Review of The Cleansing by Danielle Tara Evans

Global warming! This is something we all hear about regularly. Every day there is new information describing how we are ruining our planet. Every action we take has a reaction. In The Cleansing, global warming advanced far enough that many natural disasters, of epic scale, ravaged the planet and killed millions. In this dystopian future, the U.S. is largely to blame for the harm caused to our planet. Americans are disliked and the story paints a very gloomy future for any American citizen. U.S. soldiers are even used as nothing more than fodder in the American Military. I found the concept very interesting.

The characters were well developed. I could feel the pain Annie endured. I felt I could relate to both John and Annie as the story progressed, and I had to know how the story concluded. I also felt Katja was a very interesting character as well.

The story flowed smoothly and it quickly drew me in. I found very few points were I felt it dragged. In fact the other night I went to bed late and knew I had to get to bed, but I couldn’t. I had to finish the last 30% before I could go to sleep. And the ending…well I don’t want to spoil it. I have to admit I was a little surprised.

Danielle Tara Evans did a magnificent job with this novel, and I definitely look forward to the sequel, The Revolt.

I give this book 4 out 5 stars and would highly recommend it, especially if you are looking for a story that will pull you in, unfortunately, you won’t want it to end.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which in no way affected my review.


Excerpt from Book 2

Here is an excerpt from Book 2 in The Keepers of the Orbs Series, The Rising Past

He enjoyed the normalcy he had found once again, and wanted to soak up every minute of it, even if it would be short-lived. On this particular day, he ate his breakfast on the terrace connected to his quarters overlooking the ocean. He took a deep breath and enjoyed the crisp morning air filled with the salty aroma it gathered as it blew over the white-capped water. It mixed with the sweet smells of the flowers surrounding his terrace, bringing back pleasant memories of his childhood. He took a sip of his steaming hot tea and let the citrus aromas flood his senses.

He knew he was only stalling, though, and needed to confront his brother. He sighed and collected his plates. He left them on a table, knowing they would be taken care of when the servants cleaned his room for the day. He hated leaving them; his preference had always been to take care of them himself, but time was of the essence.

He left his room and made the short walk to his brother’s quarters. With no idea whether or not his brother was even in his room, he pounded on the door and awaited a response.

He faintly heard noise from inside. “You may enter.”

Raythum could tell his brother had no idea who had interrupted his morning, and he quickly recognized the surprise on his face when he walked through the door..

He didn’t rise when Raythum walked in. “Well, if it isn’t my amazing brother. What brings you to visit your loathsome brother?” he asked with a sneer across his face.

“I hope I am not interrupting?” Without waiting for a response, Raythum walked into the room and motioned toward a high-backed chair. “May I?”

“Please, by all means.” Tirell arrogantly crossed his arms and leveled his gaze at his brother.

Raythum wasn’t surprised to find his brother—who now was in his mid-twenties—curled up on his couch with his head engrossed in a book.

Tirell marked his page. “Please tell me why I have the honor of your visit? Shouldn’t you be busy taking care of your lizard, or saving the world?” The sarcasm dripping from his brother’s words wasn’t lost on Raythum.

“My Dragon’s name is Milenthia, and is it turns out we are making preparations to travel to Agripina.” He could see the greedy look in his brother’s eyes. He knew he counted the days till their departure so he would be out of his affairs. “Before I leave, though, I have received several troubling reports of your activities while I have been away.” He stared sternly, not wanting to come off like an angry parent, but in a manner that would express the importance of the situation.

A disdain-filled grin crossed Tirell’s face. “I should’ve known Norlun would run to you. That meddlesome old man should know to stay out of other people’s business,” he hissed angrily.

“Yes, well, he is concerned about you. He talked of your infatuation with Luther.”

Tirell stood. This obviously struck a chord with his brother. “Infatuation! There is no infatuation. Luther was a powerful wizard. The more I have learned of him, the more I have come to respect him.” Raythum saw a passion uncurbed in his brother’s eyes.

Raythum stood to meet his brother. “Calm down. No one is accusing you of a misplaced love affair, or anything like that.” He directed his brother back to the couch, before he continued. “Norlun is just concerned. Luther was a great wizard, but he followed a dark path. A path that led to his death. I… we would both hate for the same thing to happen to you.” Raythum’s voice filled with concern at the words.

