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ALL WARS HAVE RULES Rule Number One: No killing innocent bystanders. Rule Number Two: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen. BREAK THE RULES, BECOME THE TARGET Since the age of eighteen, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn't fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden ALL WARS HAVE RULES Rule Number One: No killing innocent bystanders. Rule Number Two: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen. BREAK THE RULES, BECOME THE TARGET Since the age of eighteen, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn't fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden in the shadows, governed by a rigid set of rules, and fought by two distinct sides-one good, one evil. The only unknown is which side is which. Soldiers in the War hide in plain sight, their deeds disguised as accidents or random acts of violence amidst an unsuspecting population ignorant of the brutality that is always inches away. Killing people is the only life Joseph has ever known, and he's one of the best at it. But when a job goes wrong and he's sent away to complete a punishingly dangerous assignment, Joseph meets a girl named Maria, and for the first time in his life his singleminded, bloody purpose fades away. Before Maria, Joseph's only responsibility was dealing death to the anonymous targets fingered by his superiors. Now he must run from the people who have fought by his side to save what he loves most in this world. As Children of Paranoia reaches its heart-in-throat climax, Joseph will learn that only one rule remains immutable: the only thing more dangerous than fighting the War...is leaving it.


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ALL WARS HAVE RULES Rule Number One: No killing innocent bystanders. Rule Number Two: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen. BREAK THE RULES, BECOME THE TARGET Since the age of eighteen, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn't fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden ALL WARS HAVE RULES Rule Number One: No killing innocent bystanders. Rule Number Two: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen. BREAK THE RULES, BECOME THE TARGET Since the age of eighteen, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn't fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden in the shadows, governed by a rigid set of rules, and fought by two distinct sides-one good, one evil. The only unknown is which side is which. Soldiers in the War hide in plain sight, their deeds disguised as accidents or random acts of violence amidst an unsuspecting population ignorant of the brutality that is always inches away. Killing people is the only life Joseph has ever known, and he's one of the best at it. But when a job goes wrong and he's sent away to complete a punishingly dangerous assignment, Joseph meets a girl named Maria, and for the first time in his life his singleminded, bloody purpose fades away. Before Maria, Joseph's only responsibility was dealing death to the anonymous targets fingered by his superiors. Now he must run from the people who have fought by his side to save what he loves most in this world. As Children of Paranoia reaches its heart-in-throat climax, Joseph will learn that only one rule remains immutable: the only thing more dangerous than fighting the War...is leaving it.

30 review for Children of Paranoia

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    "Rule Number one: No killing innocent bystanders. The large majority of this world does not know that this war is raging on beneath their noses. Those people are to be protected at all costs. No collateral damage. The penalty for killing an innocent bystander is death." "Rule number two: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen no matter what side they're on. Until you turn eighteen you're considered an innocent bystander." The contenders are grouped in three groups. The first are the soldiers "Rule Number one: No killing innocent bystanders. The large majority of this world does not know that this war is raging on beneath their noses. Those people are to be protected at all costs. No collateral damage. The penalty for killing an innocent bystander is death." "Rule number two: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen no matter what side they're on. Until you turn eighteen you're considered an innocent bystander." The contenders are grouped in three groups. The first are the soldiers they are at the front line in the war, they go out and kill the enemy. The second group are the Intelligence people the Intel group they are mixed of many specialists computer experts to military planners to name a few. They provide information on the kill and get all the intel needed prepared. The third group called the deep cover guys, their job is to assimilate into society lay low and have family lives as normal as possible. They are the breeders providing the new participants in this war. The business of this war is real and the protagonist is faced with death as an everyday part of his life if you fail to kill you're target you have been assigned you would face being killed, if you make a mistake and kill innocents you will be killed. He finds himself looking for answers to questions as time progresses, how can we stop this war? We kill due to our family being killed by the enemy, they are evil and we are good an ever increasing cycle of murder just when will it stop? and who killed first and started this war? After reading the story there are few things still not answered but when the protagonist finds himself a love interest he starts to see things with a whole different perspective and finds himself protecting and looking to the future of his own newly acquired loved ones. A family with kids would something he could want all this killing could prove to be a dangerous future them. Will he have a family and get out of the secret war? Most mobsters and hit men will tell you that when you have strings attached, loved ones, partners and kids it becomes a problem you have a weak spot, you don't need something that you're enemy could get at and hurt. Children of paranoia is a catchy title, the plot is interesting and different written mostly from a first person narrative. An assassin's story of sorts, staking out the Mark to kill and the process of the kill can all makes gripping reading. I found at times I needed a little plot twist here and there or just a bit more thrill, that could be just me due to reading one too many thrillers. Don't expect masterful writing on a literary scale as this story is not written in that style. All in all it was an entertaining read that had a good concept going. http://more2read.com/?review=children-of-paranoia-children-of-paranoia-1-by-trevor-shane

