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on Feb. 18, 2013 :
Fantastic read that gets 5 big, shiny stars from me. The action starts on the very first page, grabs your attention and just never lets up.
The story is told from a male pov which is more unusual in YA books and I have to say I found this a refreshing change. Sawyer and his brother River are the main characters and the relationship between them is endearing, it’s a no punches held one (literally! they scrap all the time!) but at the end of the day, they always have each other’s backs. The dialogue between them is snappy, witty and pure entertainment, a real highlight of the book for me.
The plot is interesting and I’m very happy that I choose to read this book at the weekend as I could just plough through it which was all I wanted to do. Sawyer moves to the town of Valentine to live with his grandfather to give himself the best chance of winning a basketball scholarship to college. So it’s about the new relationships he makes there and an ongoing conflict with his father. There are family secrets too. Some immediately obvious but I didn’t guess the full extent of these secrets until they were revealed near the end of the book.
All the characters are true to life and I can honestly say I enjoyed getting to know them all. And I just loved when I got to the end of the book and saw there is more books planned for the series, I feel like this is the start of a beautiful new friendship between me and folks of Valentine. And even better the next one is about bad boy River, bring it on asap, I can’t wait to have a full book all about him!
Note : Thanks to H.E. Ellis for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Jan. 12, 2013 :
Right from the first page Ellis drops his audience into an emotional rollercoaster that does not let up until the final word of the novel. Twists and turns abound in this extremely realistic, very vivid journey through the life of a teenage boy who cannot come to grips with the forces driving his life.
The characters and setting of this novel were both very well developed. These were people that you wanted to, or felt like you already did, know in your real life. You wanted to root for them, or against them, depending on which characters were involved. They were not flat characters either. Each of them was well rounded and lifelike.
There were some very intense moments within this story. Ellis grabs a hold of the English language and twists it in such a way that the audience is kept riveted and feels exactly what the character is feeling. That said, there were also a great deal of moments when I found myself laughing out loud, rather uncontrollably at times. The author manages to use words to evoke very strong emotions in the reader.
On this surface this novel is about secrecy driving a family apart, but it is also about truth bringing them back together. Although it is a gripping tale it also contains a great deal of realism regarding difficulties within families. The characters need to learn to accept others and themselves the way that they are. There is a great deal of fighting, both verbally and physically, between the characters in this novel. There are also a large number of “bro-mance” moments that counteract them.
I quite enjoyed the fact that each chapter had a song assigned to them. These songs complemented the chapters that they were associated with. Picturing or listening to the song enriched the chapter, giving it a deeper meaning.
Above all, what I found the most interesting about this novel is reading about high school and high school relationships from the perspective of a guy. It was interesting to see how a situation that I would have reacted to in one manner was dealt with very differently.
This book as a whole was very well written. It kept me captivated while grounded in reality. The author did not need to use any supernatural forces to keep me tied to these pages. I will definitely be checking out future works by this author in the near future.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on June 07, 2012 :
Queen of “The Gods of the Asphalt”
Review of “The Gods of the Asphalt”
by H. E. Ellis
To judge a story, ask not what it’s about, rather what is happening in it. That’s pretty much how I’d have to describe "The Gods of the Asphalt”. It’s not about a place, or a time, it’s what is happening to Sawyer, his brother, River, his dad and a myriad of other characters who populate this place and time in the middle of everywhere.
From the beginning, I’ve had mixed feelings regarding this story. I want to hurry and find out what happens to these people I’m growing fond of. But also, I fear that something awful might befall these people that suddenly matter to me. And, on top of that, if I do find out what happens, then I’ll be done with the book and won’t get to spend any more time with them.
Sawyer is our guide through this adventure. Though I’m nowhere near being one of them, I fully believe he is just like every other teenage boy in the world. From what he thinks about to what he thinks with.
And it’s not like Sawyer has a simple, uncomplicated life to deal with. His brother, River, looks nothing at all like Sawyer, or their dad. And their mom, Savannah, well, she is the complication that defines their lives.
Every day I spent with Sawyer, whether he was getting the tar beat out of him or teaching his friend Jeb how not to travel (on the basketball court), was an adventure that I couldn’t wait to get all wrapped up in. One thing I didn’t expect was that Sawyer would have such a good heart. Methinks, that is just what Sawyer didn’t expect, as well. And he’s finally getting the chance to get to discover himself. His TRUE self.
H. E. Ellis has turned out one fine first time novel. She is the Queen of "The Gods of the Asphalt". Though, I have to wonder if maybe she IS a teenage boy.
The book is available in many formats.
PS: Happily, there will be at least one more book in this “series”!
In closing... BUY/READ this book!!!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Jan. 09, 2012 :
Those kids reminded me of me at that age. Because they're written perfectly. And seeing them grow up was well worth the trip I was taken on.
Tight plot, fast moving, great story.
Great book, highly recommended!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 18, 2011 :
The Gods of Asphalt by H.E. Ellis is a page-turner that you won't put down until you are finished. Sawyer is a 6'5" 17-year-old with a big heart and bigger goals. He is in a terrible accident and doesn't realize how bad he is hurt - he is too concerned with making sure his brother is okay. The rest of the story is a flashback to how he got here now - and the tale both moves, and is moving.
Sawyer, his older brother River and his father Jimmy have been following his mother Savannah for years - but they only stop when she wants them to. On this latest stop at grandfather Gus's house, Sawyer decides he has had enough, and he wants to stay put, play basketball, go to college and live a normal life - at least, as normal as he can. But to stay, he has to face his father, one of the hardest things he's had to do.
He moves in with Gus and starts school, where he makes a friend (Jeb) and makes center on the varsity basketball team. He also meets Jeb's twin sister Sarah, and all bets are off. He takes on two "projects" - teach Jeb how to fight in order to impress a girl, and teach Sarah Spanish so she can go to a college far away and escape the family business.
But just when he thinks he has everything under control, he gets in fights with everybody, upsets nearly everyone, and is ready to give up on everything. What he decides to do next could destroy the lives of everyone around him - or save them all.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)