“What do you care what happens to me? You have never cared before,” Tirell almost spit the words as he spoke them. A grotesque look crossed his face.

“Come now, brother. I have never been anything other than supportive of you, and the unorthodox practices you uphold.” Raythum tried to placate Tirell’s anger.

Tirell shot Raythum a glare. “Is that so? Then tell me again why you challenged my claim to the throne?”

Raythum tried to hide his agitation. “You know that to be a false claim. I never expected, nor did I have a desire, to be named heir. I know I am the second born, and my eyes longed for other things. The test we went through for the throne was not of my doing. It was fathers!” Raythum approached Tirell who sat on the couch. He pushed a finger into his brother’s chest, no longer able to hold his anger in check. “Father saw something in you, something he did not care for.”

Tirell shoved his brother’s finger aside. “Don’t play the innocent with me. Father has never understood me, nor have you. Out of fear, he rigged a test, enabling him to honorably depose me as his heir, only to put you in my place. He has always understood you better, and instead of getting to know me for the person I really am, it was easier for him to brush me aside. He had this planned for years. You cannot be so naïve as to think otherwise!” he scoffed.

Frustration overwhelmed Raythum. He had been having this same argument with his brother for years and he grew tired of it. “So that’s it then? You are going to let your petty father-issues potentially send you down a dark path?”

Tirell stood and faced his brother. “It’s so easy for you, isn’t it? Everything has been handed to you on a platter, and you expect it to be as easy as you wish. I cannot tolerate it, and I won’t.” He turned his back on his brother. “I know you better than most, and can see through your rouse.” He spun around on his heels. “You’re no better than me. You may not have sought out the throne, but the second father handed it to you, you changed. You may have father convinced, but not me. You look forward to the throne as much as I. Maybe not for the same reasons, but you cannot deny it.” He looked menacingly up into his brother’s eyes.

“Would you stop it already? As much as you would like to believe otherwise, I have never been in competition with you. I had nothing to do with father’s decision, so please let it go.” Raythum threw his arms up in frustration.

Tirell rolled his eyes. “So why are you here then?”

“You need to stop with all of this Luther nonsense. You are drawing too much attention to yourself and people are starting to notice. I cannot believe you have gathered followers,” he spit with scorn.

Tirell’s face turned as red as the apples growing in the thick forest outside of Havenbrook. “Now you mock me?”

“Nobody is mocking you, Tirell. I am just surprised.”

The Day Gravity and a 17 Year Old J.G. Did Not Get Along

Rocky Mountains

The title may lead one to believe I am clumsy.  Let me assure you that is not the case.

On a late-August Sunday afternoon, way back in the year 1995, I was a senior in high school and was working full-time at—of all places—McDonald’s.  Two of my closest friends and I happened to work the opening shift, which meant we started at the bright and early time of 5:00 AM, but were fortunate enough to be off at 1.  With our stomachs stuffed full of free food, and with the whole day still in front of us, we all decided to go for a ride.  With no destination in mind, we headed west and followed the winding roads leading into the Rocky Mountains.

After an hour, or so, of driving, we pulled over next to a river and decided to do some light climbing.  We made our way up a very steep hill—I will get back to this later— and spotted a large outcropping of rocks.  We started the forty-foot ascent with no ropes or safety equipment on the loose granite stone, and finally made our way to the top.  In all honesty, we should have probably all fallen, or at least injured ourselves on the way up, but filled with youthful exuberance, adrenaline, and the misguided belief that we were unstoppable, we made it unscathed where we smoked cigarettes and BS’ed the afternoon away.

When we finally decided it was time to head back, one of my friends looked at the way we came up and said “there is no way we can get back down, I am going to look for another way.”  I, in my infinite wisdom—and cite my statement from above pertaining to feelings of invincibility—decided to go and look for myself.  This is where things went downhill—quite literally—for me.  I don’t remember anything, my mind having blocked it out.  I may have attempted to climb back down, or I may have slipped on the loose granite ledge at the top, but until my mind decides to unblock the memories, we will really have no idea.  My friends, who safely made it back down, rounded the corner and reached the spot where we previously climbed, wondering where I was.  They found me a couple hundred yards down the steep, tree-filled hill, laying next to a large boulder.  Thinking that I was kidding and was playing a joke on them, they yelled at me to “get up and stop playing around” but after I didn’t move, they realized something was seriously wrong.

