Four More Years, Days, Pages

The great, the amazing Johan Twiss, though that might be giving him too much credit, then again I gave this book five stars too and would you honestly like to know why I would do such a thing Four More Years, Days, Pages

“Sometimes I just wished life could be different”
4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace

From the get-go, this is way more than four, five stars all the way and normally I don’t start with a rating but this is truly an awesome read. Now I’ve read Johan Twiss’s work before and to be honest I felt somewhat pressured to rank him somewhat high but with this work, I would give the guy more stars if I could, talk about having only seen the tip of the iceberg and I wish more books could be like this, just amazingly wow.

I’m not even sure what to call this genre since the first book of his I read “I AM SLEEPLESS: Sim 299 (Volume 1)” was clearly a sci-fi but with “4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace” if I must compare it to anything it would be Andrew Davidson’s “The Gargoyle” just tuned for a younger demographic but don’t get me wrong, being an adult this book is amazing. Now the author sent me a free copy for an honest review and with my last review, I thought the sci-fi wording was somewhat wonky and while this is clearly a different sort of book, Johan clearly did his research. He even goes into detail about his research which means he is clearly hoping his fans might get him… message received Mr. Twiss and well done.

Usually, I’m one to talk about cliché and not to toot my own horn but I read plenty, I’m no critic but anybody who’s anybody will tell you I know my references but this story is quite unique and original. The rare form of “meningitis” for example, I’m sure most people would have gone straight for comatose but Aaron is quite active for someone that can’t move at all. As he is drawn into his Mind Palace we are drawn into him and as far as moving, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough really.

Is it too soon to mention Solomon the great, Solomon the amazing, how about Solomon the wise, I’m sure the author mentioned King Solomon. Most can only hope for such a life, keeping in mind the joy and pain, sunshine and rain… something from my own memory/mind palace and that’s another thing the music, I swear I can hear it.

“People do this to me all the time. For some reason, they feel compelled to share their life problems and hidden secrets with me. Probably because I’m like a pet dog that can’t talk back. All I can do is sit and listen, even if I don’t want to”
― from Johan Twiss, 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace

You’ll find no, stop me if you’ve heard this from me today, at least not story wise, again I’ve somewhat seen the concept in The Gargoyle, Forrest Gump, and probably a hospital drama here and there but the story is an original and between you and me it beats interesting, truth be told I hate when people call my work interesting. Aaron Greenburg deserves so much more along with Solomon and most of the other characters, some were only bits but you felt for all of them, even Dr. Idiot.

So if you’re still listening how exactly would I sum this up, not that you shouldn’t already be looking this up for yourself… Aaron Greensburg has meningitis which prevents him from moving and speaking, his only respite being his mind palace until he meets Solomon who has the ability to hear Aaron’s mind and opens him up to his own history, from boxing to jazz, to World War II and if you want a trip to Disneyland or should I say Wonderland this is the book for you. My third favorite character has to be Solomon’s granddaughter Sarah, not trying to spoil anything yet but I would like to read more of Aaron’s future, immediate future while the ending itself is awesome.

As for the other characters, there was no waste, each character if only for a few pages was developed and felt so real; unique, original, leaving not a single doubt in my mind. Speaking of the mind, I sort of see Aaron’s mind palace as a video game or at best VR but when he began experiencing Solomon’s dreams and dementia, that was a whole new way to fly, Matrix parallel could be. The story brought out so much in me, can’t say I was much into jazz but my aunt would play her classics on the radio and tell stories here and there about her life sometimes.

Also while the author is being so creative, I like how he puts a bit of himself I mean his own experiences in this and he doesn’t sugarcoat any of it. Well, I take that back but I wished for just a moment to be sixteen again, did I mention how much I adored Aaron and Sarah throughout the story.

“Nothing hurts a man’s ego like hearing a pretty girl talk about all the cute guys she likes. Guys who are not him, that is”
― Johan Twiss, 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace

If you think I’ve oversold this book or you think I just talk too much, five stars and go out and get it because I’ll have to buy a physical copy myself and I’m about to spoil some of it. Is there anything that I don’t like about this book… *crickets chirp*, *tumbleweed drifts by* ahem okay so I’ll save that for the end huh.

The book has several Forrest Gump moments, as Aaron is inserted into pivotal moments in Solomon’s past and it comes out when both JJ and Big Tom compare Aaron to the person that helped Solomon and them as well, mind blown. There are grown women that need to be more like Sarah, I mean come on, a guy that always listens, thinks you’re the most beautiful thing ever, and is willing to do anything, even learn how to talk; a friend of mine and I agree that guys will literally do anything for a pretty girl which makes the ending even more spectacular. There are too many moments between Solomon and Aaron that I enjoyed so maybe another great scene I’ll leave with is the Valentine’s Day dance, so sweet.

Okay, I’m slightly annoyed that now I’m going to have to look up some jazz on Youtube, Blue In Green or how about that Jack Dempsey fight? The idea that I read the first book and was wondering how I was going to spend this title and now I’m stopping myself from typing awesome about a thousand times like doing a term paper in school. Speaking of school, perhaps that’s the only flaw, that ever so slightly I felt like I was reading some historical narrative I suppose but only really comes out at the end as Johan Twiss attempts to explain himself, like telling a joke but then having to explain it, I get it and there is so much he is trying to say and didn’t want to tick off the history buffs.