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    Imagine a typical day in your life. You get up, get dressed, go to work or school. You take your kids to the park, make dinner, visit friends, learn salsa dancing. Now imagine that all around you, hidden beneath the ordinariness of life, is a War, an invisible War but a War nonetheless. You have no idea, but all those unexplained deaths? Assumed suicides? Shootings, stabbings, car accidents - they're not accidental, nor are they mindless. They're certainly not unexplained, just not to you. There Imagine a typical day in your life. You get up, get dressed, go to work or school. You take your kids to the park, make dinner, visit friends, learn salsa dancing. Now imagine that all around you, hidden beneath the ordinariness of life, is a War, an invisible War but a War nonetheless. You have no idea, but all those unexplained deaths? Assumed suicides? Shootings, stabbings, car accidents - they're not accidental, nor are they mindless. They're certainly not unexplained, just not to you. There is a War being raged across the globe, and Joshua is a Soldier in this War. At twenty-five, he's already had so many kills he's stopped counting them. Sent wherever he's needed by Intelligence, given a file on his next target, he kills and then moves on. And why? Because it's a War. It's been going on for as long as anyone involved knows about. Everyone born into the War - and those who married into it - have lost numerous family members, on both sides. But it's not chaos. It's very deliberate and controlled, and everyone follows three main rules: no killing civilians; no killing anyone under the age of eighteen; and if you have a baby before you're eighteen, it's to be handed to the other side. It becomes the enemy. Joshua has never questioned the War. He's lost everyone in his family except for his mother: his father, killed in a supposed car accident that was no accident; his beloved uncle, whisked away by men at the mall when he looked away (he was only eight); and his sister Jessica was killed when men came to the house as she was babysitting him. They weren't killed because they were Soldiers as Joshua is now. They were killed because they were part of the War, and as everyone knows, the War can only be won by beating the other side. Who is the other side? They are the enemy. They are evil. They must be evil, because if they aren't than Joshua's side is, and no one thinks they're evil. How did it start? No one knows, though there are stories. All they know is that they must keep fighting or the other side will win. It is while on a mission in Montreal to take out a pharmaceutical businessman that Joshua meets Maria, a student at McGill University, and falls in love. It changes everything, gives him something other than the War to live for - and Maria isn't part of it. She's a civilian, and as Joshua discovers after learning that she's pregnant, she's also only seventeen, fast-tracked through the school system. Now they're on the run, hunted by both sides: his because baby, if born, has to be turned over to the other side, and the enemy because Joshua has been given up to them, all the information on his kills released. Everyone is after them, these people could be anyone, where can they go? You can't just leave the War. You can't say you don't want to be a part of it anymore. Protecting Maria and their unborn child now becomes Joshua's whole life, but trying to leave the War turns out to be more dangerous than living within it. This book floored me, it's so good. It's just my kind of book: speculative, chilling, thought-provoking, psychological, tense, gripping, climactic, tragic. Written as a kind of journal of his life - or his life from a certain, recent point - Joshua writes his story directly to Maria, for her to read. I don't think that revealing the baby part of the plot is a spoiler because there is an epigraph at the very beginning that reveals it - for myself, I had already read the blurb for the second book and knew what happens at the end of this one, and that knowledge only added to the incredible layer of tension and tangible threat that rests heavily over the story, making it feel very real. I wanted to share some of that with you, though not all of it - if you want to know, then just read about the sequel, Children of the Underground. The novel, Joshua's story as told in his own words, opens with a murder. He details his assassination of a woman, a mother of two young children, right outside her house after she returns from work. This whole scene damn near broke my heart. One of the chilling lines is how she doesn't fight him, because she knows she has to die. But these people, all of them, are stuck in their own self-inflicted bubble: there is no reason, no justification, for any of these deaths, but if they admit the truth to themselves then they also have to face the fact that they've been gleefully killing innocent people. Aside from the Soldiers, there are people in Intelligence who gather information and tell the Soldiers who to kill, and manage all the money and weapons and so on (they are not just incredibly well organised but also scarily well funded); the rest live normal lives, going about their business, working regular jobs, having children - the only difference is that they can be killed at any time, once they're over the age of eighteen. You'd think that the plausibility of it all would sink the novel, that your skepticism and disbelief as a reader would make it fall apart. But the truly scary thing about it is just how plausible it really is. You don't know the inner workings, and you certainly don't know the Why of it anymore than they do, which puts you exactly in Joshua's perspective. The difference is that we are thinkers, critics, analysts, questioners, debaters. We like to think that if we were to learn about this at sixteen, as they do, that we wouldn't just buy into it, that we would demand answers and demand the right to opt out. Except that, for these kids, the War is already personal. They've grown up suspicious. They've already lost so many family members that they're simmering with anger and all it takes is a prod in the right direction, a face to aim their hatred at. The justification that "they are the enemy, they're evil, if we don't keep fighting then they'll win" is flimsy at best, and yet it becomes rhetoric, propaganda, and to question it is to question all the pain, all the loss, all the sacrifices people have already endured. You would be a traitor, a betrayer. They do question it, of course they do, especially because they've never been given a real reason for the War, but in the way of human minds, they talk themselves into a justification that they can live with. "So, we kill them because they're evil, just like we were taught when we were kids? That's what you're getting at?" "Fuck, man. Do you doubt it?" Jared asked me the question and then he stared at me. If he could have found the doubt inside of me, he would have pulled it out and strangled it to death. "I don't know," I replied. "You really believe that they're evil?" Jared looked out over the waves breaking on the beach. "Well, it's either them or us." I was sick of hearing that, Maria. I was sick of hearing that it was either them or us. I was sick of hearing that it was kill or be killed. Even then, even before I met you, that didn't make sense to me anymore. That's not what Jared was saying, though. What Jared was saying, I had to believe. "So that's it? That's your purpose? Them or us? First to kill is the last to survive? I can't find any meaning in that." "That's not what I said, Joe," Jared replied. His eyes were tight. "Don't twist my words. You asked me if I still believed that they're evil. Yes. Yes, I do. I have no doubt and I have no doubt because there's just too much death for everyone to escape judgement. So it's either them or us, Joe. I'm not saying that it's kill or be killed. I'm saying that either they're evil or we are, because there ain't no way that everyone here is innocent. And I know for damn sure that I'm not evil, Joe. And I know that you're not evil either." He pointed his beer toward me. "I know you. I've known you since before you knew about this War. I'm certain that they're evil because I know that you're not." I had to believe it, Maria. I didn't have any choice. He had to be right. If he was wrong, I was lost. "There's not going to be peace until we win this." [pp.56-57] That's a long quote to include here I know, but I felt the need to share it all to show the way their logic works. And this is where the truth of the novel shines: the fact is that on both sides of a conflict, everyone believes that they're in the right and the other side is wrong, evil even. Take any war. People don't fight unless they believe in what they're fighting for. The Nazis didn't see themselves as evil: they believed they were fighting evil and making their world a better place (I'm simplifying but work with me here). We just happened to strongly disagree in their vision. It's just that, in a war, innocence (or good and evil, if you believe in it) gets twisted, and the only way regular people can do things they would otherwise be repulsed by is by absolving themselves of responsibility. Jared's words speak to this ability humans have of convincing ourselves that when fighting for a "greater good", killing is necessary. And in war, it's not murder is it. With a severely black-and-white set-up as this, the story fits well into its American setting, but I can see it working elsewhere too. What really had my brain ticking over - perhaps due to all those cheesy American movies I've seen that inspire thoughts of this - was putting up my own hypotheses. I've no idea what could start this - could be something quite simple and small, in the beginning - but it's almost irrelevant at this point. One thought that occurred to me, though it has holes, is that there aren't actually two sides, but one large group split in two by the Powers That Be (who are unknown), put to fighting each other. That would be devastating, but I don't think that would hold up. The truth is, that both sides are identical. Each is told that the other is the enemy, is evil. Each holds the other to blame, they just don't know it. It's sociopathic, this War. And no one seems to understand or realise that it just can't be won. Joshua does start to question things a bit, but he's a product of his upbringing and training and the War is his whole life. When Maria tries to express her utter skepticism and disbelief over the whole thing, he reverts to type and just claims that she can't understand because she hasn't experienced it. And that is the way these things go. While reading the book, I kept thinking how analogous it is, representative of conflicts such as Israel and Palestine. When I described the story to my husband, he mentioned another one: Ireland and Northern Ireland. I've always struggled to really get into the headspace of people engaged in these kinds of conflicts because I can't help but see it as a bigger picture, but reading Joshua's story I was able to develop the empathy needed to see how it happens, and how hard - how impossible - it is to end it. The ending, reading it as a mother of a toddler, was really hard on me. I knew it was coming but that didn't lessen the blow - or block out the details. I just can't imagine what Maria could possibly do next, because even though this War is underground and no one knows about it who isn't a part of it, they're everywhere and so well organised and so secretive, and Maria has nothing: no money, no allies, no leverage. I am so so glad I have the next book ready and waiting for me! I'm glad that she carries the story on in the next book, as we only get to see her through Joe's eyes in this first book and while I liked her a lot and she was well fleshed out, her thoughts remained silent. For all the action and the violence - and there is graphic violence in this novel, just to warn you if you need it - it's a surprisingly quiet and very tense story. Hanging over it is this growing weight of paranoia - the characters have it, it keeps them alive they say, and you start to get it too. I didn't trust anyone, I expected the worst, and the weight of this endless suspicion wears you down. I love a book where you really live in the world as its described, as the characters live it, and that was very true of Children of Paranoia. I'm just amazed anyone in this War can sleep at night, knowing that after they turn eighteen, anyone can come from them at any time, always when they least expect it. How can you live with that? Ha, spoken by someone who's never lived in a war zone. People adapt. People continue to live as close to a normal life as they can, because what else can you do? And in this War, to give up would be the same as letting the other side win. Children of Paranoia is intense and gripping and had me glued to the page. A new favourite.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I am not even going to lie. The title of the book hooked me before I even read the synopsis. Then I read the synopsis and knew I had to get a copy for myself. I am so glad I did. For me, while the book started off a bit slow, it still allowed me to dive into both the characters and the story. Once the story gets going, it really gets going and before you know it you are kneed deep in suspense, drama, action and intrigue. I think it's a real testament to Trevor Shane's ability as a writer to be ab I am not even going to lie. The title of the book hooked me before I even read the synopsis. Then I read the synopsis and knew I had to get a copy for myself. I am so glad I did. For me, while the book started off a bit slow, it still allowed me to dive into both the characters and the story. Once the story gets going, it really gets going and before you know it you are kneed deep in suspense, drama, action and intrigue. I think it's a real testament to Trevor Shane's ability as a writer to be able to craft a character like Joe, who to me is the ultimate anti-hero and the opposite of everything that you would typically look up, and yet you still want to see him succeed. I love the contrast between Joe's darkness and Maria's light. There is just something that is so moving to me about Joe having been a person of absolutes who then has his world turned upside down by Maria and her introduction into his life. To watch their relationship unfold and to see the changes both characters go through was just amazing. Knowing that this was the first book in a trilogy, I didn't think that we would get a chance to see such character depth and development in the first book, but I was wrong and I was pleasantly surprised. All in all this was a fabulous book. I absolutely devoured it roughly four hours and of course I am now left dying to know what happens next. Trevor Shane has managed to create an absolutely wonderful and engaging debut that leaves readers wanting more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Joseph fights for the other side. There is a war going on and you are either on one side or the other. Neither side is really the good guys as they all kill. It is kill or be killed. There are some rules that both sides do have to obey. Yes, even wars have rules. If there were no rules there would be chaos and no one would win. There are three important rules: Rule 1 – No killing innocent bystanders. If you do, the punishment is death. Rule 2 – No killing anyone under the age of eighteen. This is Joseph fights for the other side. There is a war going on and you are either on one side or the other. Neither side is really the good guys as they all kill. It is kill or be killed. There are some rules that both sides do have to obey. Yes, even wars have rules. If there were no rules there would be chaos and no one would win. There are three important rules: Rule 1 – No killing innocent bystanders. If you do, the punishment is death. Rule 2 – No killing anyone under the age of eighteen. This is because you are an adult at eighteen. In the meantime that does not mean you can not train to fight the other side. Rule 3- You can’t have kids until you turn eighteen. This rule is important because if you do have a child when you are not eighteen than you will have to forfeit your child to the other side. You may someday be fighting against your own child. Joseph is one of the best. That is why when his boss has a very important mission, he asks Joseph to go. There is just one glitch that even Joseph did not see coming. Her name is Maria. Soon Joseph and Maria are a couple. As we all know there is no happy ending. Joseph and Maria find themselves on the run. Children of Paranoia is one of the best books of 2011! I was so enthralled by this book that you would have literally had to pry it from my hands to get my attention. This book would make a great movie. I could picture it now on the big screen. I became emotionally invested in Joseph and Maria. They were just wanting a normal life and to be happy in a chaotic world. I was walking around my house reading this book. The ending did not let me down. In fact it promises another book. The next book can not come fast enough. Even though Joseph was a hard nosed killer, I liked him. He felt more and more human as the story line moved along. Maria was so innocent. I could see why Joseph felt the need to protect her. She was like a delicate flower. By the end of the book, it looks like Maria will become a rose with thorns in the next book. Again, another reason why I can not wait for book two to come out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Suspense Magazine

