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Friday, April 28, 2017

Brett Armstrong: Day Moon

By Kelly Bridgewater

One of my favorite things about being part of the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) is the ability to connect with published writers and hopeful writer like me. Last year in Nashville, Tennessee, I talked to this man who was standing at the back of the hallway waiting on lunch, like me. We started talking, and he didn't really know anyone, so I invited him to sit with me and my friends for lunch. Luckily, he had gotten a book published this year from Clean Reads, and he remembered my business card and that I do book reviews. So here I am promoting his novel. 

Here is a little bit about Brett: 

Brett Armstrong
From Amazon
Brett Armstrong's Author Bio:

From an early age, Brett Armstrong had a love for literature and history. At age nine, he combined the two for his first time in a short story set in the last days of the Aztec Empire. After that, writing’s role in his life waxed and waned periodically, always a dream on the horizon, till he reached college. At West Virginia University, he entered the Computer Engineering program and spent two years pursuing that degree before an opportunity to take a creative writing class, for fun, came along. It was so enjoyable, he took another and in that course he discovered two things. The first was the plot for a short story called Destitutio Quod Remissio, which the others students really seemed to love. The second, he realized he absolutely loved writing. For him, it was like the proverbial light bulb coming on. In the years since, describing that epiphany has been difficult for him, but he found the words of 1924 Olympian Eric Liddell are the most eloquent expression for it: “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” God gave Brett a passion for writing, and so feels His pleasure when writing.

After a few years passed, Brett got his Computer Engineering degree, but also completed a minor in each of his real passions: history and creative writing. In 2013, he began graduate school to earn an MA in Creative Writing. During that time he completed the novelization of Destitutio Quod Remissio and entered the 2013-2014 CrossBooks Writing Contest, which won the contest's grand prize. As of March 2015, Brett completed his MA and is presently employed in the West Virginia Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology as a programmer analyst.

Brett lives in Saint Albans, West Virginia, with his beautiful wife, Shelly. In the summer the pair gardens together, and each day Brett continues writing his next novel.

Where to connect with Brett:

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global software initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare's complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled "Day Moon". When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.


My Thoughts:

Young Adult Dystopia is quite popular with young children today. Some of the books are pretty good like Melanie Dickerson's Fairy Tale remakes, and some are awful like Hunger Games and Twilight. I'm always on the lookout for books that will capture the mind and imagination of my young boys. Luckily, with debut author Brett Armstrong, with his first published piece Day Moon, the first book in his Tomorrow's Edge Trilogy, I think I found a good book to pass on to my teenage sons.

The first thing I pay attention when reading a novel by a debut author is their ability to write a clear and concise story without allowing me to turn on my grammar Nazi skills. Armstrong does a good job at staying in Elliott's perspective for the entire novel. I can't recall anytime that he had head hopped. He does a good job at showing Elliott's emotions, allowing me to empathize with him as he struggles with his emotions and running from the law. Similarly, Elliott does a good job at showing the scenery for me. Although a couple of times, I think he wrote too much description, and I wanted to move on. While other times, Armstrong did such a great job at inviting me into the future with his description and staying true to the setting that I forgot I was reading a futuristic novel.

Day Moon is an unpredictable novel with a unique story. I really enjoyed how this takes place in a world where, supposedly, all the knowledge from books is uploaded to a massive computer. The original idea reminded me a lot of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, where reading books were banded. In Armstrong's story, reading books weren't forbidden, but the people had to seek their information from Project Alexandria's massive database, which allows the tension in the story to flow. The story centers around finding puzzles in seven physical copies of books that his grandfather had buried and hidden from the eyes of the government. The pace of the novel moved quite rapidly. Once Elliott broke the law, he was on the run, so Armstrong had me running alongside him as he ran to uncover his grandfather's puzzles. I really had a hard time putting the novel down because Armstrong would leaving the characters in a tight situation at the end of a chapter, begging me to keep reading. The story centers around finding puzzles in seven physical copies of books that his grandfather had buried and hidden from the eyes of the government.

There is a little bit of romance between Elliott and Lara. It is a teenage love from a teenage's perspective. A little hand holding and a light kiss while on the run. Nothing I wouldn't allow my fifteen-year-old son to read.

While Armstrong does create a Christian character in Elliot, he doesn't preach at the audience. Instead he allows Elliott to find comfort in his belief in God. The way a character should be written.

One downside to the novel is that Armstrong does what a good writer should do to end his novel: He left the ending unresolved. I know what the characters had to do, but I have to wait for the next book to come out. Can't wait to read the next two books and see what trouble Armstrong allows Elliott and Lara to get into.

Overall, with a twist of National Treasure and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Brett Armstrong's debut novel, Day Moon, kept me guessing as I rushed through the story alongside Elliott and Lara as they tried to figure out why they were being chased by their government.  Armstrong delivers with first-rate characters and a wild ride to hunt for the ultimate truth. Highly recommend. Not to be missed.

I received a complimentary copy of Brett Armstrong's Day Moon from Brett Armstrong, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I'm really excited to have made connections with people that I have met while being a member of ACFW like Brett Armstrong and my good friend, Emilie Hendryx. Have you ever made a connection with someone in your chosen field and still using that connection for good? If so, what have you 
done? Who have you met?

Where to purchase Day Moon (in e-book format for right now):

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