Nathan Beauchamp's Reviews > SLAM

SLAM by Tash McAdam
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it was amazing

SLAM is a novella-sized prequel to Tash McAdam's forthcoming series THE PSIONICS, due in 2015. SLAM introduces the surly but capable protagonist Serena, a teenage girl with tremendous psionic power and the desire to prove herself as an able field agent for the resistance forces fighting a dystopian government. She's a likable, interesting lead character, one I had no problem relating to even though I happen to be a thirty-something guy.

SLAM excels at creating believable psionic fights featuring combatants augments by super-human abilities. Serena can leap thirty feet in the air, deflect bullets like Neo in THE MATRIX, and use vocal "Talent" to dominate others like the Bene Gesserit in Frank Herbert's DUNE. She's a very capable fighter, and McAdam has a real knack for handling action sequences in a way that simultaneously entertains, keeps the reader grounded, and explains the world the characters occupy. No small feat, that.

The writing is bold, crisp, and precise. McAdam is a talented writer, especially good at the aforementioned action sequences as well as character thoughts and motivations. The last third of the book really accelerates, leading to a conclusion that left me hungering for far more. There's emotion in this story. Not melodrama, but genuine emotion. McAdam made me care, made me feel.

McAdam weaves in some humor as well. Characters refer to "Google" as you or I might refer to god. For example, character will say "Thank Google," when something good happens. They also use "Nuke" as a curse word, although this gets a touch redundant by the end (similar to characters saying "Frack" in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA).

My sole complaint with SLAM were the interactions between Serena and her former best friend Abial. They have a major falling out in the opening scene, but the tension inherent in that disagreement doesn't really pay off, at least not until the final, incredibly gripping section of the novella. I kept wondering why Serena, a headstrong character, wouldn't be pursuing her friend to sort out the reasons for their fight. In the last section of the book, Serena and Abial share a very moving scene where they do resolve their differences, but it felt like things were orchestrated to create that scene, rather than the scene being natural to the story.

That said, the book compelled me to read, and by the end, I found myself more than ready to buy the next book--alas, as of the time of the writing of this review, it's not on the market.

5/5 Stars. A truly excellent introduction to a world and characters I'll be happy to return to.
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Reading Progress

March 4, 2015 – Started Reading
March 4, 2015 – Shelved
March 8, 2015 – Finished Reading

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