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    Classic Sci-Fi at its Best!

    I received a free copy of this book and opted to post a review. A wonderful first novel in a futuristic science fiction trilogy that de-stigmatizes depression and other mental disorders! The first couple of chapters or so seem completely chaotic. Like the protagonists, you are literally thrust into a futuristic setting with no clue of what is happening. I have to admit, I was a bit worried that the premise would end up becoming Schlossberg's interpretation of the book, "Lord of the Flies;" however, these fears were assuaged as the group of teens seemed to recognize Ash's innate leadership abilities. The plot felt like a "Star Trek: Next Generation" episode, which is a compliment as I enjoyed the show's social commentary, character development, its disregard for conventional thinking, and its overall disdainful attitude towards discriminatory assumptions. I liked how Schlossberg portrayed the characters because they each had realistic strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities but they worked as a team and grew as individuals. I particularly appreciated how Ash was portrayed. Ash had innate leadership skills and ended up being the captain of the crew; he had personality flaws, he made mistakes, he owned those mistakes, and he suffered from depression and panic attacks. As someone who is dealing with PTSD, I thought Schlossberg's descriptions of panic attacks and depression were thoughtful, accurate, and sensitive. The premise also caught my attention as it was equal parts cautionary and hopeful. There was some discussion of climate change, pollution, companies merging to become mega-corporations that achieve world domination, discrimination, and the potential hazards of acquiring resources from other planets. However, there is a glimmer of hope; someone has sent a group of young adults forward (or back) in time to save Earth from its inevitable destruction, young adults who have different perspectives and different histories working together to achieve one goal. Folks, this is classic science fiction at its best! The author's ability to combine these elements with accurate character portrayal and a realistic-for-science-fiction setting makes it stand out from the crowd. If Schlossberg and the "Spades Trilogy" isn't on your list of books and authors to watch, they should be.
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