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Robert Arias is a writer living in Maryland, and is also a skier, a sailor, and a community activist. His musings have been published in The Economist, Smithsonian, the Washington Post, The Capital, Spinsheet, and BoatUS Magazine, as well as on-line. Crown of Creation is his first novel; a sequel ("Volunteers") is in progress. You can contact him at email@example.com.
on Nov. 27, 2012 :
To properly review this book, one has to keep in mind that "Second Civil War" is not an entirely new concept. However, several books that have attempted to describe either the process of the civil war or its aftermath have been less than stellar and sometimes downright awful. (Orson Scott Card's Empire is something I've been trying to erase from my mind so as to keep my respect for the writer of Ender's Game, while Neil Schusterman's Unwind would have taken a Nobel Prize for literature in the Least Likely Civil War Outcome category.) So on that level alone, the book succeeds brilliantly. It starts, literally, with a bang, and then slowly but surely takes us through the post-Second Civil War America. The nominal plot is a detective story, a murder investigation, but the concept allows us to travel through the now divergent societies of the prosperous libertarian West and the declining statist East. The book does not spend time on pure exposition, which surely would have been tempting to the author (and probably interesting to me as a political junkie), but instead lets the new world unfold as the story progresses. On the downside, the central story could have been better, the characters more developed, the motivations clearer especially towards the end. It's almost a shame to go into a world as intriguing as this, then spend most of the time on a middling detective story. In fairness, the book probably only deserves 3 stars; however, as THE best attempt I've seen at this particular theme, I'm upping the rating in hopes to give the work more publicity and the author more encouragement. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to any fan of near-future speculative fiction, and certainly to my libertarian-inclined friends.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)
on July 23, 2012 :
A most interesting book! A good projection of what the future might hold for us. Descriptions of the two "countries" are believable and make the reader think about where we are headed. The plot is intriquing and easy to follow and moves quickly. Over all, a very interesting and enjoyable read. Definitely worth reading!
(reviewed 89 days after purchase)
on June 20, 2012 :
Crown of Creation is a solid freshmen effort from Robert Arias. If you enjoy a good Clive Cussler, you'll be at home with Robert's clean, no-nonsense prose. The book is at its best when it's knee-deep into its mystery, bouncing back and forth between Colorado and Philadelphia, contrasting the prosperity of the new West with the desolation of the old East. Realistically, however, you will have to arrive to the book already converted to Robert's brand of self-reliant politics to fully enjoy its narrative, it takes little time in any attempt to convert the unconverted.
It runs short, and loses a star for never really fleshing-out its protagonist. Adam Henry's character is murky, and therefore the motivations behind his ultimate actions are rather inexplicable. The novel, potentially stretched out to a full sixty/eighty thousand words, would serve its rich, well-drawn setting far better.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on April 09, 2012 :
I must certainly agree that Mr. Arias does has a good knowledge of Philadelphia and its suburbs as I am from Philadelphia originally. I was able to obtain my copy for free but after reading it, I realized it would be well worth the price normally charged.
(reviewed 35 days after purchase)
on March 22, 2012 :
If you recognize the song behind the title, this book is definitely for you. It's a must read for hippie libertarians and an enjoyable thought provoking adventure for everyone else!
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)
on March 19, 2012 :
This is the type of book that is easy and fun to read as the writer keeps the action moving along. It is clear the he knows intimately areas such as Telluride, its slopes, Philadelphia and it suburbs and a variety of "craft" beers as he effortlessly incorporates them as back drops that add legitimacy to the over-all plot. A clue to the author's out look on life can be caught with the description of the two nations - the prosperous liberty-loving West and the downtrodden, corrupt and collectivist East. Having said that, this is a book that even a person of the liberal political persuasion would love.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)