Patriots: Book One by Will Kane Thompson Review

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Book Review

Title: Patriots

Author: Will Kane Thompson

Genre: Coming of Age/Political Fiction

Rating: ***

Review: The opening to Patriots was great, it opens in a club on October 21st with a unknown narrator describing the atmosphere of the club and how all the college students are dancing and having fun when he kicks a bookbag on the floor and suddenly there is an explosion and some people are hurt including the narrator. For an opening chapter this certainly was gripping. We then jump backwards three days, where we learn of the day to day situations at Florida South Coast University and the divide between students. As we slowly move through the day we learn about the lives of some of the students, one of which might be our mystery narrator from the opening chapter, and the two groups we seem to be focusing on are Ryan and his platoon of would be soldiers and Luke and his church goers and the divide between them. We learn that this novel is set post 9/11 and there is a lot of desire for the younger generation to fight back against the powers that harmed their country. So far it seems to be divided between those that support Bush and those that don’t after 9/11 which is a bit confusing if you don’t read much on the topic or are too young to have been around at the time, for me I was 4 years old at the time of 9/11 so I don’t know that much about it.

As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, by 6:30pm on the first day everything seems to be heating up and the tension for what is to come is really building. We also get to see the relationships between the characters and they are diverse. We have Tristan and Kyle’s very loving relationship although Kyle is shy and hesitant to say how he feels, then we have Ryan and Tracey’s tense relationship with seems to be ending, Kristi and Luke’s Christian relationship built on abstinence which doesn’t always prevail. However, there also seems to be a past relationship or an unrequited love between Ryan and Tristan which I am interested to see how this develops especially with their difference of opinion on the conspiracies of 9/11. So far, nothing much is happening the way of action or drama but we are seeing a lot of social, political, racial and religious tension building but this doesn’t really make for interesting reading.

As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, we are getting closer and closer to the events of the first chapter with only a day and a half to go, but the character I am really enjoying reading about at the moment is Kristi as she breaks away from Luke’s idea of faith to find her own and she is beginning to realise that she won’t put up with the way he is treating her for the rest of her life and intends to make herself heard where she would normal be silent as a “good Christian wife” should be. Kristi realises that she wants to be a strong woman like her mother but not trampled by a man like her mother was and like the pastor’s wife and she isn’t going to allow Luke to trample her into submission. It was also nice to see the character development in Luke and Ryan, Ryan is coming to terms with his father’s death in the 9/11 attacks and the betrayal he felt at Tristan’s words and Luke is beginning to accept the fact that he is either gay or bisexual while trying to maintain his religious beliefs.

As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, we are approaching the end of the second day and we can really see things snowballing. An offhand comment made by Tristan sparked an argument between him and Ryan and now they are going to confront each other but Tristan is still trying to appease his friend without hurting him further, but we know Ryan’s goal is revenge against those who killed his father. We also see a spark of religious argument between Luke and Kristi when they have drastically different opinions on religion and she tells him she isn’t certain about their relationship anymore and he is trying to cover up his attractions to the same sex while maintaining the façade of a faithful Christian. One of the most exciting scenes in the whole novel so far beside the opening chapter was the confrontation between Tristan and Ryan. Tristan’s argument makes a lot of sense and Ryan despite his words doesn’t want to hear it because his father died in the attack and he ends up attacking his friend over something that could have been avoided if they had spoken about it earlier. On the final day before the attack at the beginning of the novel, we see how different types of loyalty can really divide people; the loyalty to your beliefs and/or religion and how this can divide from the loyalty of the people you care about as if the case with Kristi and Luke and Tristan and Ryan.

As we cross into the second half of the novel, I really liked seeing Kyle’s struggle between religions. Kyle grew up in a multi-religion household as his father was Muslim and his mother Christian and while he investigates both religions he understands that neither if any religion will accept him being gay. I liked the struggle with identity in this novel and the mirrors between Kyle and Luke. Both are gay although one is out, and one is not and both struggle to identify with a religion but while Luke remains corseted by his beliefs Kyle is happy being who he is without a religion to lean on. As we get closer and closer to the events in the opening of this novel I was still trying to pinpoint who could have been responsible for the attack or if all the characters mentioned will be victims of the attack. For the majority of this novel relationships have been built between friends and lovers and now we are watching them fall apart piece by piece. As we are getting closer and closer to the end of the novel something is building but what it is isn’t known, I thought it might be the attack at the beginning of the novel but there haven’t been any signs of that since the beginning of the novel so now I am not so sure.

As we approach ¾ mark in the novel, I was beginning to feel like the novel was repeating the ideals and behaviours of the same characters repeatedly and I can understand it wants to drive home a point, but that point is becoming lost in religious, political and societal babble. Despite this the novel is experiencing what I would call the calm before the storm and this is the period within the novel where everything slows down before crashing into the climax of the novel.

As we cross into the final section of the novel, we see the party everyone has been preparing for and how it ties into the beginning of the novel we see some relationships fall apart completely and others are mended. However, the novel ends before the attack at the beginning of the novel and we are left with no idea who it is or why the attack happened. Overall, this novel was interesting to read and had some really gripping elements, but I felt that the novel didn’t know what it wanted to be. Is this a poke a religion, political, society, all of the above or none of the above I wasn’t quite sure, and neither is the novel? If I do decide to read the second book in the future I will be expecting a lot more for it than I got from this one.

Buy it here:

Paperback: amazon.co.uk      amazon.com

Kindle Edition: amazon.co.uk    amazon.com

This book was sent to me for review consideration by YA Bound Book Tours

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