Beginnings by J.S. Frankel

Beginnings by J.S. Frankel
Beginnings by J.S. Frankel
Publisher: Finch Books
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (187 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Paul Wiseman, orphan and runaway, was looking for a family. He found one—and got a little more than he bargained for in the process.

Being an orphan is no fun. Having no friends isn’t much fun, either. When Paul Wiseman, seventeen, runs away from an orphanage to try his luck on the mean streets of New York, he finds himself trapped and almost beaten to death one night.

Rescued by a vampire named Angela, Paul goes to her small house in upstate New York where he meets her friends—Ooze, a sentient water being, Sandstorm, who uses his sandy body to blind his opponents, and CF—short for Cannon Fodder—a zombie.

The four of them become the Nightmare Crew—beings created by a scientist to fight against the lawless elements of the city. In joining them, Paul finds a family, friendship and maybe even love.

However, the company that allowed the creation of these beings wants them back, and they’ll stop at nothing to retrieve what they believe to be their property. It soon comes down to a battle between those born and those created…and it’s up to Paul to fight for the only family he’s ever known.

I’ve never met a more motley crew, but in this case that’s a very good thing!

Mr. Frankel’s plot twists have always been fantastic, but he really outdid himself this time. I couldn’t stop reading this book because of how many times he surprised me. Every time I thought I knew for sure what would happen to Paul next, I was caught off guard by how creatively the big reveals were handled when my theories were blown out of the water.

The romantic subplot was handled perfectly. I loved the fact that the characters involved in it got to know each other so well before anything even slightly flirtatious happened. Not only did this help me see why the characters might be a good match for each other, it also made me excited to see them explore the possibility of being a couple later on in the plot because I had to wait so long for any whiff of romance.

What I liked the most about Paul’s character development was how natural it was. He grew just as gradually and unevenly as as real people do. To be honest, sometimes his choices made me shake my head, but that’s the kind of reaction I look for when I’m reading. Imperfections make characters relatable and unforgettable, and Paul was both of those things to me.

I was fascinated by the descriptions of the Nightmare Crew. Their appearances and powers were described in such great detail that I felt like I was standing the same room with them. Even the one that grossed me out a little bit was still extremely interesting. This is exactly the kind of science fiction that I like to pick up when I’m relaxing.

Beginnings is a must-read for longtime and brand new fans of this author alike. I can’t recommend it highly enough.


  1. Jesse Frankel says:

    Thank you so much! I never expected this fine a review. I hope you’ll enjoy the other two novels in the trilogy.

    –Jesse (J.S.) Frankel

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