Review: Nomad by J.L. Bryan

J.L. Bryan
Genre: NA Dystopian / Science Fiction
Release date: July 26 2013
Source: Received from the author for review
Rating: ★★★★

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They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight.

Although I had only read two of JL Bryan’s books prior to reading Nomad, I would definitely consider myself of his awesome and unique work. I just could not turn down Nomad, but I wouldn’t have wanted to anyway because it falls under the category of my favourite genre: my beloved science fiction. Plus, there’s time travel! Infinite win! I think it’s safe to say that I kind of had a good feeling that I wouldn’t be disappointed and it’s a good thing that I trusted that good feeling because I definitely wasn’t disappointed at all!

As soon as Nomad begins, we meet Raven who finds herself alone in the middle of a highway, unable to remember where she is or where she came from, with only a few select images standing out in her memory. As she goes on her way, she gradually remembers what she is doing and that she has arrived in 2013 from the year 2064, where the United States has become a horrific dictatorship with many people living in poverty, including Raven herself. From a weird gizmo she has found on herself, she is reminded of what it is she has to do: she must find the future dictator and assassinate him before he comes into power. I love how we are thrust straight into the action once the book begins, which told me that I was in for something totally awesome. Throughout the plot, there are flash-forwards to Raven’s time which help to explain her mission, what is going on in the future and also the whole concept of time travel and what happens when history is changed, which I thought was explained very clearly. I didn’t have any problem with following the storyline and the time travel concept and I found it very interesting and original. Although I liked the way that the story progressed as a whole, I did find some parts of the book to be just a little bit slow compared to other parts.

Our heroine, Raven, is just all kinds of awesome and I loved her for that. She is strong, smart and really knew what she was doing. I liked how she was able to gather her thoughts relatively quickly so that she was able to get on with her mission as swiftly as possible and do the best job possible and also that she didn’t let on to anybody that she was from the future, that can be due to how well she managed to integrate with our modern society. I really admired how intelligent she was. She thought out everything carefully and considered both the benefits and consequences of her actions, rather than just going head first into doing something. I also loved how badass she is: this girl knows how to kick some butt and handle a weapon. What could be more awesome than that?

Even though Nomad primarily takes place in our time, I really liked the world-building of the future. I enjoyed learning about how far technology has advanced and also how the general state of things in the US has deteriorated to the point of extreme poverty (hopefully something like that wouldn’t happen in real life, or even in the UK where I am!). Thanks to the fantastic world-building, I really enjoyed the flash-forwards and was always excited to return to this harrowing future that I certainly would not hope for.

I loved how unique Nomad is; I haven’t read many dystopians that feature time travel, which has been done so well here. I wasn’t confused by anything at all, but the book did leave me wondering a few times. Every time I came back to the story, I just read and didn’t want to stop (unfortunately, the real world gets in the way) because I was enjoying the story so much. However, there were a few slower moments here and there, but once I’d gotten past them they were definitely worth it due to the book’s awesome ending that I kind of didn’t expect.

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