Five stars anyway but now the bar has been set, the first book he sent was a solid three but I went one higher because… anyway if I become a fan of Johan Twiss, two points is a line, three points a pattern, usually singers have to get me to like five songs, an author has to get five stars but shall I dare call myself a fan? This book hooked me, from start to finish and what higher praise is there that I want a physical copy for my traditional library, anyway I didn’t want Aaron to be stuck like that forever but really Four More Years, Days, Pages.

“Kid, some things in life just are what they are because God allows it to be so. Maybe we’re not meant to know all the answers. Maybe we’re not ready for them yet. Knowing them now won’t change a thing, and trying to figure it out will just take up our time and leave us with more questions. I’m old, and I don’t have much time to waste. I prefer to live life as it comes, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get the answers to my questions after I die”
― Johan Twiss, 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace



I am Sleepless Because Of This Story

“War, war never changes” Fallout Series

While our enemies do, our reasons, our methods, and everything else may, the concept of war I believe is universal, tale as old as time. “I am Sleepless: Sim 299” carries on in that tradition, though to be fair this book was more of a learning experience both in who the real enemy is and the all-around ideology of why we fight and how.

As what seems to be the norm, humanity is its own worst enemy, but we also have the Splicers and a wild array of creatures, which was interesting for the author to put together but also perhaps a bit lazy. The reason of course needs no real explanation… our continued existence and the stakes don’t get much higher than that, also the idea of the splicers and those in power gives rise to the idea of who the real monsters are. This of course leads us to the Primes and the Prime Initiative, if anyone remembers the television series Dark Angel or X-Men’s Genosha or anything with child soldiers or slaves, this is a somewhat new twist on the genre.

Remember I said this is a learning experience because there is so much to keep track of, what soldiers have what powers, strengths and weaknesses, and what animal got such attributes but there is a glossary in the back for the Primes. The plot keeps you going quite steadily but isn’t as complicated as the Primes themselves when you’re trying to keep up with the course of any one battle and it would have been helpful to know what the Splicers could do which several of the characters bring up as well. The world is flushed out well and I rather enjoyed some of the character motivations which I suppose will become even more complex with the next story but again this one was awesome.

While I won’t exactly call the concept original the story itself is actually quite creative in a lackadaisical sort of way, again the animals and the powers I’d like to know how long the author spent coming to what made the final cut. Speaking of final cut if I had one real problem and maybe this was just a computer glitch with my Kindle, none of the pictures ever showed up besides the cover but let me focus more on the ideas that did show.

“I have come to believe that there is no escape from war. The only solution is to control it.”
― Johan Twiss, I AM SLEEPLESS: Sim 299

As I said all too familiar which the author acknowledges along with several others, 1992’s TOYS, Ender’s Game, Divergent, The Hunger Games, another let the children lead us or children save the world type of deal. Besides not seeing the pictures there isn’t much I can say on the negative, that’s not to say there aren’t any faults.

Aiden and his coterie, his makeshift family and friends are all brought to life quite well and the bits of romance that the author did allow are thoughtful. The idea that the Meks (how long did that name take) subconsciously sabotage all their tech so only they can use it, like Hephaestus and his maze by comparison. The sim, and the pit remind me of Ender’s Game and if you’re up for a good riddle and a hell of a fight this will get you going, some head scratching there.

Now the names are laughable, maybe those were the pictures, I don’t know but I’m reading through and it’s like seriously Batmonkeys, Hippophants, Wolfstags, did some kid dream these up or is it an episode of Power Rangers. Another common idea in these stories is that having to prove you’re the chosen one, if there were two people before Aiden, did they not have some sort of test to prove themselves and why not or if so what makes Aiden different, yes I get the whole three thing (get used to seeing three a lot). There is also Director Tuskin, ever heard the expression, dumbest smart guy, his character just seemed, unhinged and I mean not the character’s insanity but from the book itself as if it couldn’t be agreed upon what he was truly doing with himself, okay mysterious but really counting on the sequel there to learn more.

Most people will appreciate the familiar spin and the twist, and the book has a habit of repeating itself because of the learning curve. If you don’t like the teen trend though and you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, yeah this book is more a sugar treat than a steak, for the record.

“I guess I have a face that only a blind woman could love,”
― Johan Twiss, I AM SLEEPLESS: Sim 299

I can’t say it was love but enough to put the sequel on my list; I liked this book plenty. If I was going to recommend this book to anyone; plenty of people would enjoy it but if we’re looking for a special breed…

I probably shouldn’t say this but I’ll say the tiniest bit of peer pressure to bump it up to four stars, I would honestly give it three for plot, character development, and actually caring when I went a day without reading it. There were too many problems in my case to say four directly and I can’t say I know the author’s other works but this book has loads of potential and much like Aiden’s friends I look to Johan Twiss and ask, what’s next. Can’t say I would have immediately sought this book out on my own but I’m glad I gave it a shot and the fact that I want more is praise enough or so I thought.

If you think Ender’s Game is one of the greatest things ever then this book will definitely be worth your time. If you’re a kid at heart with a touch of mad scientist in you, plus it helps if you’re into super soldiers that have plenty of flaws, then this is pretty good indeed. It could be that you just enjoy reading about futuristic wars and such, a bit of a space oddity (yes you read that right) then get ready for a bit of an adventure without a doubt.

As I said, personally a three out of five but I have a heart and shouldn’t we all for anyone that gives so much thought and energy into such an endeavor. For the record if I had to choose a class for myself I’d go either Mek or Lug, I like building things but on the other hand Lugs, well I’ll just keep my hands full so I don’t have to speak to anyone really.

Sim 299