s going on they felt like natural extensions of the complex personality of a guy who has seen more than his fair share of troubles.
There were so many shifts in perspective that they occasionally slowed down my perception of how fast the plot was moving due to the extra time I needed to figure out who was speaking now. I understand this is the first book in a series, and I suspect that some of these shifts might make more sense in the future. As it was written, though, this particular tale would have worked better for me if it had limited itself to one or two speakers.
The romantic subplot fits in well with everything else that’s going on. Matt and Raine’s relationship has had to adjust to a lot of changes , but it was easy to imagine how they interacted with each other before she moved away due to the letters and other written forms of communication they’ve swapped.
Saving Raine is an adrenaline-soaked adventure that kept this reader’s attention from beginning to end. If you like dystopian fiction, give it a try!