Fiction, Paranormal, Young Adult

Review: The Survivors by Daniel Harvell

The Survivors book cover
Image from Daniel Harvell; used by permission

Title: The Survivors

Author: Daniel Harvell

Genre: Paranormal

When seven strangers impossibly survive a horrific airplane crash, they find themselves changed in remarkable ways. The survivors are endowed with powers that defy explanation. Some are blessed. Some are cursed. Going their separate ways, they adapt their extraordinary “gifts” to their ordinary lives. The results, however, aren’t always pretty — particularly when one of them engages in a killing spree. With little more to go on than the psychic link that they all share, the survivors seek out one another to uncover the murderer and bring him or her to justice.  The fireman, the grandmother, the psychiatric patient, the basketball player, the mute girl, the rich blonde, and the man in the wheelchair — they all have secrets worth hiding. They can’t trust each other. They can’t even trust themselves.

I picked this up on the premise of special powers. Superpowers, psychic powers…whatever it turned out to be, I like that kind of stuff. The synopsis didn’t tell me much about any one particular character, but I figured I could handle seven points of view.

There’s so many characters in this book I’m going to have to limit myself to a brief description of each.

Dakota (the main character) was fearless, but he had a hotheaded streak. Grandmotherly Annabelle was the picture of a sweet old lady, but she hid a lot of really bad secrets. I liked Beverly’s mental-illness angle (it’s not as bad as it sounds), but she had a whole lot of trust issues.

College kid Troy added a little more excitement to the group, but I think his black-boy steriotype was a little overdone. Dale was a jerk for almost the entire book. The last two survivors, Megan and Ashley, don’t come in until the end, so I didn’t know too much about them.

The whole plot of the story was Dakota and Annabelle (to start) looking to find the other survivors of the plane crash and figure out which one of them is the Mind Breaker, a murderer who steals people’s brains. The fun part about it is that the way everything is revealed, everyone could concevably be the murderer up until the real murderer reveals themself. This is an Indie book, but the danger-frought complexity of the mystery-style plot impressed me greatly.

By the time the climax rolled around, I was sure I knew who the Mind Breaker was. But I was wrong. And that almost annoyed me, because it was an out-of-the-blue reveal that I thought should have been foreshadowed better. But that epilogue…if you don’t quite understand, reread the prologue. It wraps up everything in a somewhat eerie way and leaves plenty of sequel room.

I’m glad I gave The Survivors a read. There is plenty of space for a sequel (if I could put in a request, I’d like it to feature Ashley – the bit I saw of her was fascinating and unique). I hope Daniel Harvell’s up for book two. I know I am.


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