Book Review: Harken by Kaleb Nation

Harken by Kaleb Nation
Release Date: January 13, 2013
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Source: ARC from Author

After surviving an assassination attempt, teenager Michael Asher discovers that he is at the center of a worldwide conspiracy reaching higher than any earthly power. A supernatural organization desperately wants him dead. He doesn’t know why. Everyone who might have the answers has already been killed.

Tumbling into a web of international secrets, Michael is forced to fight back and dig up the truth. He begins to question how much of the world is truly as people are led to believe it is. Are there things that humanity is not being told? Who is the puppet master? And how far into the maze can he venture before he is lost forever?

I’m a sucker for conspiracy theories in books, movies, and on TV so putting Harken on my “To Be Read” list was not a question. I find the topic to be wildly fascinating, especially when learning about conspiracies that I hadn’t previously known about. Author, Kaleb Nation has brought to life one of those conspiracies, involving reptilians and has created such an incredibly satisfying adventure that readers not just limited to the young adult market will enjoy.

When it comes to the characters, Nation has all around very well crafted characters. You’ll have a love hate relationship with Michael without a doubt. One of the things that I loved about Michael was his gift and his moral code if you will for using that gift. One of the things that I hated about Michael was him walking into situations he knew he had no business walking into. Isn’t it common knowledge never to go home once you’ve been compromised? No matter how badly you want to go back. Never go back home! Anyway, Michael has two sidekicks who are really his chosen protectors. Callista, well, I wasn’t a fan of hers. While my dislike for her lessened over the book, I never really got to the point where I thought, “I like her now.” So there’s that. Thad is a cool guy. He is the level headed one in the group. I like him… but I was always distracted by his odd name. Anyone else or was that just me?

I can’t really talk about the minor characters in the book, whom I really enjoyed following, so as not to get into any spoilers, but you will feel for everyone. There are no throw-away characters here, everyone counts for something. Which brings me to the point that this book has more heart than it lets on and for an action based novel, that is not easy to come by. Bravo, Kaleb Nation for making people think about a world greater than themselves and giving us a human-level reason to cry on someone’s shoulder.

As far as seeing a world that is so much greater than what we can offer it and what we think it to be, Nation does a fabulous job crafting this world and making us believe it from the moment Michael comes face to face with the truth. Now at first, I did think that the police dismissed Michael’s statement about the attempt on his life way too quickly. But as I read on, it didn’t seem unrealistic to do just that in this world where the police, the government, everyone highly influential is a puppet (and doesn’t even know it). That may have just been me but…

What everyone will notice right away is the amount of questions that need to be answered. It’s more than the average story. As every great book goes, the first round of questions are answered but with that a host of new questions arise. In Harken, you never stop asking questions. And aside from the action, that is ultimately what kept me reading. Sure, you may predict correctly what will happen next at certain times but there will definitely be a greater amount of times that you won’t be able to predict what’s happening.

My only issue with Harken is that there is such great attention to detail that sometimes it works against the story and slows the pacing of the book down, moreso in the first half than in the second half. I do want to point out though that I did enjoy the detail of Los Angeles as I used to live there so envisioning everything was that much easier and real to me. Anyway, there is a ton more action in the second half of the book, so you’ll notice the pacing pick up a bit before then.

Getting into a book on page one is one thing but that moment when you really know you’re hooked a few chapters in? That moment for me was when Michael walked into the church and met someone though I will not spoil who it is. That is the moment that the story really got going for me. From there, I was ready to buckle in and go along for the ride and I am glad that I did! Harken is a thrilling read that I think any fan of conspiracies, adventures, and Fringe will enjoy.

Harken by Kaleb Nation is available for $2.99 on Amazon Kindle now.