AUTHOR: Guy Harrison
PUBLISHER: Self-published through Amazon and Smashwords
The reason I decided to read Agents of Change was because the first chapter was humorous, action-packed and suspenseful. I figured, if anything, at least it would keep me entertained. In that respect, the book delivered. Guy Harrison’s writing was non-stop action, and kept me turning pages from beginning to end. Other than that, though, the book fell flat.
The premise of Agents of Change revolves around a secret institute which uses magical shape shifting and telekinetic powers to “do good.” While this could be an interesting scenario, I found that it was no more than a plot device. The back story behind the shape shifting ability seemed disconnected from the story; a magical arrowhead carved by a Shaman seemed like an easy out. The Agents of Change would simply “swoosh” into their new form, changing in seconds into a new person, and even wearing new clothes. And the Agency’s goodwill mission seemed trite compared to the possible power of shape shifting and telekinesis.
Determined to make the best of the pages before me, I suspended my disbelief and tried to go with the flow. The themes throughout the book were fantastic: the ability of good people to turn bad and the corruption of power are classic topics. However, it seemed as if the book itself was a thinly-veiled attempt to directly address these topics, as opposed to a vivid story that left me pondering them.
At the very least, I hoped that the love story would keep me entertained. In that regard, Agents of Change did redeem itself. The love triangle that the main character finds himself in was far from hot and steamy, but it progressed in a surprising direction. Still, while all of the characters in the novel were unique, none of them were given enough depth for me to truly connect with them.
As the book went on, Guy lost the humorous tone that originally sold me on his writing and instead relied solely on action. While this kept me turning pages, it didn’t help me enjoy the book as a whole. Guy left behind his voice and style as he rushed to get his story on the page. If Guy had spent more time on his back story, flushing out his characters and analyzing his dialogue, he might have come out with a gem.
Guy Harrison is a good writer, but he made the number-one self-publishing mistake. He published his novel too soon. The book needs deeper characters, better back story, and the theme should be nestled within the plot, not driving it with a riding crop. I can’t, in good conscience, recommend Agents of Change as your next beach read, but I have no doubt that Guy has enough imagination and talent to carry him further. I am excited to see how his writing career progresses and what new scenarios he creates in the future.
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