The Journeyman : The Commons #1 - Michael Alan Peck (YA)

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Book – The Journeyman (The Commons #1)

Author – Michael Alan Peck

Star rating – ★★★★☆

Plot – an exciting mix of contemporary and fantasy, with a little sci-fi thrown in.

Characters – unique, well developed and relate-able

Movie Potential – ★★★★★

Ease of reading – very easy to read and follow

Cover – Love

Suitable Title – YES

Would I read it again – YES


This book was pretty magical, to be honest. Not in story terms. The plot was a lovely mixture of contemporary (for the first few chapters) and fantasy (the rest of the book). There was even hints of steampunk/sci-fi thrown in at one point. But don't for once think that it means this book is confused about itself. Nope, this one knows exactly where it belongs and is perfectly at home there.

To me, The Commons is a little like Narnia. It's a middle ground, where a journey tests the strength, resolve and character of the individual, to decide whether the 'incident' that sent them there will send them back or not. Narnia has always been a journey towards God and a life or death decision, as to who returned and who didn't. I see The Commons in the same light – not towards God, as much, but towards Good or Evil. If they are kept in the Commons, then they died in the 'incident', which is the bug crash in this story. If they get to leave, then they've survived.

Let's start with the blurb:

""Paul Reid died in the snow at seventeen. The day of his death, he told a lie—and for the rest of his life, he wondered if that was what killed him." 
And so begins the battle for the afterlife, known as The Commons. It's been taken over by a corporate raider who uses the energy of its souls to maintain his brutal control. The result is an imaginary landscape of a broken America—stuck in time and overrun by the heroes, monsters, dreams, and nightmares of the imprisoned dead. 
Three people board a bus to nowhere: a New York street kid, an Iraq War veteran, and her five-year-old special-needs son. After a horrific accident, they are the last, best hope for The Commons to free itself. Along for the ride are a shotgun-toting goth girl, a six-foot-six mummy, a mute Shaolin monk with anger-management issues, and the only guide left to lead them. 
Three Journeys: separate but joined. One mission: to save forever. 
But first they have to save themselves. "

Let me just say that Michael Alan Peck is a genius and I will be reading anything else he's written or writes in the future. The writing style was just up my street, with enough hints and POV's to let me know what was going on, without giving everything away.

The story focuses on 4 main characters. There are a lot more than this, involved with the journey and having an impact, but these are the main 4:

Paul – the Journeyman of the title Annie – an ex-army single mother of one Zach – Annie's autistic son Truitt – the evil bad guy 'Mr Brill's right hand man

The story is told through their POV's, though you will occasionally get a glimpse from Porter, the Envoy leading Paul through his journey.

The Beginning

"Paul Reid died in the snow at seventeen. The day of his death, he told a lie—and for the rest of his life, he wondered if that was what killed him."

This is a brilliant quote and it's a really great hook to get you into the story. It did just that, for me.

Let's run down who is who, from the blurb –

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