    You read about death every day, see the reports on television. Some are called ‘accidents.’ The murders seem senseless and go unsolved. Did you know, however, there is a secret war going on all around you, every day? It is being waged by two sides intent on killing the other. “Children of Paranoia” introduces you to this war. It will show you some of the participants, but the reason behind the killings are, well, as one character says, “One side is good, one side is evil.” Twenty-five year old Jo You read about death every day, see the reports on television. Some are called ‘accidents.’ The murders seem senseless and go unsolved. Did you know, however, there is a secret war going on all around you, every day? It is being waged by two sides intent on killing the other. “Children of Paranoia” introduces you to this war. It will show you some of the participants, but the reason behind the killings are, well, as one character says, “One side is good, one side is evil.” Twenty-five year old Joe grew up with family deaths before learning about the war. When he turned eighteen, he became an assassin for his side. He followed the rules and made his kills. After nearly getting two of his friends and himself killed in New Jersey, his contact sends Joe to Montreal for a job. While tracking his quarry, Joe meets Maria and love blooms. Unfortunately, the job doesn’t go well and an innocent is almost killed. After a period of recuperation followed by a few more assignments, Joe returns to Montreal to finish what he started and to see Maria. By this time, he's sick of the war and wants out. Maria reveals two devastating pieces of news: she’s pregnant and she’s only seventeen, which by the rules of the war means her baby gets handed over to the other side. Joe finishes his last job and he and Maria run, knowing they will be pursued by not only his side, but the enemy too. This story is an interesting but poignant metaphor for the senselessness of killing, be it by rival street gangs, feuding families, or entire countries. It’s written in a clinical manner, portraying the war as always existing, and never ending, with nobody really understanding why certain people need to be killed. It shows that while the majority of mankind lives normal lives, certain individuals are recruited to kill or to orchestrate and assist the killers. This is a powerful story, one where you ask for an explanation, but after the last chapter, you wind up looking at certain aspects of life and wondering about the point of them. Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, author of “Beta” for Suspense Magazine

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    “Rule No. 1: No killing innocent bystanders.” And so begins the set of rules that governs the War waged in the pages of “Children of Paranoia” by Trevor Shane. (Hardcover, 384 pages, Dutton Adult) The book, a diary written by assassin and front-line soldier Joseph, is the first in a trilogy slated for publication Sept. 8. The book took a few chapters to get me really interested in it, but once I was, I finished it in two sittings. It’s fast-paced and interesting, and the particulars of the War are “Rule No. 1: No killing innocent bystanders.” And so begins the set of rules that governs the War waged in the pages of “Children of Paranoia” by Trevor Shane. (Hardcover, 384 pages, Dutton Adult) The book, a diary written by assassin and front-line soldier Joseph, is the first in a trilogy slated for publication Sept. 8. The book took a few chapters to get me really interested in it, but once I was, I finished it in two sittings. It’s fast-paced and interesting, and the particulars of the War are mysterious, to the reader and to the protagonist, so I kept reading, hoping for more information about what was happening. By the end of the book, I was still in the dark about a lot of the details of the War. It was a bit frustrating, but I cared enough about Joseph and Maria (yes, note the originality of the names) to finish the book. The end clearly sets the stage for the rest of the trilogy, so I imagine more will be revealed, I just think the author might have been better off giving us a little bit more in the first book. It’s about an assassin, so expect it to be a bit graphic and violent at times. I didn’t realize it until I finished the book and looked it up that it’s listed under adult literature. Something about the advertising material and cover made me think young adult, and the story, told in first-person, only cemented that feeling. I guess the first use of the f-word should have clued me in, huh? Without giving too much away, some of it’s fairly predictable – you know that if there are rules, something is likely going to happen that breaks those rules. But there are other events that I didn’t see coming, and that was refreshing. The action scenes are well-done, which is good, because much of the book involves chase scenes and other tense action sequences. In fact, it would make for a great movie. Overall, it’s a quick read and worth it at paperback prices, and I’ll probably pick up the second book if and when it comes out.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    "Children of Paranoia" is one of those books that I normally wouldn't have picked up, simply because it is a bit outside of my normal reading genres. After reading this book, I am so glad I did! Trevor Shane weaves a tale that is both extraordinary and believable, keeping the reader turning pages in an effort to find out what happens next. First, I have to say that I have my fingers and toes crossed that Trevor is currently (or has already completed) writing a sequel to this debut novel. Seeing "Children of Paranoia" is one of those books that I normally wouldn't have picked up, simply because it is a bit outside of my normal reading genres. After reading this book, I am so glad I did! Trevor Shane weaves a tale that is both extraordinary and believable, keeping the reader turning pages in an effort to find out what happens next. First, I have to say that I have my fingers and toes crossed that Trevor is currently (or has already completed) writing a sequel to this debut novel. Seeing Maria come back as a stronger, more determined character would be great and the ending makes me think that Trevor has a plan for her. The emotion in "Children of Paranoia" is strong, real, and raw. Never would I have guessed that I would ever care for an assassin, but Trevor made me do it. He wrote Joseph in such a way that you simply couldn't help but feel for the guy. Growing up in the world that Trevor created forced Joe into most of the situations he found himself in, which made it easier for me to connect with him. At the same time, he was an assassin! Going along with Joe on his "jobs" was definitely a different experience for me and made the story even more gripping. This novel is written from an interesting angle. First person POV, but written as though Joe is writing in a journal to Maria. I found this to be a refreshing and fun way to read. Maybe because that's how I would probably write, maybe because it was almost like listening to Joe tell his story, but either way, it was a great break from the normal. "Children of Paranoia" was one of those books that you don't want to end but you can't wait to find out what happens next. I definitely recommend this read for anyone who likes suspense.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Em

