The Author Visits presents YA author, Lindsay Cummings!
Author Visits Details
July 6 – All about Lindsay Cummings and her current work July 7 – Interview with Lindsay July 9 – Book review of The Fear Trials July 11 – Book review of The Murder Complex July 12 – Announce winner of author gift
And the Winner is…
Congratulations Erin M. Becks!
Book Review – The Murder Complex
By: Veena Kashyap
The Murder Complex is the eagerly anticipated debut novel by Lindsay Cummings. A story of survival in a post-fall dystopia where dying is easier than living, The Murder Complex is the story of Meadow Woodsen and Zephyr James and their battle to beat the odds by surviving.
Meadow has been trained by her father to kill in order to live in their brutal world where illness has been contained and the only way to deal with the population problem is murder.
Zephyr is an orphan or “ward” and he is responsible for cleaning up dead bodies. But he harbors a secret. He’s been programmed to kill as part of The Murder Complex.
The book can be described as a cross between The Hunger Games and Divergent but far bloodier. I am not a big fan of dystopia but as a reviewer, I often venture out of my comfort zone and read something I would otherwise never pick up.
In this case, I am glad I did. I enjoyed the book – despite its flaws, it was fast-paced, action-packed and gritty, just the kind of book I enjoy reading.
Lindsay’s writing shines when she pens action scenes, the images conjured as Meadow braces for then takes down her enemies are almost perfect. The words are fluid and Lindsay has a knack for writing such scenes. I really loved the very last sentence of the book – “Count to three. Relax your mind. Now survive.” Simple, effective yet chilling in its foreboding.
Where I find fault is first, with the forced love story that springs up almost out of no-where between Zephyr and Meadow. This aspect of the novel is unnecessary but I understand why the almost benign relationship between Zephyr and Meadow is a must on the pages – it is a necessary evil to add a love angle to books that can forego all the instantaneous tug of the hearts. It’s almost demanded of the genre. But frankly, if love between these two characters was necessary, the premise (dreaming about Meadow) was over-used and under-whelming. It wasn’t organic and rather obvious Lindsay didn’t enjoy writing the romance. What a quandary?
The second issue is the alternating voices of Meadow and Zephyr. The voices weren’t distinct enough, almost seamless. Unless I looked at the chapter header, I wouldn’t be able to tell which character was narrating. I think Lindsay could have forgone the whole alternating voices tactic and stuck with Meadow’s point of view – I preferred Meadow’s intensity to Zephyr’s vulnerability and humanity, which paled in comparison.
Third is the terminology. I’d prefer if Lindsay have explained the laundry list of terms specific to her world and use profanity instead of words such as “flux” and “skitz.” In a book so violent, using the actual language would have been more effective but erred on the almost comical.
Lastly, the world of The Murder Complex was too vague in its foundation. There was too little background about the circumstances that led to this futuristic world deplete of humanity. The underlying current of the book places fault with science for eradicating illness therefore forcing humanity to seek murder as the only option to control the population. Poor excuse turning to science as the scapegoat for vague world building.
Still, I gave The Murder Complex four stars because I see potential. There is a chance the second installment will work out the glaring issues of the first and explain the inexplicable to my satisfaction.
If Lindsay’s focus remains writing a past-faced, action thriller where sixteen year-olds are saving the world but not getting caught up in their hormones, there is a chance of a fantastic follow-up.
There is an abundance of talent but needs focus and direction. I say, give The Murder Complex a chance. Writing is a fine art that should draw the reader in and keep you there until the very last word. A well-written book should leave you pining for more. Some of that happened with the first installment. Writing is also a tough gig and reviews subjective. I applaud Lindsay for taking chances and do look forward to reading how the story of Meadow and Zephyr will conclude.
Where to buy:
Book Review – The Fear Trials Novella (Prequel to The Murder Complex)
By: Veena Kashyap
Lindsay Cumming’s The Fear Trials, a prequel to The Murder Complex is reminiscent of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent but stands on its own merit. Gritty, intense and fast paced, the young protagonist Meadow lives in dystopian hell. She undertakes what her father calls The Fear Trials, a right of passage with only one objective — survival.
As her family’s only hope to secure a job, feed and protect them from the brutal human elements of the Shallows, Meadow is reluctant to undergo the intense and often over the top training her father forces on her. That is until she stares death in the face and realizes that she has two choices, kill or be killed.
