Book Review: Day Moon

19 Oct

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware 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.

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.

My Impressions:

Day Moon by Brett Armstrong is a rather ambitious novel that creates a futuristic world in which all knowledge is codified in a central data bank for the good of all  mankind. At least that’s what the government is professing. In actuality Project Alexandria has a sinister side that the reader soon comes to suspect is subverting knowledge rather than making it available to all who seek it. The future is not so far away as the action takes place in 2039. Technology is pretty advanced, but not unbelievable — cars are all self-driving and consumers have had all their social and financial needs anticipated by commercial entities. It’s rather unsettling to see the world Armstrong envisions; it is just that plausible. But the insidiousness of control goes further in Project Alexander as all written word is digitalized causing the need for source materials to cease to exist. And cease to exist they become as all physical copies are destroyed. Main character Elliott is made aware of discrepancies through clues left by his deceased grandfather. As he and other friends and family embark on an adventure to uncover the truth, danger occurs around every corner. And no one can be trusted.

Day Moon explores the issue of what constitutes truth — what is given by God or dictated by humans. The danger of corruption of that truth is the main focus of this novel. The chillingly possible reality of Elliott’s world is very credible. The novel is carefully crafted and exhibits Armstrong’s knowledge of both technology and literature. While it is an action-adventure novel, it is a bit slow to develop and the language is a bit more formal than needed. I wished for a bit more activity and less thinking by the characters. Suspense is maintained throughout the novel — Elliott and the reader are continuously kept off balance. The book is the first in the series, so while some things are resolved, Elliott’s quest is not concluded. A strong Christian message is woven throughout the novel, a welcome addition to YA speculative fiction.

All in all, Day Moon is an interesting novel. Although a bit slow, it is nevertheless worth a look by those who like this genre.

Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE. (It is currently 99 cents on Kindle!)

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


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