    *It should be noted: I read an arc... but I'm not sure the issues I had could be fixed with simple revisions.* I thought this would be an interesting read... I like assassins and dystopians and don't mind some gore. But it switched between past and present tense way too often. I know it's supposed to be a journal, but really? People's names are used *way* too frequently in conversation. We know who's talking, no need to beat us with it, and it comes across as totally unnatural. It felt a bit ramb *It should be noted: I read an arc... but I'm not sure the issues I had could be fixed with simple revisions.* I thought this would be an interesting read... I like assassins and dystopians and don't mind some gore. But it switched between past and present tense way too often. I know it's supposed to be a journal, but really? People's names are used *way* too frequently in conversation. We know who's talking, no need to beat us with it, and it comes across as totally unnatural. It felt a bit rambly and was way too predicable. I mean... the "mistakes" used to cause the chain of events are so blatantly obvious. It took me months to get through this book... it just felt like it was dragging on forever with no end in sight. It's only 371 pages but it seemed like I always had hundreds of pages to go no matter how much I had read. I only finished because I don't have much else to read. Then imagine my surprise when I get to the end and it's totally set up to be a series! (Yes, sarcasm, I have it) Perhaps book two would be better... under a few conditions. 1. It can't be told in this psuedo-journal format. The execution was not done well enough in book one for that to work a second time. 2. It should be told from Maria's POV. It'd be poor use of the characters to time jump and have it all weird. Maria is set up to actually be quite awesome. 3. It must show *more* character development and less use of the characters to push a story from start to finish. (Because all the characters had interesting *moments* but overall felt a bit flat and like plot devices.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Blood Rose Books

    In Trevor Shane's debut novel, he takes the reader into a secret War that is occurring throughout the world one side good the other evil. You are either born into the War or not, but if you are born into it you must follow the rules, if you break the rules, you become a target for both sides. Every War has it rules , break the rules and it doesn't matter which side you are on, you becomes a target for everyone. At the age of 16 Joseph was told about the secret war that his family has been fightin In Trevor Shane's debut novel, he takes the reader into a secret War that is occurring throughout the world one side good the other evil. You are either born into the War or not, but if you are born into it you must follow the rules, if you break the rules, you become a target for both sides. Every War has it rules , break the rules and it doesn't matter which side you are on, you becomes a target for everyone. At the age of 16 Joseph was told about the secret war that his family has been fighting for year and the truth about how his parents died. At 18 Joseph became a solider with a mission to kill as many of the other side as he can. Killing people is the only life he has ever known. He is meticulous as he plans each assassination, but when one goes wrong he is punished and forced to go a killing spree that challenges him both physically and mentally, but all he can think of is completing the one job that he failed, and getting back to Maria, a woman who will change his life and what he believes in. I can use one word to describe this book, GRIPPING. I cannot say how much I loved this book. It is a fantastic debut, one of the best that I have read this year. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, as I was drawn further and further into Joseph's story. The book had me hooked from the very beginning as it starts with Joseph committing an assassination. This book is nonstop suspense and action, with the thrilling tale of a secret war, I cannot think of a better storyline. Joseph is a great character, he a solider (more like assassin) for one side of the war (you really don't know which side is good and which is evil). He is given a name and information about a person, he then plans and kills the people so that there are no clues and the death will go unsolved. Due to the fact that Joseph has been a part of the war for so long, that he does not question what he is doing. He has a heightened sense of paranoia that has been ingrained (basically brainwashed) into him sense he was 16. He is living in a life or death war, where he could be the other side target at any moment, and his side can push him as much as they want to kill people. However, Joseph has been part of the War for about 10 years and he begins to question everything that he has been taught and his world slowly starts to unravel and become concrete at the same time. It is very interesting to watch the change that Joseph goes through in the book and I think that Shane does a pretty accurate portrayal of how Joseph would change but also stay the same. I really enjoyed Joseph as a character. This book is written in a journal type format, but for the most part it does not read like a journal, more just the point of view of the main character as he recounts his past, why he entered the "War" and some of the kills that he has done. The story flows extremely well, that you do not even realize that you are reading a journal. So if you are not a fan of the journal format this book will still work for you. It only become more of a regular journal format closer to the end of the book and by then you will find yourself so invested in the book that you will want to continue to read it. This book is full of action, suspense and an entertaining story. If Jason Bourne was recruited as a teen and then wrote a journal of the missions he was sent on and how his life started to unfold and unravel, I think it would be similar to what Shane has written here. I cannot wait for the next book, I need to know what happens next and how the story develops. If you like action, suspense and a great assassin type story, mark September 8, 2011 on your calender and pick this book up. Enjoy!!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I had a hard time getting into this book from the first brutal murder in the opening pages. At first I thought maybe it was because it was from an assassin's point of view, but I've read other books with that point of view. Then it hit me. It's urban dystopian - this isn't life in the aftermath of a disaster, it's a disaster in the middle of everyday life. If you follow our blog, you are probably aware that I am not a fan of dystopian novels. The world can be an ugly enough place, I don't need t I had a hard time getting into this book from the first brutal murder in the opening pages. At first I thought maybe it was because it was from an assassin's point of view, but I've read other books with that point of view. Then it hit me. It's urban dystopian - this isn't life in the aftermath of a disaster, it's a disaster in the middle of everyday life. If you follow our blog, you are probably aware that I am not a fan of dystopian novels. The world can be an ugly enough place, I don't need to imagine it as more ugly. Maria was the only character I liked. Although even Maria was difficult to comprehend. As much as I tried, I never could warm up to Joseph. When he almost kills an innocent bystander, he nearly goes to pieces -he kills on a regular basis, but only because they're targets -he's that programmed. I know I should have felt empathy, but I just couldn't. Maybe it's because the first time we meet him he's killing a mother a wall's-space away from her children, but I was turned off towards him early on. I realize this is done for effect, that the shock factor is part of the dystopian theme, but that is what keeps me at bay with dystopian novels. Did Joseph reedeem himself by the end? Perhaps, or perhaps it was too little too late. My co-blogger Julie and I discussed a bit about how the book relates to the psychological trauma of war, and I think it's a valid point. But I think there is a more primitive connection than that -it's gang violence and organized crime on a whole new level. The fact that it's that close to reality on that level is rather frightening. However, the involvement of law, or lack there of, is astounding. The fact that this has been going on for generations and has been covered up or inconclusively investigated was incredulous; it went beyond my ability to suspend my belief. I love a good conspiracy, but this was over the top for me. I kept thinking, it had to be a sick twisted joke on the part of the masterminds of this war game. If that had been the case, perhaps I could have withstood it all, but as soon as it became apparent that there were two sides playing war games, I was completely turned off. Though several theories are put in play by the characters, the true source of the dispute is never revealed. Maybe Trevor Shane will venture into the actual origins of "The War" in the sequel. Obviously, I couldn't get past the dystopian under currents to appreciate this novel as a thriller. However, if that mix of genres is appealing to you, you will love this book. Julie did. http://girlsjustreading.blogspot.com/...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    There is a secret war raging right under our noses. Our narrator, Joseph, is a soldier in that war however you and I would call him an assassin. At the heart of the novel is the power of propaganda. That people will fight for something without really understanding the why of it. Just that it must be done and to do otherwise is to live in perpetual fear. Curiosity is not a valued trait in a soldier. What is important is the ability to follow orders without question. With that in mind, it is easy t There is a secret war raging right under our noses. Our narrator, Joseph, is a soldier in that war however you and I would call him an assassin. At the heart of the novel is the power of propaganda. That people will fight for something without really understanding the why of it. Just that it must be done and to do otherwise is to live in perpetual fear. Curiosity is not a valued trait in a soldier. What is important is the ability to follow orders without question. With that in mind, it is easy to make the jump to the world Trevor Shane has created. If you are told from a young age that you are fighting against evil, against the people that have killed your family and will not hesitate to kill those you love in the future, would you risk not believing it? The novel is told in a mix of first and second person narrator and is presented from page one as a journal. Joseph is writing to Maria throughout and often addresses the reader directly with the use of “you”. Once I remembered it was a journal, this did make more sense, but as a female reader I do wonder how it comes across as a male reader being addressed as a woman? The writing in general, did feel very much after the fact and made me think that something had happened which meant Joseph had to write to Maria instead of telling her in person. Of course this helps to keep your eyes glued to the page looking for clues. Maybe I'm being cynical here but I did feel that the relationship between Joseph and Maria was a bit rushed. The book is fast paced and I don't think the passage of time is very clear. Looking back, several months did pass by between their meeting and what happens next. The novel uses traditional chapters whereby the journal format doe shave the potential to structure by date or other unit of time. I've come away with more questions than answers, which is not always a bad thing in a book. In short, Children of Paranoia is a pacey thriller with an undercurrent of social commentary.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amodini

