Willow’s Review of Conception by K.S. Fish


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Conception coverRating: paw4

Date Published: August 15, 2012

Series: Dominion Chronicles #1

Goodreads Description:

When twelve-year old Tyler Hudgens wakes up in the courtyard, he’s buried up to his neck with twenty other screaming, terrified kids. Welcome to Frazier’s compound, a place where Tyler and a chosen few will unlock powers in themselves that they could only dream about. Frazier has a plan to turn them into gods, and the only price is the death of 2.5 million people. When a schism occurs in their group, they’re all flung into a battle that will test their loyalties and ultimately decide the fate of the world.

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Excerpt from Conception: Book one of the Dominion Chronicles

As he’d suspected, the bank heist was the top story.
“An unidentified man was found unconscious inside the vault at the East Main branch of Olympic Bank. An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the vault, which suffered severe damage during the break-in. It is speculated that an accomplice or accomplices are currently at large.”
Huh. It had worked perfectly. Between Tyler and himself, they had gotten in the bank without a hitch. It took quite a push but they’d actually torn the damn vault door off its hinges.
That was the easy part. The whole time they were in there floating blocks of cash out the door and into the van, Heather was upping the lad’s euphoria level. It wasn’t an easy thing to do because the bastard was so sharp. If something was amiss he usually caught it. But just the act of breaking in to the bank was euphoric in itself, and Heather knew how to handle Tyler. She’d kept giving him little bumps, making him more and more careless. It was almost like he was drunk.
When all the blocks of money had been loaded into the van, Corey shot a piece of the vault door as hard as he could at the back of Tyler’s head. Even in his drunken euphoric state, he still caught the damn thing before it bashed him too hard. It had been Corey’s intention to take his head off, instead they’d just knocked him out and he’d gone into that friggin’ sub-conscious protective mode. Since they couldn’t kill him after that, they just laid him out inside the vault, on top of the empty pallets where all the money had been stacked. As a little joke, Corey folded Tyler’s hands over his chest, like King Tut in his tomb. The bastard strutted around like he was a king; let him lie here in his shame that same way.
Heather had been pissed about that too. What the fuck did she expect of him? And now the bastard was alive and sure to be a problem. That cowpoke county jail wouldn’t hold him long.
He inhaled a lungful of smoke and held it in, letting the nicotine soak his system and calm his nerves. At last he blew it out noisily and came to a decision.
Fuck it. If the little lad wanted a duel like two old world knights, so be it. This was the time of the transformation. They would be gods this year. It would be the clash of the titans, and the world would be their coliseum.


The first thing that I’m going to say about this is book is it NEEDS to come with a warning label! There is a reason why I ended up reviewing this and not Sara, though she was originally interested in it because of the synopsis, which is rather misleading. Instead of a story about a twelve-year-old boy who comes to discover that he’s been born with special gifts and the news reporter who takes on his story, this book is actually what happens to Tyler years after his experiences in Frazier’s compound and is decidedly violent. Now I’d like to think that I’m a very open-minded feline. I’ve read some stuff that has set my fur on end and even tested the limits of my tolerance level, but this book just hit me wrong on a great many levels. It’s heavy, intense, bloody, and a total mind trip, to put it mildly. And having said all of that, it was also one of the most intriguing stories that I’ve ever read. Yup, just when I thought I couldn’t take any more and was tempted to put it down and walk away, I found myself turning the page to read another chapter, and then another chapter, until I found that I was done with the book. Well done there, Fish, well done.

So, where to actually begin with this review?

I guess the first thing I’ve got to do is say, WARNING HERE THERE BE SPOILERS! Yeah, I’m going to try really hard not to spoil things, but given my reaction to this title, I can’t promise anything. So, consider yourselves warned.

When Sara first handed me this book to read, I’ll admit that I was skeptical because I honestly thought this was a YA title initially. With the way the synopsis is written, who could honestly blame me. Looking at Goodreads didn’t provide me any answers as to what sort of genre this was, and while one could argue that because the majority of the story focuses on Tyler when he’s twenty-two it could technically be considered a New Adult novel, given the level of violence and Fish’s writing style, I have to say this book is decidedly meant to be read by adults.

The characters were extremely well-developed, and I’ll admit that I had my favorites and I had those that I just wanted to shred with my claws. Corey in particular was one of them. It pained me greatly that he was still alive at the end of the book. He’s one character that I hope dies a slow, painful death in the second novel. ~hisses~ Yes, Fish definitely knows how to write complex, emotional, real characters. Even his secondary characters play important roles in this story, though you don’t initially realize it at first.

