Daniel’s father has gotten himself killed and left another mess for Daniel to clean up. To save his world from destruction, he must fight off his father’s killers while discovering a way to save his world.
Time is running out, and Daniel must choose to either walk in his father’s footsteps or to reinvent himself into the one to save his world.
As I was reading Bandits by L.M. Preston, I found myself repeatedly wondering about the visual aspects of her mind throughout and thinking how she not only has quite the imagination, but the skill to share it.
One of the main reasons I found why I could read Bandits is because of the images she weaves, the creatures and world she created, and how they all work together. I have a healthy respect for a writer who can create a whole new world with creatures you’ve never heard of and have it all fit in together. People can come up with all sorts of environments, but that doesn’t mean that environment’s ecosystem is sound or logical, and I felt that Preston’s worlds were logical without having to go into thorough explanation.
I did find that I couldn’t feel much for the characters, and when it comes down to it I only like Daniel’s younger brother. For me the characters are all too arrogant, but they didn’t frustrate me because their attitude fit in with their culture. Merwin, where most of the adventure is based, is a pirateer planet with a sort of gang-like loyalty and a survival of the fittest attitude. To me, cocky and arrogant characters fit in with that whole setting. This doesn’t mean that the characters don’t show softer sides, and as the story goes on we get to see it, but it does show their upbringing through the bravado they put on; they’re taught to show no fear and to be tough.
Even though I couldn’t feel for the characters, I still appreciated them because they were all very strong and well defined, their personality traits stood out, and they all worked well together. They helped to give the story a sense of humour when it was needed and their interaction helped to set the atmosphere.
Along with characters contributing to the atmosphere, there was also pace. Preston uses the technique of utilising character interaction to fill in on back stories and information about the world around them, instead of slowing down the plot with large information dumps or breaking you away from the action with back story here and there. There is still back story and the usual detail needed in between conversations, but it’s not a lot, and thanks to how all these details are shared, the pace is quickened quite a lot.
One of the aspects I love about this book is the strong female character. Bandits is a young adult fiction and I’ve read so much YA fiction where the girls drive me up the wall. Not that they are weak at all, but so many of them give the impression of their life revolving around the opposite gender. I was a bit wary at first because of all the love triangles out there and there was a part in the story where it could have definitely gone that route in a big way, but refreshingly the story focuses on the group as a whole, their growing bond, and the adventure, making the romance aspect of it more of a side story.
And sure Jade is in love with one of them, but she isn’t pining and her decisions aren’t brought about because of that boy. She doesn’t throw her life away, alter herself, or make absolutely stupid decisions because of her love for someone; instead her motives are to prove herself and to show that she is capable. I’m celebrating. It’s a much healthier message to send to its audience, amongst all the others, and I’m glad that a lot of that audience will be younger men. I think with all the sappy portrayals of doe-eyed and giddy female characters out there, a horrible reflection sending a bad message to young boys and men, more stories like Bandits need to be created to either balance that or overtake the perception.
I did have a problem with word repetition; a habit I think is easy for writers to fall into, myself being one of them, and I admit I have a tendency to pick it out a fair bit. If you’re on the pedantic side like me or have the habit of editing while you’re reading, then this might distract you from the story, but I think Bandits has enough going for it to help the reader overlook it. The presentation of Merwin, the creatures, the people, the settings, traps, so much of the whole story is still visually fresh in my mind, and I think it will be for a while. I really do believe this is a story to give a go, especially by the audience it is intended for and I really hope young women pick this one up too.
- Genre: YA Adventure Fantasy/Science Fiction
- Demographic: Young men might be more drawn to it, but I think a female audience could appreciate it along with an older one if you’re a YA fan.
- Format: ARC provided, with many thanks, from the author.
- Rating Out of Five: 4
- Release Date: June 2011
- Find At: The Book Depository