    This is a dystopian novel, and an unusual one for me, since I hadn’t read a novel where the hero was an assassin. In the first chapter itself Joe kills a woman and the murder is described in quite a bit of detail. And while I’ve watched “assassin” films (a la Jason Bourne) and seen people kill each other on screen, reading about it is a whole new level of unsettling. Joe then, starts off as a very unlikely hero. Still, the author manages to build Joe up as a sympathetic character, because he is b This is a dystopian novel, and an unusual one for me, since I hadn’t read a novel where the hero was an assassin. In the first chapter itself Joe kills a woman and the murder is described in quite a bit of detail. And while I’ve watched “assassin” films (a la Jason Bourne) and seen people kill each other on screen, reading about it is a whole new level of unsettling. Joe then, starts off as a very unlikely hero. Still, the author manages to build Joe up as a sympathetic character, because he is beginning to question this mindless killing. The book is told in the first person from Joe’s point of view, and I quite liked that. The tone and narrative is that of a person recalling memories, and relating them. This is a really interesting technique, since it not only defines Joe’s character for us, but lets us get a look-see into his mind and innermost thoughts. When the action happens, we’re in it, blow by blow. And when Joe is plagued by doubt, we can feel his desperation, raw and unconcealed : “Children of Paranoia” was a pretty intense read, and completely un-put-down-able once I had started on it. It moves fast, with unexpected twists and turns and you are hanging in there, just hoping for the best. This is an outstanding debut, and since this book has an ending which bodes well for a sequel (it is set to be a trilogy) I hope I can get my hands on it the moment it comes out! Highly recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Allison Kraft

    I don't like to write bad reviews, so this is all I'm going to say about why I didn't like this book as much as I expected. It's the first in a trilogy, so I get that the author can't wrap up every loose end in the first book. But this one frustrated me because I got to the end and nothing at all had been explained. I had no more information about "The War" than I did on page 1, other than the rumors the soldiers heard, which didn't explain anything very well even if they were true. I kept thinki I don't like to write bad reviews, so this is all I'm going to say about why I didn't like this book as much as I expected. It's the first in a trilogy, so I get that the author can't wrap up every loose end in the first book. But this one frustrated me because I got to the end and nothing at all had been explained. I had no more information about "The War" than I did on page 1, other than the rumors the soldiers heard, which didn't explain anything very well even if they were true. I kept thinking by the time I got to the end, there'd be some big revelation about what was really behind it, or a crazy twist that would answer some questions but raise new ones. That's what keeps me interested in a series, and excited for the next book to come out. I was eager to read this book initially: the concept sounded interesting, and I love a good dystopian setting. It had promise, but the more I read, the more impatient I got for something to finally be explained. Nothing ever was. The War and the way the soldiers on both sides were so frighteningly programmed could have been really intriguing, but without at least a little explanation, it all fell flat for me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book really does live up to its name in which all the characters are fighting, running from, or speaking about this unnamed War. No one seems to know how it started, how long it's been going on, or who are the leaders everyone just knows that they will either kill or be killed. I enjoyed the first person and journaling feel of the text. I think it was especially effective during some of the action scenes and the scenes filled with suspense because you can really get a feel of how paranoid th This book really does live up to its name in which all the characters are fighting, running from, or speaking about this unnamed War. No one seems to know how it started, how long it's been going on, or who are the leaders everyone just knows that they will either kill or be killed. I enjoyed the first person and journaling feel of the text. I think it was especially effective during some of the action scenes and the scenes filled with suspense because you can really get a feel of how paranoid the central character, Joe, is going through. It almost makes you want to check that no one is following you or plotting your untimely demise. I'm curious to see whether a follow up has been planned because there was definitely room in the story for there to be a sequel written. It would definitely be something to look forward to if there was.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jlee022877gmail.com

    The premise of the book was very original. There were some aspects of the books premise that lacked structure and depth. For example,more information on the background and persuasion that took place for the main character to get to the point he is at at the beginning of the novel. On the other hand, the book is a page turner that I finished over a Saturday and Sunday. I would recommend that a friend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robin Kempf

    This was interesting, and violent as one might expect when the narrator is a soldier/assassin in an underground War. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I looked at some of the other reviews and found that the things they didn't like were things I did like. I liked the vagueness of the War, and how Joe was steadily questioning it. I liked how the book didn't answer those questions. I liked how the book was in journal form, written to Maria. I liked how you didn't even know who Maria was fo This was interesting, and violent as one might expect when the narrator is a soldier/assassin in an underground War. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I looked at some of the other reviews and found that the things they didn't like were things I did like. I liked the vagueness of the War, and how Joe was steadily questioning it. I liked how the book didn't answer those questions. I liked how the book was in journal form, written to Maria. I liked how you didn't even know who Maria was for a while. I liked Joe and his voice. I wasn't crazy about Maria's voice, which other reviewers seemed to embrace, and I'm not sure I want to read a whole book in her voice, which I believe is coming in the second of the trilogy. Is there a Christian theme that is emerging, with the names of the characters: Mary, Joseph, and the Christ child? I guess I need to decide whether this question, as well as what this War is all about, are enough for me to continue the series. Not quite sure if I want read a book that mainly appears to have Maria talk about her hunt for Christopher.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andreea Daia

    ******Full Disclosure**** This was an ARC copy, that was received through the GoodReads Advance program. I am grateful for the chance to have read this novel, which I might not have purchased otherwise. ------ 7/24/11 I'm on page 243 as I write this first part of my review, but I thought I would write a few comments down before I forget them. So far the reading had been mostly fast-paced and interesting. There is a war that had been stealthily going on for the last few hundreds of years. No one ******Full Disclosure**** This was an ARC copy, that was received through the GoodReads Advance program. I am grateful for the chance to have read this novel, which I might not have purchased otherwise. ------ 7/24/11 I'm on page 243 as I write this first part of my review, but I thought I would write a few comments down before I forget them. So far the reading had been mostly fast-paced and interesting. There is a war that had been stealthily going on for the last few hundreds of years. No one really knows what started it and most folks don't even care anymore. As long as they're born in one of the families that are part of the war, all that matters is that they can die anytime. Hence taking down the other side first becomes imperative. The main characters of this novel are called Joseph and Maria. I might be wrong, but based on the first page of the book, their child's name is Christopher. Since I don't believe in coincidences, I imagine Christopher is the one that will end the war, be the savior. I'm still not sure that telling the end of the trilogy from almost the very beginning of the first book was a good idea... Anyways, the main issue I have - and indeed it is a serious one - is the whole pretext of the book: Joseph writes his memoirs for Maria, in order to explain to her his life and the choices he made. The problem is that he tells her every single detail of their encounters, in spite of the fact that she was there. It is completely unrealistic! I understand that he would explain to her his feelings or impressions, but repeating to her every single line of their conversation and every gesture that she made doesn't make absolutely any sense; she was there after all. With every occurrence of phrases like "you said," "you looked at," "you did," "you grabbed," etc, reading becomes increasingly annoying. I'm really sad to criticize the novel for something seemingly as minor as this, particularly because overall the book is definitely good, but I already find difficult to go ahead reading it because of this issue. ------ 7/25/11 I'm going to rate it 3.5 stars and round it up to 4 for its potential. The book got better toward the end. I found the whole dynamic of the plot rather fascinating: in most action novels, the events spike toward the end. However, in Children of Paranoia the time slows down in the end, it even has gaps. The reader lives under the impression that everything will be all right, that finally Joe fell under the radar. Then everything moves fast forward in the last few (less than 10) pages. (view spoiler)[No, things are not all right. Quite the contrary: it is worse than it has ever been. (hide spoiler)] The best thing of "Children of Paranoia" is the depth of detail regarding Joseph's character. The fact that the story is told from his point of view renders him believable, full of nuances. The only part that I found quite unlikely was his reaction to (view spoiler)[his mother's betrayal (hide spoiler)] . I would have expected anything from rage to sorrow to bewilderment or simply shock. "I'll always love you" is most definitely not a viable reaction. To end my review, Trevor Shane creates a parallel world that is most of the time convincing and frightening.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Alright, well I'm finally writing a review. Potential Spoilers. To be fair, I think good reads needs to set up a 1-10 rating system, that way I could give this a 4/10, which sounds a lot less harsh than 2/5. Let it be noted I have great respect for anyone that writes and publishes a book. Sorry :( Maybe it had something to do with the first person narrative, which explains the way I felt over the Storm Front Dresden File book and Electric Church, or the fact its written as a journal. This was the Alright, well I'm finally writing a review. Potential Spoilers. To be fair, I think good reads needs to set up a 1-10 rating system, that way I could give this a 4/10, which sounds a lot less harsh than 2/5. Let it be noted I have great respect for anyone that writes and publishes a book. Sorry :( Maybe it had something to do with the first person narrative, which explains the way I felt over the Storm Front Dresden File book and Electric Church, or the fact its written as a journal. This was the first book I ever picked up without having heard or looked into it; I saw it on a shelf in B&N and I was interested. My enthusiasm about this book shifted every often chapter or so-- like there were pockets of greatness separated by gaps of sluggish "ehh"-iness. To be fair, The first chapter had me hooked. If you don't mind my way of thinking, the graphic detail of the first murder was appalling, but in a good way. It wasn't like a modern FPS game where kids often feel empowered by going on a killing spree, it made me feel unclean to have read such a thing, like I had been an accomplice in the act just by reading it. I think that's the way it should be. I loved the interactions that Joe had with Jared and Michael. While the buddy archetypes were in full effect (the serious one and the foolish one), they worked quite well and they sounded like real people. Once they got separated though and the rules of the war were explained, I found myself starting to care a bit less and less. I liked the interaction with the character later on with Dan. And the hit that it leads up to. When the older men have no idea what the fight is about though, shouldn't you be thinking to yourself, hmmm... I wasn't too fond of Maria at first, because of the constant mention of "you" in the previous chapters. As it unfolded and it became more of a chase and "how do we provide for our family" book, I started to like the two of them together. It started to seem more plausible at that point. Plausibility, that's probably what was missing from this, in my own opinion. I wanted to like this book but "the war", while somewhat viable, makes absolutely no sense. Why do they fight this war? Why does it continue? NO ONE KNOWS! YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO KNOW!! AHHHH! I guess it makes sense when half of your family is killed, but at the class its mentioned that MOST of the class raises their hands when asked about whether they knew a family member murdered. What about the rest of the class? So.... I'm just going to run around killing people I've never met, over a cause that people with b%$#@-slap me for asking about? Do I have a choice? I guess not. Maybe I answered my own question. Either way, the war wears off its mysterious allure when there is too much of simply along the lines of "don't bother asking, because no one knows". There also seems to be an excruciating amount detail about things that don't really seem to matter all too much. Wish I had an example but I'm a bit lazy. I would have liked it better if the book had ended at page 347. I missed all the tell-tale signs that it was set up to be a trilogy. At this point, even with the book ending on the cliffhanger that it did, I'll be okay not picking up the next few books. Sorry Mr. Shane I would like to see Trevor Shane write something else outside of this universe though :D

