Rob Wells is a friend of mine, who I know from the Utah writing scene and Writer Nerd Game Night.
I got to read an ARC of Variant so that I could provide a blurb. And here is my blurb:
“Variant grabs your attention early with a mysterious situation, gives you characters to root for, and then leaves you wondering which of them you can trust. Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on, Rob Wells surprises you with more twists. I read this book in one sitting because I had to know what would happen next.”
—Larry Correia, New York Times bestselling author of Monster Hunter International
Rob also got a blurb from Jonathan Mayberry and James Dashner, two excellent writers, and Kirkus Reviews liked Rob a lot more than they like me.
And my blurb is true. I’m always nervous when somebody I know asks me to read and blurb an early version of their book. A lot of times I’m just too busy, or worse, the book isn’t that good, but because it is from a friend, you really want to be nice. Luckily, that wasn’t the case with Variant. (nor thankfully is it with the Flux Engine, by Dan Willis, that I’m reading right now, and it is a lot of fun Western Steampunk).
That part about me reading it in one sitting. True. I started after work and enjoyed it, thinking to myself, okay, this is an interesting modern take on Lord of the Flies (only in an isolated boarding school, with no adults, but lots of cameras, automatic locks, rules, food dispensers to reward behavior, and so of course the kids form into gangs), but then at about ten o’clock at night, I get to this twist…. And it is a doozy. I didn’t see it coming, and then all of a sudden the book takes on a sci-fi thing that was totally awesome, and looking back, made perfect sense.
I wound up reading until about 3:00 in the morning because I had to know how it turned out. I believe that my incoherant e-mail to him was something like “Stupid Rob making me stay up late. Hate you. Book was awesome. You suck. Going to sleep now.”
I really liked Variant. This isn’t Rob’s first book, but his others were from small publishing houses for smaller regional markets. This one is his first national shot at the big time. So if you are looking for a good sci-fi/thriller I recommend it. Variant is being sold as Young Adult, but don’t let that turn you off, as it really doesn’t make any difference to the story that is told. Variant is just a solid story, and I’m really excited to see what he does with #2.