Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on the Three Days in April blog tour. We're so excited to be part of this tour for Edward Ashton's recently released techno-thriller hosted by Pump Up Your Book Tours and Harper Voyager Impulse. Today we have a review of this odd sci-fi thriller along with a contest to win a $25 gift card to the e-tailer of your choice.
Three Days in April
Harper Voyager Impulse
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Released September 15, 2015
Techno-Thriller / Weirdness
Anders Jensen is having a bad month. His roommate is a data thief, his girlfriend picks fights in bars, and his best friend is a cyborg…and a lousy tipper. When everything is spiraling out of control, though, maybe those are exactly the kind of friends you need.
In a world divided between the genetically engineered elite and the unmodified masses, Anders is an anomaly: engineered, but still broke and living next to a crack house. All he wants is to land a tenure-track faculty position, and maybe meet someone who’s not technically a criminal—but when a nightmare plague rips through Hagerstown, Anders finds himself dodging kinetic energy weapons and government assassins as Baltimore slips into chaos. His friends aren’t as helpless as they seem, though, and his girlfriend’s street-magician brother-in-law might be a pretentious hipster—or might hold the secret to saving them all.
Frenetic and audacious, Three Days in April is a speculative thriller that raises an important question: once humanity goes down the rabbit hole, can it ever find its way back?
The summary blurb for this book is a little misguided. Other than Anders’ roommate being a data thief, it oversimplifies and labels relationships that are not nearly so clear cut in the actual story. It also frames Ander as the main character of the story, which is just incorrect when the story is told from the shifting points of view of four or five different characters. Anders is just our initial entry point into this weird techno world and all the action seems to start and revolve around him. With that warning said, this book is still as odd and entertaining as the description makes it sound, but just with a slightly different set of characters than are presented on the back of the book.
Three Days in April is an odd techno-thriller that starts off surrounding Anders Jensen. He’s a bit down on his luck, teaching as a part-time adjunct professor to bored rich kids that don’t care while regularly suffering injuries caused by his very heightened (but delicate) reflexes caused by the mouse DNA added to his genetic sequence before birth. He meets a Neanderthal girl named Terry at a bar, and instead of getting into a fight with her after spilling her beer, they become friends-who-might-sleep-together-maybe-some-day.
This fortuitous meeting along with a job he picks up from his half cyborg friend (it would be a huge stretch to call him a “best” anything with as little character development as he gets) to decipher documents drags Anders straight into the middle of a potential government conspiracy. A town near Washington, D.C., suddenly has 88 percent of its population drop dead and the government fire bombs it to protect the rest of the country from a rouge illness. Before long Anders, Terry, and his hacker roommate Gary are having bombs dropped on their heads because they inadvertently know too much.
Three Days in April is not quite goofy, but it definitely doesn’t take itself seriously. I mean one of your leads has mouse DNA as his superpower. Another character is shady street magician who may or may not be able to become invisible. Gary is a nano-bot energy drink chugging, greasy dread wearing slob, who gets away with calling his new associates by rude nicknames and still maybe gets the pretty girl. It’s all very silly, this world of gene hacking and technological body mods, but it never is laugh out loud funny. It’s a strange subtle line Ashton walks along, but it more or less works for him.
The overarching story is the ragtag group of weirdos figuring out the truth behind what happened in Hagerstown without getting killed by shady government agents. There’s a decent amount of technobabble, but not too much that I got lost or felt as though I’d fallen into a lecture. There are bigger conflicts like the inequality and tension between modded people and “homo saps” (or completely natural people), but the surface is really just barely scratched on these bigger issues. Far more world building could have been done, but it’s sacrificed for this misfit adventure instead, keeping the pacing fairly steady. A few moments lag as Anders and his friends catch their breath before going on to the next misadventure, but for the most part this book read very quickly.
The final few chapters turn into a bit of split second Taratino movie told in rapid changes of perspective before just ending, which was probably the most unsatisfying part of the novel. By the time the book wraps up, questions are answered, but I didn’t feel like the crazy conspiracy danger handing over everyone’s heads had been truly resolved. Instead I was left with a bunch of characters that survived because of hand waving and a lack of paper rather than because there was a conclusion to the story. It’s unfortunately this could have been a much more enjoyable story had the conclusion been more satisfactory. Instead I was left scratching my head a little, wondering if I’d missed something important or had a few more chapters missing from my copy.
This is a strange techno-thriller that could really work for anyone tired of the overwrought drama and seriousness of most books in the genre. I wished there was a little bit more, but it was still a fun little jaunt into a different type of book for me. The world building was intriguing and the characters were weird, so I’d call this one a win.
About the Author
Edward Ashton lives with his adorably mopey dog, his inordinately patient wife, and three beautiful but terrifying daughters in Rochester, New York, where he studies new cancer therapies by day, and writes about the awful things his research may lead to by night. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of venues, ranging from Louisiana Literature to Daily Science Fiction. Three Days in April is his first novel.
Enter to Win a $25 Gift Card to the e-Retailer of Your Choice!
Terms & Conditions:
- By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
- One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
- This giveaway begins September 15 and ends on October 9.
- Winners will be contacted via email on October 10.
- Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!
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Book reviewed Queen of All She Reads
Book reviewed and Guest blogging at Working for the Mandroid
Book featured at Literal Exposure
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Guest blogging at Around the World in Books
Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Book featured at Celticlady’s Reviews
Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight
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Book feature at A Room Without Books is Empty
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