Written by Ammar Habib
For the past four years, everyone thought Ethan Daniels was dead and gone. But now he is back with a vengeance. After the gruesome death of his adopted sister at the hands of a merciless gang, there is nothing he wants more than revenge. He can’t sleep. He can’t think. All he hears are her cries and all he sees is her death. Ethan comes home to take on one of the world’s most notorious crime lords in his bid for revenge. Using his vast resources, advanced skills, and an arsenal of weaponry, Ethan dons the mask of a vigilante and wages a one-man-war against the crime lord’s empire…
As origin stories go this was pretty good. Ethan Daniels is a bad ass superhero of a questionable supernatural origin. He is fighting government corruption while trying to live a normal life and protect those he loves. He is troubled and flawed and not quite sure if his hellbent quest for vengeance is what he should be doing with his life. So, it is also a bit of a cliche. Unfortunately, it didn’t help much that every time he dispatched a bad guy he sounded like Oliver Queen uttering his famous “You have failed this city!”. Call it an homage to great graphic novel super- and anti-superheroes.
The book could have used another edit for grammar and spelling, but there is so much that is good about it. The author has built a world with a political climate that is not as far off in this country as we would like to believe, where basic constitutional rights have been revoked and citizens are pretty much on their own. It surely seems to be a social commentary, but plays out well in the framework of the story. It allows the characters to walk a fine line between perpetrating injustice and just not doing anything about it
While Ethan’s backstory might be a bit on the predictable side, it is populated with great and at times complex characters. Katrina, William, and, surprisingly, David are exceptional standouts. If you know a man by those who love him, then we know a great deal about our protagonist. Ethan is accessible as a character even knowing almost nothing about him up front and the bits and pieces told in flashback were a great way to catch the reader up.
This is an action tale where exposition doesn’t take a back seat to the high octane fight scenes which read more like a movie than a book. There is enough suspense, with a fair share of twists to keep the reader fully engaged from cover to cover and it was certainly not a chore for me to finish this all in one sitting.
With a little polish this could be a five-star read, but even so, the story is strong enough to make me want to read the next books in the series. Ethan Daniels and his alter ego have some serious potential.
Ammar Habib is a bestselling and award-winning author who was born in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1993. Ammar enjoys crafting stories that are not only entertaining but will also stay with the reader for a long time. Ammar presently resides in his hometown with his family, all of whom are his biggest fans. He draws his inspiration from his family, imagination, and the world around him.
1. What does it mean to you to be called an author?
Being an author means many things. You’re a world-builder. An action hero. A cowboy. A wizard. You’re whatever you want to be. As an author, you live vicariously through your characters (I sometimes even find myself thinking about them!). Therefore, you’re a wearer of many hats and get to keep a piece of each character with you long after you’ve written the story.
2. What advice do you have for new authors, like me?
I’ve learned a lot about the industry over the past few years. What I’ve seen is that along with filmmaking, it is probably the most subjective industry out there. A writer may spend months perfecting their story, putting their heart and soul into it, staying up the whole night working on it, only for an editor to reject it with a short sentence of vague reasoning. That’s what can make the industry very frustrating.
What I tell people who ask is that you need to write something that you believe in. Don’t worry about what others think about it. If you think it’s a great story and one that needs to be told, then write it! The other thing is that writers need to have thick skin. Editors and agents reject hundreds of works a day, so never take it personally. Even critics give bad reviews all the time. But if you believe in your work and did your best, then never let the opinions of anyone tear you down. Write stories that you’d want to read, regardless of what others say!
3. Who is your favorite character in the book you are sharing with us today?
My favorite character in my Dark Guardian Series is the protagonist, Ethan Daniels. He is an extremely complex character, heavily evolving throughout the course of each of the series’ novels. It’s been fun to see how he has transformed from a very selfish character, not caring who he hurt in order to achieve his goals and into a selfless hero who puts the good of others before himself.
4. What do you think makes a good story?
As Herman Melville once said, “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.” Starting out with a strong theme (or message) is where I like to begin my books. A strong theme can build powerful characters and is the backbone for the book. Although a theme is not the only important things—characters, plot, and style are major factors as well—it still plays a crucial role in the impact of a story.
5. What or who inspired you to begin writing?
The one book that inspired me to become a writer is Og Mandino’s The Choice. I read the book when I was seven-years-old and it is what put me onto the path of becoming a writer and inspired the dream to one day to have millions of copies of my books sold around the world.
But outside of books, the other main thing that acted as a catalyst for my writing was my 2nd Grade Teacher at AP Beutel, Mrs. Scott. When I was in her class years ago, she gave me a homework assignment to write a one-page story. This was the first time I ever wrote anything. That experience breathed the love of writing into me and I’ve never stopped since!
I’ve also discovered that I’m not the first author in my family. My great-grandfather was a writer after his career as a police officer in India ended. My maternal grandmother was also a writer, having some of her works published in the newspaper. Although my own mother was not a writer, she has her Master’s degree in Fine Art. So I think this artistic capability probably runs in the family too.
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