It is then Meadow learns the true objective of the trials and appreciates the only life lesson that will keep her alive. She also undergoes transformation, realizing she is after all, the fearless warrior she fought turning into but was destined to become. Meadow is surprised at the sense of empowerment and even pleasure she experiences defeating her enemies.
Lindsay’s writing is swift and full of intense imagery that leaves an impression. She juxtaposes action with emotion, empathy with brutal fearlessness, and takes the reader on an adrenaline-fueled journey that leaves the reader emotionally drained but still wanting more.
I am looking forward to The Murder Complex (review coming out on 7/11.)
Grab the prequel – it’s a must read!
Interview with Lindsay
It’s #MondayBlogs time. Today I am posting my interview with YA author Lindsay Cummings. I met Lindsay last year at the DFWCon Writers’ Conference. She was on a panel with her agent Louise Fury from The Bent Agency discussing her path to becoming a writer. Lindsay has a fantastic story about taking her book dream and making it a reality. She also is the founder of #booknerdigans, a YA book review site. Lindsay is a multi-talented author and a super sweet person.
Enjoy my interview with Lindsay!
Veena: Hey Lindsay! Welcome to The Author Visits! Congrats on the release of The Murder Complex! We are so happy for you!
Lindsay: Hi Veena! Thanks!
Veena: Let’s get started then, shall we? I am sure your fans are eager! Tell us a little bit about yourself Lindsay.
Lindsay: I’m 22 years old, I’m an animal freak, and I am a HUGE book nerd! I think that’s why writing came naturally to me!
Veena: How did it feel to land an agent then a book deal all under the age of 20?
Lindsay: I just felt super blessed. It was my only option, because of health problems at the time, and so I made it my mission for that dream to come true.
Veena: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Lindsay: I LOVE JK Rowling, Lauren Oliver, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Veronica Rossi, Rick Riordan, Marie Lu, Beth Revis…too many!! AHH!
Veena: And let me guess, your favorite genre is YA.
Lindsay: 100% YA.
Veena: Where did the idea for The Murder Complex come from?
Lindsay: I get this question all the time, ha! It came from an article about a small town plagued by murders, and I wanted to give it my own scifi twist!
Veena: That’s pretty radical as far as inspiration goes. What inspires you as a writer?
Lindsay: My dad! Other writers! And walking into a bookstore, and seeing ALL THE BOOKS.
Veena: Do you have a writing ritual or routine?
Lindsay: I try to read and write every single day, in total silence! With snacks.
Veena: What words of wisdom would you like to share with other writers?
Lindsay: Just don’t give up. It takes perseverance to make it in this industry!
Veena: That is great advice. Considering this is a tough industry to crack! When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Lindsay: When I was 19, and I had no other options in life but to write! I tried it out, and then it sort became a part of me.
Veena: What are you working on next?
Lindsay: A new YA series, very secret! Sorry!
Veena: Let’s get to the fun stuff now:
Veena: Favorite movie?
Lindsay: Harry Potter. All of them!
Veena: Favorite junk food?
Lindsay: Hot Cheetos!!
Veena: Favorite bands?
Lindsay: Led Zep!
Veena: Next tattoo?
Lindsay: Probably a Balance Keepers tattoo!
Veena: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, could you share some songs from your playlist for The Murder Complex
Lindsay: Never!! I actually get so caught up in the lyrics from songs that I lose focus of what I’m trying to work on!
Veena: Favorite quote?
Lindsay: Oh man..I don’t know if I have one! Crap…I’m coming up empty!
Veena: I had a great time Lindsay — so much fun getting to know you! Good luck with The Murder Complex and Balance Keepers!
Lindsay: Thanks for having me!
Book Title: The Murder Complex
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count: 421 pages
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Book blurb: The Murder Complex is an action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate.
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or is it part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family? This is a dark and compelling debut novel that will appeal to fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.
Where to buy:
Lindsay Cummings is a 22 year old author of YA and MG books at HarperCollins. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband Josh, her hedgehog named Hedwig, her two German Shepherds Hurley and Kai, her wolf cub Kimber, and a draft horse named Dan the Man. Lindsay deals with Chronic Fatigue issues, believes Jesus is the reason for all of her success, and swears that book hoarding is not a problem at all. She’s still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts–it was probably just lost in the mail. You can follow Lindsay on twitter @lindsaycwrites and instagram @authorlindsaycummings. You can also visit her book blogging website for teens at www.booknerdigans.com
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