Series: The Felix Chronicles #2
on May 18, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Social Issues
Format: ARC, Kindle Edition
Source: Review Copy
Felix and Allison return from winter break with hopes of settling into the comfortable rhythms of college life only to find Portland College hasn’t escaped the wave of senseless violence sweeping across the land, from the malls of Minnesota to a small town in northern Maine. Amidst the chaos, a political movement rises, fueled by the turmoil threatening to tear the country apart.
As the public’s discontent reaches a final tipping point, a new hope emerges from an unexpected figure, a man offering the promise of peace and security—the prospect of ‘freedom from fear’. When the line that separates allies from enemies blurs and good and evil becomes a matter of perspective, Felix must make a choice.
But as the gears of a 2,000-year-old prophecy grind inexorably to the future, can Felix choose his own path, or is free will as illusory as the salvation promised by a man destined to set the world aflame?
Five Days in January by R.T. Lowe is just as thrilling and gripping as its predecessor, The Felix Chronicles: Freshman, and it only takes about half the pages to accomplish this.
With a much smaller book, Lowe comes back to this second installment with the same enthusiasm and attention to detail that made Freshman so great, a feat that many sequels can’t achieve. It remains fast-paced but detailed fully, never leaving you in the dark, but always leaving you surprised. Five Days in January knows how to make itself a sequel that leaves readers begging for the next installment, and it all has to do with Lowe’s wonderful ability to write realistically about currently world issues – mass shootings, government mistrust, a growing (and seemingly neverending) trend towards public violence – and still add the fantasy twist to Felix & Co.’s story that makes for an imaginative read.
In Freshman, Lowe delivered to readers a set of fleshed out characters that were easy to get to know, but still mysterious enough to leave a few unanswered questions. In Five Days in January, these characters are expanded upon, often answering previous questions but raising just as many new ones to take their place. I love that I still have so much to learn about Felix, Allison, and the rest of the gang two novels in. It’s like getting to know real people and not just characters on a page.
The action in the novel is really heart-pounding, but I found the View Spoiler »mall shooting scene involving Lucas’s brother « Hide Spoiler to be one of the most terrifying, if only because of real-world connections. I could truly feel the terror and despair of the characters trapped inside, and it was a scene that honestly made me put the novel down for a bit and take a few breaths.
Once again, Five Days in January is a violent book, and should be entered into with a bit of caution if, as a reader, you find violence and gore a bit hard to handle emotionally. Once again, it’s not a negative on the novel itself, just a “Caution: Watch Your Step” sign.
And I still love the interactions between Felix and Allison, through it all. Despite the human, non-human, and semi-human monsters of Five Days in January, there’s just something about these two that just makes it all okay. There’s nothing like going through some crazy world changes with your best friend.
Honestly, I’m just eagerly awaiting the next book and can’t wait to see what Lowe has in store!