Neola: A Fight for Freedom by Steven Weaver has a subtitle that aptly describes what readers will find in the book: a futuristic, nail-biting thriller filled with adventure and intrigue, and it is a great read for fans of young adult literature. I hate reading such promises in titles, but this author does deliver on his. Set in the year 2055 after the economic crash of the early twentieth century that witnessed the collapse of the European Union and the merging of countries like the United States, UK, Germany, France, and Spain, forming the United Federation States (UFS), it follows strong and interesting characters in their fight for freedom.
Seventeen-year-old Brad has lived with his parents and two young brothers, Zach and Parker until the time the story opens. While people worry about the control by the federation, Brad and his family dread someone even deadlier. They have always lived in fear, haunted by a corporation that acted with more power than the burden that the federated government with its already tightening restrictions puts on them. With the summer break about to end, Brad is just having a good time when his family is threatened, and they have to run for their lives. But Brad couldn’t go with the words “Don’t leave me,” and “You can’t leave me” ringing in his ears. He has known that Neola has a special gift from the moment he met her, a gift coveted by some of the powerful people out there. He has to choose between running away with his family and staying to join forces with Neola against a common enemy. The choice he makes sends them out on a riveting adventure that turns this story into an absolute page-turner.
This is a story that will appeal to fans of science fiction, adventure, and dystopian. The setting is cleverly written, a time when electric cars are common, with great advancements in science and a focus on the military and medicine. The setting is imaginative and readers can easily visualize the relationship between the characters and the world they inhabit. Steven Weaver writes in prose that is fluid, using short chapters to build the pulse of the story and calculated paragraph breaks to reinforce the dramatic nature of the narrative. Neola: A Fight for Freedom features strong themes — the quest for freedom, survival, family, power, and science.
The characters are exceptionally written and I found them realistic, even if some have the power to read minds and influence the thoughts of others. It is a fun read, packed with surprises, and Brad and Neola are characters that anyone will want to follow. But hey, Brad’s father is a pilot and a genius that I loved, and I enjoyed how he interacts with those around him.