Book Review: American Parable: Ashes and Embers by Christian Sterling

*I was provided a Kindle file of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review*

**I really meant to post this review like two months ago, my sincerest apologies.**

Synopsis

In a world where gangs hold more power than the government, three gangs are on the brink of war as an organized political group is out to get them. Race, power struggles, and old grudges fuel this war against the biggest gangs in America. As both new and old enemies go head to head in battle, the gangs must choose between peace or destruction at their enemies’ hands.

Thoughts

This type of book isn’t what I typically read, but I think that will soon change. It was action packed, with just enough comedy and romance to keep me satisfied.  I really enjoyed the overlapping of the gangs–it’s easy to get caught up in how people are different and I like how Sterling highlighted their similarities.

The Latinx representation was by far my favorite. Not only was there Latinos in power, but the Spanish dialogue was on point! It wasn’t cliché, a woman didn’t clutch her rosary saying “ay dios mio!”, it was very realistic and I loved it. Besides the Latinx rep, I immensely enjoyed the gang aspect. I live in an area with prevalient gang activity and my friends and family have had gang ties in the past. Seeing the gang life was familiar and pairing it with the political aspect just made everything better.

I was pleasantly surprised by the major plot twist, which greatly increased my enjoyment of this novel. I thought the discussion of racism and politics throughout this book was very interesting and gave it a lot of dimension. This book reads like an action movie, which is my favorite thing. The opposition of the gangs and budding romance offered a Romeo and Juliet-like feel to this already solid story. I enjoyed that part immensely.

My main criticism would be the character count. I found it hard to keep track of the plot development and build a relationship with the characters because there was just too many. For me, character development is just as important as the plot, and while there was plenty of development, I feel that having one or two less characters would have made all the difference. The beginning was a bit slow but it did pick up towards the middle, so much so that when I took a break and came back I had turned on the TV because I thought I was watching an action movie!

“Human nature lets the innate prejudices brew, and all it takes is a little stir of the melting pot for a recipe of total control.”

Verdict

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The prose was great (see quote above) and the plot is both unique and entertaining. While I had a few problems with the characters and pace of the story, it was a solid 3.7/5 stars. I recommend this book to fans of political fiction novels and action lovers.

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