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The son of two 20-year Navy vets, Don A. Martinez spent much of his formative years around the Pacific Rim before settling in the continental U.S., first in Michigan and New York before finally reaching Texas.
He has been writing all his life, getting his start in elementary school as a two-time Young Authors selection in Oak Harbor, Washington. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and a Master of Arts degree in English from SUNY-College at Buffalo (Buffalo State College), where his academic focus was mythology and folklore, particularly how it is applied in modern storytelling.
Currently, he lives with his wife and four cats in northeast Texas, where he works as a college writing professor.
on May 20, 2013 :
First I would like to thank the author for giving me the chance to read his book and to say that my opinion of this book is very similar to that of the last book in that it was a hugely enjoyable read and a worthwhile page turner.
I like this series as it is well written and moves at a quick pace without feeling too rushed. The whole journey through hell was detailed but it did not drag too much at any one point. There were some plot points that I would have liked to have been fleshed out a bit more but these are most likely to be covered in the next book. My only real disappointment was that I would have liked more of the story to have been about the battle raging above. Yes, the story is from Alanna's POV but the story of the dystopian future is an interesting one and I felt that I missed what would have been some good moments in the years that Alanna was gone. I enjoyed the interruptions within the last novel and so possible interjections in the journal by Michi or William would have been appreicated. This would also have helped to break up the hell sections as well which, although enjoyable, did get rather heavy at times.
I will also note now that there was one error late in the book when Abastor is referred to by the wrong name. Not a large error and not repeated but it did confuse me for a moment as it was a name that Alanna should not be cordial towards.
I did not find that this book grabbed me as much as the previous one but I think that this is because this one is quite different in focus and tone. Overall it feels like a filler book that served to age the characters considerably before they move on in the story. Despite the conclusion the events in the book appeared to have little impact on the characters. They look different and are more scarred but emotionally and personality wise little appears to have changed, despite all the assurances early on that there would be major changes. Of course this could be focused on more in the next book and the repercussions of going to hell may become more relvant.
It is a good book but not as gripping as the last and I found that I could put it down easier once Alanna got to hell. However it is not a bad book by any means and I am still looking forward to reading the next installment when hopefully there will be more action in the war between the New Empire and the supernaturals.
(reviewed 43 days after purchase)
on April 22, 2013 :
Like I said in my review of the previous part of this series, I only learned about the 2 previous parts while reading the 3rd part (and though I will end up getting the first 2 parts just to satisfy my curiosity, exams have my hands full at the moment and it won't be for another while..)
This book was not as good as part 3. True, it continues Alanna's adventure, taking her all the way to Hell and back, I found the heavy reliance on Dante's Inferno a little bit annoying. I know that Mr. Martinez plays around in some of the details, but the use of someone else's imagination to make up for the lack of my own is not what I have come to expect from this author in particular.
Something I wanted to mention in my previous part's review that Goodreads found nice to delete is that the use of the word Guardsman came off as a little bit sexist to me. The current Guardsman is a WOMAN, so would it have been so hard to call them Guardians?
Another thing that annoyed me is the obvious lack of research (or maybe a disregard for details is what I should say). For example, when you have injured people at your door, you start by moving the youngest and most grievously injured in, not the other way round (and that's off the top of my head).
Furthermore, the English in this part felt a little wrong. Kind of like it was translated from another language by someone who doesn't even speak it well. It was too complex in places, and too simple in others. The easy flow I found in the previous part was mostly missing in this one.
For some weird reason, I just couldn't connect with this book the way I could with the previous part, and it saddens me as I really enjoyed that one. I'll just pretend it was written by a shadow writer and go on my merry way.. Hopefully, the real Mr. Martinez will have it edited and a better version reprinted.
P.S. what is up with "He Who Is I AM"? Seriously? Is that even supposed to make sense? Doesn't that just refer back to the speaker? If it's supposed to mean God, is that so hard to say? And if it doesn't mean God… I don't get it...
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)
on April 11, 2013 :
I first want to thank the author for allowing me to get his books for honest reviews. I really like how he keeps you wanting to know more. The characters are believable, I fealt for Alanna through the whole story. Her trip through hell to save her fathers soul is very interesting and she learns though the whole experience that hell is not a place she wants to end up. It seems Gabe makes sure she learns what she needs to even though she gets mad that he keeps things from her because she needs to learn them on her own. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, great job Don.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
on Feb. 03, 2013 :
I would like to thank the author for providing this book to me for purposes of an honest review.
I've really enjoyed this series so far. At first, I'll admit, I didn't hold out much hope for the series. As it progressed however, it got better and better. Now, I love Alanna, and really feel for her. The things she has to go through as a sixteen year old, sometimes you forget that she's only 16.
The author's writing style is good, he tends to show, not tell and I love that. I can see the story as it progresses in my mind. He really makes you feel for the characters and put yourself in their place.
The only thing I would really change about this entire series is the cover art for the books. It's awful, just awful. But, again, that's my opinion. However, I am an admitted cover-lover, and I do judge a book by its cover. If I had seen this book, or the rest of the series, with its cover work now in a store, I wouldn't look twice at it.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)