Editorial Review: Whiplash Book One by Morgan Quaid
Getting abducted in the dead of night is just the start of eighteen-year-old Jack Flint's problems. After he is taken to an underground bunker where he is stripped of everything in his old life, including his name, Jack is forced to fight an enemy he knows nothing about in a world he never even knew existed.
Lucid dreaming forms the backbone of this fast-paced novel where a handful of dreamers might be the only thing standing between humanity and a bleak future. After his abduction, Jack is entirely in the dark about what is happening to him and why, and discovering what is really going on makes Whiplash a real page-turner.
The first part of Whiplash deals with Jack coming to terms with his new life and trying to figure out how he is going to escape from his captors. Jack is an intelligent teen and uses his wit and humor to cope with his dire situation. However, it is clear from very early on that whoever orchestrated the capture of Jack and the other teens cares very little about their comfort or feelings. Jack is subjected to some harrowing tests but also bonds with some of his fellow captives, which injects some hope and humanity into the story.
Once Jack learns about his true purpose and the stakes, the story really kicks into high gear. Discovering this, along with Jack, is half the fun, but suffice to say, the payoff is definitely worth the suspense leading up to all the revelations. Whiplash straddles a few different genres, but the author manages to combine everything into a coherent and compelling narrative that doesn't feel disjointed. Readers are privy to Jack's thoughts and emotions as he navigates what is happening to him, and this means that there is rarely a dull moment in Whiplash.
Whiplash also excels in world-building, and the vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of Rust make it easy to get drawn into the story. Of course, it helps that Jack is a relatable and likable character, but he is not the only one by any means. From fellow abductees like Juniper and Saffron to Rust residents like Shadow, Whiplash features plenty of great characters as well as abhorrent enemies.
The fact that it is not always clear who the "good" and "bad" guys are, also keeps readers on their toes.
Some of the best parts of Whiplash involve the many unexpected twists and startling revelations, which can't be discussed without spoilers. Although the story features elements from pop culture milestones such as Inception and The Matrix, it doesn't feel derivative and still manages to put a fresh spin on familiar themes.
Whiplash is definitely a book that is best experienced without knowing anything that awaits you, but fans of science fiction and fantasy will find this one hard to put down.