  19. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    All wars have rules! 1. No killing innocent bystanders. 2. No killing anyone under the age of eighteen. 3. Have a child before you are eighteen, the child must be turned over to the other side. BREAK THE RULES YOU BECOME THE TARGET! Children are indoctrinated at the age of 16 and begin their war training. On their eighteenth birthday they become the hunters and the hunted in the war of "us" vs. "them". The war has gone on for generations, fought all over the world, with two distinct sides "good" and All wars have rules! 1. No killing innocent bystanders. 2. No killing anyone under the age of eighteen. 3. Have a child before you are eighteen, the child must be turned over to the other side. BREAK THE RULES YOU BECOME THE TARGET! Children are indoctrinated at the age of 16 and begin their war training. On their eighteenth birthday they become the hunters and the hunted in the war of "us" vs. "them". The war has gone on for generations, fought all over the world, with two distinct sides "good" and "evil". The terms vary based on which side you are on. Reasons for the war change depending on who you ask. Every killing is done in way to look random or like an accident right out in the field of innocents. Plus the "us" and the "them" are not even clearly identified by those fighting the war. There is one rule everyone knows, Paranoia will keep you alive. When I finished this book, I said "Wow" and then sat back to contemplate the story I had just read. The news is filled daily with crime, scandal, and war. Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, gang wars, drug wars, political wars, but to think a war like the one described in this book never entered my mind. Many wars are entered into without exit strategies or based on unclear information but the fact that this war has divided two factions without even a clear inkling WHY? scares me more than any of the other wars. This book takes us with Joe on his journey in this war. It is definitely an intense suspense thriller that at times will have you on the edge of your seat, but it is so much more than that. Children of Paranoia is a book that will make you stop and think. What really knocked me for a loop is that this is Trevor Shane's first novel. He has created the character of Joe with so many layers, it is almost like peeling an onion and there is still more. He also surrounds Joe with other wonderful characters that the reader becomes invested in with a few short sentences. Joe's mother is just one of those characters, her actions were both shocking and understandable. This story is heart stopping one moment and tear jerking in another. Shane has created a masterpiece you will pick up and not put down until the final word and then you will say "Wow" and sit back contemplate this story and then want to tell your friends all about it. Just like I did!! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Dutton, a division of The Penguin Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Louise / BetweenTheCovers MonsterMaX3 / Lou is Cullenized

    REVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog: I won't lie... the blurb drew me in. But I had a few reservations after reading some early reviews. I'm so glad I didn't let them deter me. Children of Paranoia was non-stop action, intrigue and emotion from the first page. This book was such a surprising read for me... in the space of 180 pages, Shane had me caring about a murderer and the girl he loves, hoping things work out for them, and tensing in anticipation of the next plot twist. Joseph is REVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog: I won't lie... the blurb drew me in. But I had a few reservations after reading some early reviews. I'm so glad I didn't let them deter me. Children of Paranoia was non-stop action, intrigue and emotion from the first page. This book was such a surprising read for me... in the space of 180 pages, Shane had me caring about a murderer and the girl he loves, hoping things work out for them, and tensing in anticipation of the next plot twist. Joseph is a soldier in a war that's gone on for so many generations no one even knows what they're fighting over anymore. All they know is that the other side is evil. And that's enough to keep them going, to keep Joe going. Until he meets Maria and she turns his head, and then turns his life upside down. The back story we're given on Joe, on all of the soldiers, left me feeling almost protective of him. I worried during the fight scenes, felt exhilarated by his relationship with Maria... and lost my breath at the revelation of Maria's secret. Listen carefully BtCers, because I'm saying it again... I am a character driven reader!! As I watched Joe's metamorphosis over the course of the novel, I was amazed. Shane wrote Children of Paranoia from the first person point of view, which should have limited the emotion of the book. It did not. The characters are well developed and thought out, their emotions ringing true and pulling you in. Watching Joe and Maria grow, seeing the changes in Joe's friendships and his relationship with his mother... these characters evolved so much in the space of this one novel, my mind is still reeling from the trip! Shane's writing paints vivid pictures, allowing the reader to envision the scenes clearly, the minute details he puts in cementing them in your mind. His writing is fast paced and clear, the flow of the story never breaking. I'm so glad to have signed on to participate in this tour, and am glad I didn't let my reservations hold me back from reading this book. From start to finish Children of Paranoia was a thrill ride, alternating between pulling on my emotions and making my pulse pound. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book of this trilogy, and what this talented author has to offer his newest fan. Rating: 4.5 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Between the Covers

    REVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog: I won't lie... the blurb drew me in. But I had a few reservations after reading some early reviews. I'm so glad I didn't let them deter me. Children of Paranoia was non-stop action, intrigue and emotion from the first page. This book was such a surprising read for me... in the space of 180 pages, Shane had me caring about a murderer and the girl he loves, hoping things work out for them, and tensing in anticipation of the next plot twist. Joseph is REVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog: I won't lie... the blurb drew me in. But I had a few reservations after reading some early reviews. I'm so glad I didn't let them deter me. Children of Paranoia was non-stop action, intrigue and emotion from the first page. This book was such a surprising read for me... in the space of 180 pages, Shane had me caring about a murderer and the girl he loves, hoping things work out for them, and tensing in anticipation of the next plot twist. Joseph is a soldier in a war that's gone on for so many generations no one even knows what they're fighting over anymore. All they know is that the other side is evil. And that's enough to keep them going, to keep Joe going. Until he meets Maria and she turns his head, and then turns his life upside down. The back story we're given on Joe, on all of the soldiers, left me feeling almost protective of him. I worried during the fight scenes, felt exhilarated by his relationship with Maria... and lost my breath at the revelation of Maria's secret. Listen carefully BtCers, because I'm saying it again... I am a character driven reader!! As I watched Joe's metamorphosis over the course of the novel, I was amazed. Shane wrote Children of Paranoia from the first person point of view, which should have limited the emotion of the book. It did not. The characters are well developed and thought out, their emotions ringing true and pulling you in. Watching Joe and Maria grow, seeing the changes in Joe's friendships and his relationship with his mother... these characters evolved so much in the space of this one novel, my mind is still reeling from the trip! Shane's writing paints vivid pictures, allowing the reader to envision the scenes clearly, the minute details he puts in cementing them in your mind. His writing is fast paced and clear, the flow of the story never breaking. I'm so glad to have signed on to participate in this tour, and am glad I didn't let my reservations hold me back from reading this book. From start to finish Children of Paranoia was a thrill ride, alternating between pulling on my emotions and making my pulse pound. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book of this trilogy, and what this talented author has to offer his newest fan. Rating: 4.5 stars

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    Children of Paranoia is a book that made me think thriller more than dystopian. The world is basically the same as it is now for the “civilians” clueless about the secret war going on around them. If you are involved in the war you spend your time either assassinating the enemy, gathering Intel on the enemy, or hiding from the enemy. It will have readers biting their nails and reaching for an antacid. This is one of those high-strung reads that barely leaves you a moment to breathe. The first ni Children of Paranoia is a book that made me think thriller more than dystopian. The world is basically the same as it is now for the “civilians” clueless about the secret war going on around them. If you are involved in the war you spend your time either assassinating the enemy, gathering Intel on the enemy, or hiding from the enemy. It will have readers biting their nails and reaching for an antacid. This is one of those high-strung reads that barely leaves you a moment to breathe. The first night reading I actually said I must put this book down or I'll have nightmares. The next night I decided screw the nightmares and kept reading until I was done. Talk about stressful! Trevor Shane has created a world that will leave readers emotionally spent, but begging for more. As I mentioned the pace of this novel moves quite quickly. The world building was pretty darn amazing and will have you obsessing about why this crazy war is happening in the first place. Character development was also really well done. Joseph and Maria are the characters we get to know best. Their romance happens quickly. I know not everyone is a fan of characters that seem to fall in love at first sight, but for Joseph and Maria it worked. Unfortunately their romance comes with serious consequences. I don’t want to give away too much, but the plot twists that surround the two really threw me for a loop. I never saw it coming. This is a novel that is anything, but predictable. The ending is completely unexpected and 100% heart wrenching. Oh my goodness I get teary just thinking about it! I'm sending you my therapy bill, Mr. Shane. It also sets us up for the next book in the trilogy perfectly. Not a cliffhanger really, but it has left me pining for what is to come next. Children of Paranoia does contain some pretty brutal scenes, but with a book starring assassins I’d consider that a given. I’m pretty squeamish when it comes to violence and came through my reading experience mostly unscathed ;) Children of Paranoia is a book that took me outside of my normal reading “comfort zone” and entertained me more than I thought possible. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys books with lots of action.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    I was fortunate to receive a copy of this through Net Galley. “Children of Paranoia” starts off with a stalking and a murder…which in itself is not unusual. I thought this murder would be the basis for the story. I was wrong! It was just the tip of a very large iceberg. Joe is the murderer above, actually “trained assassin” would be a better title. Joe is a foot soldier in a war none of us know even exists. There are 3 rules of engagement for this war. 1) No killing of innocents. An innocent would I was fortunate to receive a copy of this through Net Galley. “Children of Paranoia” starts off with a stalking and a murder…which in itself is not unusual. I thought this murder would be the basis for the story. I was wrong! It was just the tip of a very large iceberg. Joe is the murderer above, actually “trained assassin” would be a better title. Joe is a foot soldier in a war none of us know even exists. There are 3 rules of engagement for this war. 1) No killing of innocents. An innocent would be you or I who have no knowledge of this war. 2) No killing anyone under the age of 18. The children of those at war get a “free pass” until they turn 18 then all bets are off. 3) Give birth before 18 and your off-spring get turned over to the other side and thus become your enemy. Ouch! If that isn’t a good reason for birth control, I don’t know what is. This was a riveting story told from Joe’s point of view. He’s actually writing his story in a journal for someone named Maria…who won’t become known to us for quite a while. Joe is sucked into this war, against an unnamed group, because they are responsible for killing virtually his whole family. We don’t know what started the war, or when. But if there are rules, than you can guess a few, if not all, are going to be broken. And if rules are broken, you might as well paint a big red bull’s eye on your back. This was not my usual type of read…something about the blurb on Net Galley grabbed my attention, much like the rest of the book did. I was dying to find out what was going to happen to Joe, and was hoping we, the reader, would get some insight as to what prompted this war. It wasn’t until I finished the book that I found out this is just the first of a planned trilogy. The ending of Paranoia made it clear there would definitely be a second book at the very least. The story was a roller coaster ride. I mean Joe is an assassin so there is some graphic violence, but then add to that the fact that you don’t know if the person standing next to you is friend or foe…hence the need for a healthy dose of paranoia which could keep you alive.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This book is somewhat difficult for me to review. There are so many things I absolutely loved about it, but some of it drove me crazy. First, the writing. I really like Shane's writing and I sincerely hope he continues to write. I look forward to reading his future work. The pacing was just lovely. Never a single minute when I was bored with this book. Also, no real info dump, but the information was well presented for this 'alternative' world. The book is a bit heavy handed with the foreshadowin This book is somewhat difficult for me to review. There are so many things I absolutely loved about it, but some of it drove me crazy. First, the writing. I really like Shane's writing and I sincerely hope he continues to write. I look forward to reading his future work. The pacing was just lovely. Never a single minute when I was bored with this book. Also, no real info dump, but the information was well presented for this 'alternative' world. The book is a bit heavy handed with the foreshadowing, which I could have done without. Also, the letter format I found at times distracting, as I would be totally engrossed in the action of the book and all the sudden the Dear Maria would come along and pull me out of the story. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILERS BELOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now on to the plot. I must say, that it drives be crazy in this story to not know why they are fighting. I just don't think I can buy into all these people choosing to fight when they have no idea why the war is going on. On the other hand, my husband says he completely can understand it. He says the fight because that is their only choice. But something about this just doesn't sit well with me. Also, Maria and Joe make some choices that just don't seem to make sense to me. Why do they have to run? Nobody knows about them, so just break up and stay apart for a couple of years and then 'meet' for the first time when she has a kid. I think it could work. I guess mostly I just didn't believe that there was no other choice for them. But all of this is in some ways a good thing, because I was invested in this book. It made me think and I became involved, which is always a good thing for me. As for the ending, I knew it was coming, but I was still shocked. I just thought, there has to be someway for it to all work out. I really wanted that to be the case, but I just knew in my gut it wasn't going to happen. What more is there to say about that. I look forward to the next book in the series and hope it is as good (or better!) than this one!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Wow! A sadly intense and thought-provoking book that just left me asking, "why?". Why are these people fighting this war? Why are they expected to give up their humanity to do so? Why do perfect strangers become friends and allies while life-long friends and family hurt you? Why can't people look past differences? Why don't more people question authority? Why is love so powerful an emotion it can make you forget all you were taught to believe in. It took me a couple of (long) chapters to get int Wow! A sadly intense and thought-provoking book that just left me asking, "why?". Why are these people fighting this war? Why are they expected to give up their humanity to do so? Why do perfect strangers become friends and allies while life-long friends and family hurt you? Why can't people look past differences? Why don't more people question authority? Why is love so powerful an emotion it can make you forget all you were taught to believe in. It took me a couple of (long) chapters to get into this book, but then there was no putting it down. The book starts sounding like a letter to someone, but we don't meet this someone until some way into the book. Joey is a man of the War who, by falling in love, is forced to break all the rules. When he meets Maria he is forced to give up everything while trying to explain his life and the War to this woman he wants to be with more than anything. This works because, even prior to meeting Maria, Joe starts to question the War and how it is dictating his life and why he is fighting it. He has been involved in this War his entire life and is only now starting to wonder how the system works and why things can't be different. The book raises all sorts of questions about why we fight wars, revenge, good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, and the power of love, family, and friendship. The fact that "the rules" means more than friendship or family to a number of people in the book is a sign of the influence of war and power. I have to admit I was holding out for a "happily-ever-after" ending, but was very happy with what we got because it was more true to the story. On that same note, I usually complain about books that have such an open ending because I feel the author should finish the book, not me. However, again, it really worked for this book. I would be ok with the story wrapping up as is, knowing in my head that the fight continues, or I would be happy to read more about this continued cycle of rules and violence and war. Great book, really enjoyed it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Wilkerson

