Today. I am delighted to spotlight young adult author Shay Lynam. Her thrilling books are full of intrigue, action, and heart. Get on the bandwagon now!
I recently had pleasure to read the second book in her Tree House Trilogy, entitled The Trial. Below is my review.
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Several weeks ago, I read and reviewed THE TREE HOUSE by Shay Lynam. I was very impressed by that book and its balance between action and emotion. THE TRIAL is the second book in THE TREE HOUSE trilogy, but actually serves as a prequel. As much as I loved Lynam’s first offering, I was a little apprehensive about diving into THE TRIAL. You might ask why? Well, THE TRIAL focused on Jack, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of this character.
With that said, THE TRIAL surpassed my expectations. I’m so glad that I went into this book with an open-mind, because it was a truly excellent read.
As already mentioned, much of this dystopian adventure focuses on the backstory of Jack. It is actually split into two halves. The first told from the perspective of Jack and the second part told from the vantage point of his brother Ben. The author did a wonderful job of really putting you into the hearts and minds of these characters. Jack, in particular, felt so realistic this time around. He was very multi-faceted. He struggled through layers of fear, guilt, and duty, while the world he once knew crumbled around him. Like in the first novel, there is a deep psychological element to this story.
The action is brisk and there are some rousing, crowd-pleaser moments. The tension runs high throughout the tale as the brothers navigate life-and-death situations. There is nice attention to detail. Lynam does a great job describing both the physical and emotional developments in scenes. The pacing is well balanced between the action elements and the fleshing out of these two brothers. As someone with two brothers, I think Jack and Ben’s interactions were quite believable.
My only real complaint is that I wish that this book had a better balance between male and female characters. At times, it seems like it was only the male characters kicking ass. The bat scene was cool, but I could use more of that. That’s just my preference, however. I happen to enjoy books with females who can hold their own in a fight.
The Trial is quite serious and grim in tone, but humor is woven throughout. Once again, I think this made scenes more realistic and entertaining. The violence is gripping, and – at times – even shocking. This added to the layers of tension that you’ll feel when reading the book. Writing a prequel is always tricky, since the reader will hopefully already know what happens to a bunch of the characters. I was impressed that I could still be at the edge-of-my seat, despite knowing a bit of the “end game” in advance. There were quite a few twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting!
Overall, I highly recommend this book. Whether you’ve read book one in THE TREE HOUSE TRILOGY or not, I think you will have a blast with THE TRIAL. In some ways, I wished I’d read this book first. I look forward to the conclusion of this stellar series.
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Author Shay Lynam was kind enough to provide me with a portion from The Trial, which I would love to share with all of you now.
I stayed up on the roof for a while longer after that. The look of horror that had slipped across David’s face for that split second when his hand had jerked terrified me and I could feel heat building up in my gut as I looked out at the city. Somewhere out there was the company that had manufactured this chip and somewhere in that building was the man that had come up with it, probably sitting in some plush office counting his money. The heat in my stomach started burning hotter, rising up my throat and into my head until I could physically feel my ears turning bright red. As long as this man – this crap excuse for a human being – could get his lackeys to hunt us down and wipe us out, his reputation was going to go untarnished and the world was going to continue to think he was bettering their lives like some freaking hero.
I sat down on the ledge and pulled my gun out of my coat pocket. The sun had finally decided to make an appearance after a few weeks of overcast and now it streaked the dark metal with light. This thing had belonged to that first suit that almost killed me and my brother. If Ben hadn’t pulled the trigger first, we’d both just be names on their list of the dead. They would have moved right along, ticking off each name like they were crossing off items on a grocery list. Sure Eli had gotten more than we had but a life saved is still a life saved, right? How many times had we faced near death? How many times had Ben just barely beaten the suits to the trigger?
The door behind me opened with a metal creak and I turned to find my brother hobbling toward me. “What are you doing out here?”
I looked back down at my gun, rubbing my thumb along the barrel. “How’s your leg?”
Ben shifted to his other foot, a painful grunt escaping his throat. “It hurts,” he muttered from behind me. “I guess I’m lucky it was just my leg.”
The sun glinted off the metal like a spark from a flint. “You’re not always going to be that lucky,” I said watching as my hands quivered with anger. The rage flowed through my veins like adrenaline.
“Maybe you should start using that thing then,” Ben muttered sarcastically.
I inhaled deeply. “Maybe I should.” Then I stood up and turned to face my brother. “I want you to teach me to shoot.”
You can learn more about The Trial (The Tree House #2) from the synopsis and links below.
Jack Morgan’s world comes crashing down around him the day he receives a strange letter from his parents urging him and Ben to disappear. Feeling betrayed and confused, the brothers instead decide to go searching for answers. Neither of them could have ever imagined the truth behind their parents’ desperate message and that Ben’s mysterious past is coming back to haunt him.