Thursday, May 24, 2012

Feature: Conditioned Response by Marjorie F. Baldwin

Conditioned Response (Phoenician #2)
By:  Marjorie F. Baldwin
ISBN:  9781476405711
Published April 20, 2012
Available Format: ebook

My Rating: ★★★★★

Author’s Synopsis:  Shayla didn't ask to be a Councillor. A Phoenician shouldn't have to live among the humans, let alone take part in their world. She only came here when the Seven Chiefs ordered her to go with Raif, a Proctor from the world Outside. They said they had a Plan. The Seven Chiefs always had a Plan, but Shayla had made plans of her own now, after 13 years of life under the World Council.

Raif had never intended for things to go this far. A few months, maybe a year, and he could send the little Phoenician girl home again, back where she belonged. Where she'd be safe. Even a Proctor couldn't protect her from the World Council. He couldn't protect himself. The Seven Chiefs had gotten him started on a quest for answers about his own genetic history and the further he dug into it, the more questions he had. After producing a Designated Heir, Raif finds himself in competition with his own progenitor for control of his future and Shayla seems to be the only one who can save him now.

But nothing is as it seems and no plan survives first contact with the enemy. Who will live and who will die—and whose Plan is this anyway?

I have had the immense pleasure of working with Friday on this lovely novel. She swears it is cursed, but I say great things come to those who… toil… endure… a lot… I know she has been looking forward to the release of Conditioned Response for a very, very long time, and I am happy to be a part of the process.

I’m not much for reading the same book more than once. I do it occasionally for some of my favorites, and I obviously have to read what I edit or proofread more than once, but Conditioned Response is something that can definitely be read again and again.

This is a long novel, which is common for a lot of sci-fi or epic fantasies and the like, but you never really feel like it is taking a long time. You get so absorbed in the story, in the lives of these characters, that you can’t do anything but hang on every word and eagerly turn every page wanting even more. At the end, 230,000 words in, I was STILL sad it was over.

Every character is fleshed out so well, even the more minor characters. There is so much depth to each one of them and they each have their own story, sometimes only briefly touched, but you get to know every one of them in some way. This is very hard for an author to do, and Friday does an amazing job. 

This is one of the most intriguing, action-packed, and emotionally charged novels I have read in a long time. I was sympathetic. I was angry. I laughed, a lot. I cried, quite a bit. I dreamt about the story. I thought about the characters even when I was not reading. I was hooked. What more can you ask out of a book—a piece of literary art??  Anything that can make you feel—anything—is a success.  And Friday has a huge success on her hands. I wish her the very best with this and all of her writing endeavors. 

Stop by tomorrow, May 25, 2012, for an author interview with Friday!!!