Cadence, JD, and Orlando couldn’t be more different from one another. Under normal circumstances, the three wouldn’t so much as say hi to each other if they could get away with it. Then an alien crashes through the roof of their local mall, and everything changes. Not only do the three teens gain new abilities, but they’re also chosen to help fight in an intergalactic war where the next chosen battlefield is Earth.
Reluctant at first, they change their minds when the fight hits close to home. Teenagers from school start to go missing, and some are dead. Together they must learn to work together and solve the mystery behind these disappearances before more lives are lost.
J.F. Jenkins lives in Minneapolis where she spends most of her time creating and plotting world domination – something that has been in the works for roughly 13 years.
In her free time she works as the local coffee wench and dominates the minions of the pixilated world on her PS3.
She’s also got a little man (J Walk) and a little man trapped in a big man’s body (J Dawg) to take care of along with her two fur babies Ushi and Tibu.
She is currently unrepresented by an agency. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.
Battlefield had a lot of things going for it. First, the premise of an alien war coming to Earth, asking regular kids to help them fight it, and then giving them superpowers. All of this is awesome. I would totally see the movie.
Second, the characters are fun. My favorite was probably the dark and guarded Orlando, but I also liked JD and Cadence. They each had their own personalities and quirks and struggles, and I liked reading their interactions (although the dialogue was a little hard to follow at times).
It was a quick and fairly easy read, and the pacing kept me engaged. I was able to easily follow the plot and the shifts in POV between the three teens and Alan, their alien mentor.
From the cover and the blurb, I got the impression that Battlefield would be full of crazy sci-fi action and battles, and while there was some of that, most of the book was character exploration as we got to know the three teens and Alan, and as they played around with their new abilities and learned to play nice with each other. There’s nothing wrong with that; you just need to adjust your expectations accordingly.
That said, Battlefield did have a few issues that I struggled with. The first was just realism in the lives of the teens. At the beginning of the book, before they receive their powers, it is established that Cadence is not, shall we say, the sharpest tool in the shed. However, as we meet Cadence she is puzzling through her math homework, specifically this problem: x+4=6. She must solve for x.
This is kindergarten math. Literally. I have a child just starting first grade, and this sort of math is what she was doing in school last year. I don’t care how remedial Cadence’s classes are, I doubt they sent her back to elementary school.
Or then there’s Orlando and his abundant wealth. He lives in a mansion roughly the size of Buckingham Palace (okay, I made up the comparison, but to hear it described, that’s about right), complete with an entire secret wing thousands of square feet and multiple stories in size, that his sister has never noticed. Apparently she has never walked completely around the outside of their house.
Then he decides to furnish said secret wing with furniture and appliances from IKEA, and he buys two of everything so that he can tell his sister the bill was so he could decorate a different area of the house, and the bill to completely outfit the equivalent of two modest-size apartments with brand-new IKEA everything is $5,000.
Trust me, I’ve spent long enough browsing the IKEA catalog to have a decent idea of what it would cost to furnish an entire house/apartment. Twice. And it’s a lot more than $5,000, even when you are doing it with sleek but cheap Swedish furniture.
BTW: The IKEA shopping spree? Totally my dream. I’m still in mourning that I moved from a place with an IKEA to a place without an IKEA.
So those are just a couple examples of unrealistic elements that left me scratching my head, saying, “well that’s not right,” which in turn took me out of the story.
And yes, I realize I’m talking about a book with alien superpowers and complaining that math problems and IKEA prices took me out of the story. But as always, the fantastic stuff I can buy. I’ve never been to Alan’s homeworld. I don’t know what’s possible there, or what possibilities he brings to Earth with him. It’s the stuff that I’m familiar with, the stuff that’s based here that I need to feel real. And there’s a bunch of little stuff scattered throughout the story that just didn’t ring true for me. Not enough to ruin the book. But enough to take me out of the story, and I think the goal of any story is to immerse the reader from beginning to end.
Aside from the little details not ringing true, the other main problem I have with the book is that it seems to end in the middle of the story. I was actually shocked the book ended where it did. It’s not a cliffhanger, it’s not a resolution, it doesn’t follow a big action scene. It just…stops. I felt like I had just read half a book, and then it was over. It’s good that there’s a sequel, Control, because otherwise we’ll never get answers to any of the big questions raised in Battlefield.
Overall, Battlefield was a fun concept and a quick read with likable characters. No, the execution wasn’t up to the standards of some of the best YA sci-fi I’ve read (and keep in mind, I tend to be pretty nit-picky in my reading), but it was still entertaining.
Also, I had this song stuck in my head the entire time I was reading it. Now you can too. Just pretend it’s JD and Cadence dancing (not that JD and Cadence look like this, or can dance…or can they?).
Enter below for a chance to win a digital copy of Battlefield from J.F. Jenkins!
This giveaway is author-sponsored and open internationally. Entrants must be 13 years old or older. I WILL be checking IP addresses, and people entering under multiple usernames WILL be disqualified.
Winners will be drawn on 8/16 and notified by email. They will have up to 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
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Thanks to J.F. Jenkins and Heather from SupaGurl Tours for letting me be part of the blog tour!