Sunday, May 31, 2015

Book Review of THE TOTOBOAN TRILOGY, by Maggie Allen


Written by Maggie Allen

When Virginia Wilson was about to graduate from high school she was bored with her indulgent American lifestyle. She was ready to go out and conquer the world, make a name for herself and live anything but an ordinary life. Africa beckoned to her sense of adventure and purpose for more than one reason. She had
fallen in love with Nick, the trip leader of a teen community service program in Costa Rica her parents let her go on the summer before. In love as an awkward, plain-jane, naive, hormonal high school girl can be. And now Nick lived and worked in Totoba, Africa. She must see him again! After some persistent, persuading her parents finally gave in and booked a family tour to Africa.

They arrive in Totoba, Africa, where Totoboan tour guides meet and greet them, and get them settled into a comfortable base camp. Nick would meet up with the tour group the next day to take them to his house, where they would spend the following night. And they nearly made it there, but for the Dark Force, out to punish those who breaks the Sacred Rules of the Totoboan Religion. Unbeknownst to the American tourists, Nick Oskar had broken the sixth Sacred Rule - “If an outsider, do not read from the Sacred Book.”  So, because of Nick, they were consumed by black goo, The Black Force, who deposited them in an inescapable pavilion. Literally a living hell.

Once the group realizes they are being held captive they all start going a little crazy. Some more than others. Fear unleashes the ugliest of human traits and weaknesses, and order starts to fall. Nick, their fearless leader, was losing control, then completely fell apart. Yet, Virginia courageously defended Nick. She held steadfast to her moral compass, ultimately gaining freedom for all except Nick and Jennifer. Nick lost his soul to the Black Force because he broke one of the six Sacred Rules. Jennifer lost her soul to the Black Force because she had sex with it, then divulged one of its secrets to the group in order to save them.

Virginia and the other freed tourists returned to their normal lives, or so they think. Even though the memories of the nightmarish experience they lived through are erased once they are transported back to the real world, some of the rules of the pavilion follow them home. Depending on how they acted while they were at the pavilion. Virginia returned to college, her friends and pursuing her goals in life, but, she had nightmares, and strange deja vus moments that perplexed her. [End of The Return]

A few years later Virginia Wilson is drawn back to Totoba, Africa. She doesn’t clearly realize why. As an International Politics major at Georgetown University, in Washington D.C. now, she chooses Totoba as the location in which to do her college internship for her chosen career; to write her graduate thesis about how tourism is a detriment to the Totoboan culture. And, again, motivated by hoping to see Nick, her first love.

Upon returning to Totoba, she encounters some of the same tour guides she had met the last time she was there. They are surprised that she has returned. She needed answers to the nightmarish dreams she’d been having about Nick. A Totoboan guide lead her back to the Neighborhood; Nick’s house in the African swamp; The Black Force’s dystopian underworld; to answers she wasn’t ready for.  Torn between heaven and hell, desperate to revive the love of her life to the living, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her young life. Once again, she narrowly escapes The Black Force. [End of The Revival]

Virginia decides she has to set things straight before she leaves Africa this time. She must save Nick and Totoba from The Black Force. New characters are introduced along the harrowing way that recharge the already established characters,and story. My favorite is Adila, a young African native girl, raised by noble Totoboan parents, fighting on the side of the good force, the Blue Force, or Assa. Her character’s point of view gave depth to the story, an insightful inside view, a Totoboan perspective, including their motives, what they are willing to sacrifice to save their country, how they love their native land, and love their family life built in that land, ingrained in its culture. Something we couldn’t glean from Virginia’s perspective. She, Adila, is the saving factor for Virginia and her friends, even though saving them wasn’t her concern or purpose.

Virginia stuck by Nick to the end, without wavering. She detested him, and yet was attached to him. To quote Virginia’s thought, “We are attached. Attached because it’s what I wanted.” (Page 36) She even submits to living by his side as an immortal, risking the possibility of ever being able to return to her mortal life, leaving her parents to live as though she was dead. Forsaking all her earthly goals and dreams. Teetering between the mortal and immortal worlds, she struggles to help Nick be redeemed, and released from the Black Force, and return to his family. This time Virginia will never forget what she had gone through. She must remember. She must go on with her life. [End of The Retribution]

This science fiction thriller has suspense, romance, adventure, mystery, and the element of surprise  on every page, in every book of  THE TOTOBOAN TRILOGY,  written by Maggie Allen.  You're gonna want to check these books out! My five-star ratings are for originality, sustained tension, and especially for the masterful use of dialog.  Absolutely Loved the dialog.!

I would love to hear what you think. Have you read THE TOTOBOAN TRILOGY? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about Maggie Allen's work. 

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