Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Liberty Box (The Liberty Box #1) by C. A. Gray | A Book Review

The Liberty Box by C. A. Gray | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

And just like that, October is gone. November is here and that means December is just around the corner. Time flies so fast. I can still remember going crazy with worry about what the year would be like for me. I'm so glad and relieved that I'm way past that. I'm happy to be tired but productive. Not bone-tired worrying but rather tired after a day's work. I could say, I'm at a way better place where I am now. I'm so thankful and I am going to do my best to stay where I'm at. 

This book is another author request. I got this through the Contact Us form of this blog. I have read about this book before. I think in one of those book scavenger hunts that I joined. It might be the New Adult one or the YA one, but I am pretty sure I have heard about C. A. Gray before. I just haven't read any of her works. This is the very first of her books that I've read.

I mentioned about escaping from my worries earlier which is just fitting because this book talks about escape and worries too. It talks about fears and the harsh realities set in a dystopian landscape.

 "This room is what we call the Liberty Box." " Isn't that an oxymoron? Liberty in a box? "

This statement is a good explanation for the title and in a way provides a very short summary of the story. And yes, it's a bleak future knowing freedom means being in a box. A world full of rules, restrictions, and deception. You have to conform and any deviation from what's required and mandated by the new Republic of the Americas will be punishable by death. It's about control. If death doesn't scare you enough, then the brainwashing will take any fight out of you. And you're not even aware that you're being constantly brainwashed. That's how the future looks in this story.

And then, enter Jackson MacNamera. One who didn't grew up in the States. He returns to the US for his mom's funeral, only to be arrested and taken into the Liberty Box because he stands out. He is different. Jackson knows there's something terribly wrong with the situation or with the people he has seen so far and he has to use every bit of what his Grandpa has taught him to get his freedom back.

Kate Brandeis, a news anchor  who suddenly felt like she just woke up from a hazy dream and into a nightmare. Bereaved and confused, she stumbled into a group of people living in the forest, away from the government's reach. It's where she met Jackson and these two formed a bond.

Yes, it's starting to look like a love story but no. A lot more important things are at stake here so it's really good that the author held off on pursuing the love angle. I guess,  romance does not sound so appealing when freedom is a great issue. For the characters in this story, nothing is ever more precious than taking back what rightfully belongs to them and death doesn't seem as scary if it means getting that robbed freedom back.

I really enjoyed this story. Jackson's character is  just the perfect person that the story needs. A fighter. A person rightfully equipped with the skills needed to go against the Potentiate. A champion to help rally the people to fight back and save the rest. I think the best  thing about him is that he's not clueless. He doesn't blunder into the story and he has to learn his way. No. He comes in with purpose and determination. He was prepared for what was waiting for him in the US. Though at first, he wasn't aware that was what all his Grandpa was training him for. Yes, a great credit to his Grandpa for being smart and for having the foresight to know what Jackson would very well need.

The way Jackson comes into the story was not in any way forced. In a way, I know that the story would have this one very strong character who would serve as a voice and rally everyone and help them open their eyes to the grim reality. I just didn't expect that it was someone like Jackson who was more than ready than he thought he was for what awaited him. I think this is what separates this story from other dystopia.  This story  wasn't waiting for someone to rise from the abuse or from rubble. You will be spared from that. It was like Jackson was created first and then the rest of the story followed because he has to be in a setting where his  skills has to be essential. Here's one who's all ready to go to battle, only he wasn't aware that there's actually one waiting for him. In here, the main character doesn't have to keep reacting but rather a little ahead of the enemy which isn't really common in a lot of stories. And that's the best thing about this.

Aside from Jackson and his Grandpa, there are other interesting characters in here. Men and women of strong character who value  freedom above all else. They're a great ensemble that make the story more engaging.

How the story builds up and how these band of people started to really make a statement against the enemy is a very hopeful situation. Very daring and suicidal in a way but the situation is desperate so their methods need to be more aggressive. I was rooting for the success of the Jackson and his friends the whole time. Not a very grim dystopia, if you ask me. It's actually very hopeful which is again one things that's different.

What I was not so taken with was this Council thing. In some way, it was holding the group down. It felt like they weren't that free from the Potentiate's clutches after all because here is a group of people just as willing to stump on free will. I hope that this Council will get disbanded and leaders who are really looking out for the benefit of the people will take their place. It's bad enough that they're hiding from a bigger enemy. Where they are should be a safe enough place to express their opinions and do something to help those still out there walking with their eyes in the fog. I feel like this Council is going to be another obstacle in Jackson's and his friends quest to take back their freedom. 

This story promises a sequel and that's a good thing because this should end well with all things neatly tied and wrapped up. This book ending with a cliffhanger was in a way not how I wanted it to go. But then, a prospect of another book to continue Jackson's fight is just what I am hoping. And cliffhangers are really good indicators of more interesting things to come. Thankfully, as of this review, book 2  and 3 are out, so I don't have to worry about waiting for the rest of the series to unravel.

I give this book 5/5 steel containers. This is a really good start to a very engaging series. Jackson's character alone is enough and I can't really stress that enough. I am so glad this book ended up in my lap. Thank you so much C. A. Gray. Looking forward to the rest of the series.



Power is a byproduct of a peaceful and quiet mind... but the moment power becomes an end in itself, the peace evaporates. 

"I ask myself that all the time, love.  But there is something in the psychology of an abused woman that I don't understand myself and can't explain. It's like an addiction." "Variable reward." "Sometimes she gets affection and sometimes she gets a beating, and it's not knowing which it'll be is what keeps her coming back. It's like that experiment of the pigeons pecking at a disc--"
- C. A. Gray, The Liberty Box -