    So this book is totally different from my usual genres. That being said.. I really enjoyed it! I actually commented on Goodreads while I was reading it wondering what genre this book is and guess who commented back?! Trevor Shane!! He took the words right out of my mouth and called it a genre stew. I love it. I would label this book as dystopian, action-packed, adventurous, suspenseful with a splash of romance. The main character, Joe, is an assassin. Yup, he definitely kills people for a living So this book is totally different from my usual genres. That being said.. I really enjoyed it! I actually commented on Goodreads while I was reading it wondering what genre this book is and guess who commented back?! Trevor Shane!! He took the words right out of my mouth and called it a genre stew. I love it. I would label this book as dystopian, action-packed, adventurous, suspenseful with a splash of romance. The main character, Joe, is an assassin. Yup, he definitely kills people for a living and he does it seamlessly in the first chapter. He is a part of one of two faction. There's the good guys and then the bad guys. He believes he's on the good side. But is there really a way to tell? Both sides kill people. While I can't honestly say they kill innocent people, but some of them are elderly, they are moms and dads, brothers and sisters. This war though and Joe believes his cause transcends morality. Besides his job, Joe is just like us. He eats, sleeps, watches TV, and has a mom. While his job does make him a recluse and non-committal in relationships, I could still identify with him in some way. While on a job, Joe does meet an interesting girl in a way interesting way. I won't spoil the surprise for you, but it did get a chuckle out of me. Here's where the splash of romance comes in. He's never had a girlfriend. Basically, he can't have one. But will his sudden affection deter him way from his destiny? Trevor Shane did a great job regarding world building with this book. The dystopian-feel was amazing, but I am a little bias on that comment since it is becoming one of my favorite genres. This book isn't for the faint of heart.. it does have some blood and guts, but what book about an assassin wouldn't? I really did enjoy my foray into a new kind of book that I never thought would be on my shelf. You should give it a try.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leyla

    I've been putting this off for a while, so I think it's time to get it over with and write this hard impossible review. The main point is: I liked this book. I truly did. I found the writing absorbing and the plot engrossing, the characters were so human that I could feel their emotions and the ending was so unexpected that I was shocked for some time afterwards. (And yeah, I spilled some tears, too.) So why do I feel like I can't possibly choose a reasonable rating (nor express an opinion, for th I've been putting this off for a while, so I think it's time to get it over with and write this hard impossible review. The main point is: I liked this book. I truly did. I found the writing absorbing and the plot engrossing, the characters were so human that I could feel their emotions and the ending was so unexpected that I was shocked for some time afterwards. (And yeah, I spilled some tears, too.) So why do I feel like I can't possibly choose a reasonable rating (nor express an opinion, for that matter) for this book, and even if I could it would still be...not right? My mind still has some difficulties wrapping itself around some parts of the story, but the true problem was, I couldn't believe that people, no, children were forced to enter a war in which both sides kept trying to kill every single enemy whose identity they managed to discover because of a reason they didn't even remember, or, and that would be most amusing (not), that didn't even exist. I couldn't understand how, after years of pointless battles and hundreds of deaths, nobody, no body, ever asked themselves why the hell where they still fighting over something that was never even going to be revealed, and more important, if it was worth it. If it was worth to kill people you hadn't even met, just because someone told you. I've still got some troubles with the world Shane built for his debut novel. But I've decided that if it had the power to unsettle me so much, even if it was hard to read, it was indeed very, very good. I'm looking forward to read the second installment, even though a part of me is afraid I won't be able to endure another trip to that world full of hate and rage and pain. But I will most certainly try.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    The rules, the cover and all the postcards I got in the mail (marketing from publisher) made me think this was a YA book. I. WAS. WRONG. This book is a heart-pounding adult thriller, a la James Bourne. And it was good, real good. The first chapter is a bit macabre; the main character is killing someone. I know what you’re thinking, how can you relate to a killer? Well, you can. Joe is a solider not a murderer, following orders that he thinks will help bring peace between the two warring factions. The rules, the cover and all the postcards I got in the mail (marketing from publisher) made me think this was a YA book. I. WAS. WRONG. This book is a heart-pounding adult thriller, a la James Bourne. And it was good, real good. The first chapter is a bit macabre; the main character is killing someone. I know what you’re thinking, how can you relate to a killer? Well, you can. Joe is a solider not a murderer, following orders that he thinks will help bring peace between the two warring factions. It’s the eventual unraveling of the story, his personal realizations and his insight that cause almost immediate liking to his character and his plight. I loved Joe. I loved his loyalty to his friends, I loved his passionate relationship with Maria and I loved his fierce protectiveness. He’s a good guy with morals, one who’s been brainwashed into killing. He does the best he can where others are calling all the shots. Like I mentioned earlier, this book is like the Bourne Identify. The story is full of action, secret agencies and lies. It’s pure adrenaline awesomeness. While we never get the full backstory of “why” things are the way they are, it’s a full ride to the end that leaves us begging for more. *I’m not gonna lie, the ending was not my favorite. Shane pulled no punches, but he did give us a realistic story in an alternate reality world that is believable. Good for you Shane!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    I came across Children Of Paranoia while looking through the new release section of the local book store. It may have been the bright yellow cover or maybe have been the title written in large letters next to a blood drop that drew me to picking up this novel by the unheard of by me Trevor Shane. After reading the first paragraph of the insert, I knew that this book seemed right up my alley. The premise behind the book was incredibly captivating, a secret war wages between two sides and the mem I came across Children Of Paranoia while looking through the new release section of the local book store. It may have been the bright yellow cover or maybe have been the title written in large letters next to a blood drop that drew me to picking up this novel by the unheard of by me Trevor Shane. After reading the first paragraph of the insert, I knew that this book seemed right up my alley. The premise behind the book was incredibly captivating, a secret war wages between two sides and the members of each side could be anyone, but the difference between this war and most is that there are strictly defined rules that each side must follow. These rules are the strings that hold the whole war together. The protagonist of this novel, Joseph, is an assassin for one side who takes out his victims with virtually no information other than who his target is and that they are a member of the other side. While doing a job Joseph meets Maria and becomes enamored with her almost immediately. After things go very wrong, Joseph and Maria find themselves on the run from both sides. This book turned out to be an incredibly quick paced read and the entire way through I was looking forward to what the next page would bring, right up until the very end, and I'm definitely looking for the next release in the series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lillian Powell

    I picked this up as an advanced copy to try something new - hopefully an easy and exciting book about secret organizations and murders, which the back of the book promises and the first half of the book delivers; however, the second half can be best described as "uninspired bible fanfiction" with a side of creepy. Once you meet the main character's underage girlfriend that he impregnates in their first week together you should just put the book down, it does not get better. On the writing style: I picked this up as an advanced copy to try something new - hopefully an easy and exciting book about secret organizations and murders, which the back of the book promises and the first half of the book delivers; however, the second half can be best described as "uninspired bible fanfiction" with a side of creepy. Once you meet the main character's underage girlfriend that he impregnates in their first week together you should just put the book down, it does not get better. On the writing style: most of the book is written like a novel-sized letter from the main character to a woman who is not revealed for a long time (spoiler: it's his baby's momma.) I found the writing style lent great emotion/juxtaposition to the cold calculated murders the main character carries out in the beginning of the book, but it carries on for about 5 chapters too long; once Main Character is actually speaking to and interacting with this woman in the story (that he is telling to the woman), reading dialogue between the two people when the whole book is already addressed to one of them is very messy, more than a little confusing, and ultimately frustrating because the author eventually switches away from the writing style and you're left thinking "why didn't he just do that 5 chapters ago?"

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