They made their to me and realized something wasn’t right.  Both of my arms were broken, my chest had caved in, and my neck didn’t look normal.  One of my friends ran down—as I mentioned before—the very steep hill in search of assistance, while the other stayed with me.  He was an Eagle Scout and started splinting my arms using whatever he had at his disposal, including several shirts and branches.  At some point I came to, and I guess I tried to get up and I told my friend I was fine.  He told me I wasn’t and basically had to hold me on the ground so I wouldn’t injure myself any further.

Meanwhile, my other friend made it back down to the road where he frantically sought assistance.  Remember, it was 1995 and cell phones were in short supply.  Those that did have phones, found the service to be spotty at best, especially in the rolling hills of the Rocky Mountains.  After finding someone with a phone, but with no luck getting a signal, he found someone willing to drive him twenty minutes to the nearest town where he could call for help.  He had to run back up the hill, tell my other friend what he was doing, ran back down the hill, and headed for the bustling metropolis of Deckers, CO.  When I use the terms “bustling” and “metropolis”, I am being facetious.  It is quite literally a general store at the junction of two, two-lane highways in the middle of nowhere. Who knew if they even had a phone that worked, not to mention, how he was going to explain to the emergency personnel where they could find us.

Long story short, he made it and called 911, before driving back to the two of us, after once again climbing the hill (I joke because he liked to tell how many times he had to run up and down the hill).  They had to continue holding me down on the ground so I wouldn’t injure myself, all the while my complexion was turning blue and they were petrified I wasn’t going to make it.

After another hour or so (I believe, again I don’t exactly remember myself) a helicopter arrived.  The emergency personnel tied me to a board and carried me down before loading me in the helicopter, where we set out on the 45 minute flight to Swedish Medical Center.  This is my first memory.  At some point during the flight, I remember having difficulty breathing and told the EMTs that I needed my inhaler.  Of course, this was nothing more than an asthma attack—no it couldn’t be the fact half my chest was caved in.  I had always wanted to ride in a helicopter, and here I was, yet I don’t remember a thing.  My memories are blacked out again until I am being removed from the helicopter on the roof of the hospital to a frantic group of doctors and nurses, all who were asking me questions and trying to gather more information.

My friends dead-headed to the hospital, but it was a drive of over an hour.  They also stopped on their way and called their parents, as well as my own.  Not really explaining what happened, they instructed my parents to go to the hospital.  At the time I arrived via flight for life, my parents arrived at the hospital to see the helicopter landing, and my mother had a sinking feeling I was the one being delivered.

My next memory is of my parents, followed shortly thereafter by my girlfriend of the time—who is now my wife—and her mother.  I told them all I was going to be okay, but I of course couldn’t see myself, and I think they were all a little more frightened than I was.  My last memory, which was it for a period of several days—I was heavily medicated and sedated from this point on—was of being dehydrated.  I was so thirsty I quickly drank down the required amount of barium sulfate necessary for a CT-Scan, which anyone who has ever had the pleasure of imbibing this concoction will know, it is anything but pleasant, and no one in their right mind would chug it.  Well I did.

Anyway, I spent eight days in the hospital.  I broke both arms, punctured my liver, broke three ribs, one of which punctured and collapsed a lung, and crushed four vertebrae in my neck.  The vertebrae in question were C2, C3, C5 and C7.  Several of the fragments were close to slicing an artery in my neck.  I was put into a halo, which immobilized my neck.  I had to wear it for twelve weeks.  It was one hell of a way to start my senior year of high school.

All in all, I know how fortunate I am to be walking, yet alone alive.  Christopher Reeves’ injury was not too much before my own, and I know I could have faced a very similar fate.  I owe my life and am forever indebted to my two friends who were with me that day.  They are both still very close to me, and I only hope I am able to repay them for all they did for me, one day before our time comes to an end.

I have added two photos.  The first (where I am laying down) is about halfway through my healing process the second , is from the day I finally had the halo removed.  I know my hair was horrible, don’t know what I was thinking.

Halo 1Halo 2

Book 2 is in the hands of several beta readers.  Get a copy of Book 1: The Unknown Man, before book two comes out.