The Amber Project by J.N Chaney

I received this book for free from J.N Chaney in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Amber Project by J.N ChaneyThe Amber Project by J.N Chaney
Series: The Variant Saga #1
Published by Jeff Chaney on April 13th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Military, Genetic Engineering, Young Adult, Dystopian
Pages: 343
Format: Kindle
Source: J.N Chaney
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In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery—and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.

Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine—and what he will become is far more dangerous. 

Initially, I had already formed a poor opinion of this book after reading the synopsis. It was too similar to books I’ve read before, however, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot, considering, I am generally a big fan of Dystopian, Apocalyptic genres. The novel itself, I thought was mediocre but the premise was not what I expected. It’s true there were some elements that were similar to other Dystopian, Apocalyptic genres, but there were some variances in the plot that engaged me enough that I was able to at least finish the novel. As much as I wanted to like the book, there were some aspects that left me wanting more and the plot lost a lot of the potential due to lacking development of center pieces that draws a reader in, and as a result, the hook, line, and sinker fell short, leaving me with a sense of bewilderment and the inability to decide how I truly felt once I finished the novel.

Characters

The Amber Project focuses around the main character, Terry, from ages 7 to 15. During this time, the author fails to add enough depth and substance to his character, impacting the reader’s ability to truly relate to the protagonist. If anything, I found that he came off as weak-willed, which to some extent was the intent of the author, and whiny. It left an undesirable taste and rather then finding a connection, I was more interested in the parts of the novel that did not involve his story line.

There are of course supporting characters as well, which had, in my opinion the same problem. The author tried to add depth and substance but fell short and while I found myself wanting to relate to each of the varying characters and their individual stories, I found I could not. The backstories felt forced and incomplete, preventing any short of connection with these characters.

Plot

As, stated earlier the plot had several similarities to other Dystopian, Apocalyptic novels. The idea that each member of society had a specific role delegated to them at a specific age is reminiscent of Lois Lowery’s The Giver. The modifications to the human genome in an effort to save humanity is found again in Veronica Roth’s Divergent, even the need to live underground after a the earth is rendered unlivable is similar to several novels, leaving the book’s history, predictable at best. In short, there was nothing overtly original in regards to the history of the planet and the people still residing there, failing again to truly draw me in.

Final Thoughts

Overall, The Amber Project was okay. It didn’t have any characteristics that caused me to dislike the novel but it also did not have any outstanding moments that gave me a reason to want to continue the saga. Several parts of The Amber Project were too predictable and predicated on what seems, the standard plot devices for novels in the same genres. It’s not a book I would outright recommend but it’s also one I might tell a colleague to check out if they were looking for something to pass the time between novels. I can say, I am not sure I will be continuing the series as it seemed the ending was a bit forced and a second thought to the author based on the way the novel concluded.

About J.N Chaney

J. N. Chaney has a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and fancies himself quite the Super Mario Bros. fan. When he isn’t writing or gaming, you can find him somewhere online, probably goofing off. He spends most of his downtime reading, catching up on Netflix, and building a weapon to combat the oncoming invasion of fifth dimensional beings (probably shaped like spaghetti or something).

He also really loves sushi.

After serving in the US Air Force, Chaney decided to pursue writing full time. Since then, he’s published his first novel, The Amber Project, part one in his ongoing Variant Saga.

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