Likewise, the story development and plot were outstanding. Part thriller, part science fiction, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat with each chapter. If the mad scientist wishing to play God in order to create Gods doesn’t appeal to you, the battle to save humanity most likely will. Either that or you’ll get pulled into Whitey’s quest to get the scoop on the story of the century. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

So why did this book resonate badly with me? Why, despite having finished it, did I still come out of twitchy and on edge? What kept me from giving this book five paws? Oh where to being? At the risk of getting flack from fans who love the book, I’m going to have to be brutally honest. There were three things that I couldn’t stand in this book, and please realize that even though I finished the book, this in no way means that I didn’t struggle through parts of it. And this is where the spoilers are going to come into play, so be warned.

1. Brutal Violence (Human and Animal)

I can handle some violence in my reading, but this was a bit much for me and I often found myself cringing in some spots. From people being slashed to death, knees being blown out (though admittedly the character deserved it), emotional torture, near RAPE…I probably could handle most of it had Fish not gone into so much detail and made each moment so descriptively clear. And don’t get me start on the animals…please! Really, Fish, you had to go so far as to implode an owl?!! And that final fight with Sarah and her “children”…~shudders~ Call me misguided, but it is much easier for me to stomach violence being done to humans than violence being done to animals. But despite that, there was just too blood in this book for my taste.

2. Rape and Women as Objects

This touches some on what I mentioned above, but I’m expanding here because this is a big button issue for me. I don’t care how evil a character is, I DO NOT enjoy reading rape scenes, or attempted rape scenes in this particular case. The scene with Briggs and Jennifer…no. Just no. That scene was too emotionally charged for me as it was and I just about lost it when Briggs tasered Jennifer because I knew where things were headed. If Tyler hadn’t been there to intervene, I’d have stopped reading completely. Bad enough that Briggs is the type of person who gets off on violence, but to also have him be that disrespectful to a woman…I’m not a sheltered cat, but there are some realities of life that I don’t like to see in the books I read.

Likewise Corey’s thoughts towards Heather as a woman who needs a man to dominate her, and as someone who needed to be “controlled.” Okay, I know this is his character, but did it really need to be stressed that much that Corey was abusive to women? “[S]ome broads just functioned better as a victim…” Yeah, there’s a reason why I was thoroughly disgusted that Corey was still alive at the end of the book.

With all the violence already within these pages, to add these elements into the mix…well, I was gritting my teeth a lot to keep from hissing. And please, before anyone begins to berate me for my reaction to this stuff, keep in mind that everyone handles things differently. I’m fully aware that what bothered me about these scenes probably wouldn’t bother someone else. The fact that I finished the book despite having problems with it should be a testament to my keeping an open mind and giving the book a chance. And again, please note that I did find the book to be amazing in the end.

3. Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation Errors

The version of the book I was given to review was marked “Final,” so in my opinion I would expect it to be relatively free from glaring issues. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. And I probably would have been willing to overlook mentioning this if it wasn’t for the fact that in Fish’s Author Note he even mentions that he worked to correct the errors in the manuscript. Which made me wonder if the version I got really was the “final” version. I don’t often find myself highlighting errors while reading, but I did so with this because they kept pinging on my radar.

So, there you have it. I think for the first time since I started reviewing books I’ve managed to read something that’s not only intrigued my curiosity and needed to see where it was headed, but affected me on such a deep emotional and physical level that I was left floored at the end. I definitely am interested in reading the second book in this series. Would I recommend this book to others? YES! But I would caution them to be prepared for a roller coaster of a ride.

About the Author:

ks2K.S. Fish was born in San Diego, California. Though he was a single child growing up, he was lucky enough to have worlds upon worlds of brothers and sisters bumping around in his brain. His first short story was inscribed on his mother’s uterus.
However, for much of his youth, he strove to make every wrong possible choice for his life. Subsequently, it was many years until he was able to realize his gift and begin to hone his skill as a writer.
His first book, Conception, amazed readers with its character driven narrative and exciting storyline.
K.S. Fish resides in Georgia with many friends, his goldfish Barney, and a lifetime’s worth of stories to tell.

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Posted on March 3, 2014, in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Willow’s Review of Conception by K.S. Fish.

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