J. R. Cleveland’s Abducted Series features a teenage boy (Luke) taken on an adventure spanning the unknown alien infested galaxy. I immediately downloaded this free book when I read the first line of the product description about Luke discovering aliens trying to milk a cow in his barn. I knew I would be in for a quirky, fun and funny adventure. Did it deliver?
What I liked about the book:
1. The world-building was excellent. I loved the way the aliens talked as well as the gestures used to give the story an alien quality. The locations were also varied and interesting.
2. I liked that the Luke was in almost constant danger. It helped the plot move even when there were plot issues.
3. The main character’s voice was unique and good.
4. The editing and prose were without fault. There were no typos or weird syntax issues tripping up the reading experience.
What I think would’ve made it better.
1. The pacing was off. The end of Act 1 came very early in the story, which lead to the fact that…
2. Even though Luke was on a mission to save his parents at the beginning of Act 2, I felt zero empathy for his situation because it was never established that his parents being gone had brought distress to his life. Act 1 could have been bolstered to give us more background and help us care more.
3. [SPOILER] Luke as a main character didn’t seem to have a character arc. While he is the protagonist of the story, he does very little and even himself says at the end of the book that Leonidas and Simon are the real superheros. And they were…they did basically everything.
4. While Luke was in danger, there was one instance that, as far as I can tell, had no impact on the plot whatsoever. He gets lost and captured only to get rescued and then the plot resumes. Maybe it’s a plant for the next book in the series, but even if that’s true, it needed a better integration with the plot of this story.
I actually liked this book more than I have a right to. The writing was fluid and fun, as were many of the concepts. I think I read it more for the fun and interesting world-building rather than the plot. And unfortunately, the plot and character arc take a back seat. I still recommend it to people who enjoy the genre or are just interested in spending some time in an alien world.