REVIEWS For Jason Willow

 

  

ABNA Publishers Weekly Reviewer

This fast-paced, action-packed fantasy adventure features Jason Willow, a 15-year-old fugitive living under an assumed name. Jason, along with his father and sister Miranda, is running from agents of a secret society called the Brethren. After the Brethren murder his mother and attack Jason and Miranda at his grandfather’s Scottish castle, his father relocates the family to the hidden English town of Darkston Village, protected by the rich and powerful Alan Brash, an old associate of Jason’s father. His father reluctantly explains to Jason that he has inherited superhuman powers known as "the Gift", powers that are just beginning to manifest themselves. Despite warnings from his father, Jason begins training to develop his Gift under Alan Brash. Almost too late, Jason discovers that while Brash’s intentions may be good, his methods are far from scrupulous. Jason and everyone he cares about may be in grave danger. Despite some weak dialogue, frequent use of British slang, and occasional groan-inducing stupidity on the part of the protagonist, the exciting plot keeps the pages turning. The description of Jason’s Gift is particularly original and the fight scenes are intense. This is a solid YA novel that wraps the story up neatly while still setting the reader up for a sequel.

  

  

  

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

2nd Round Feedback

 

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The strongest aspect of this excerpt is easily the relationships the author has carved out for the small family. Two pages into the excerpt Jason's mother dies, and I almost choked up-to me that's a sign of good writing. The author drew me in immediately, and because of that I felt for Jason and his sister Miranda. His father seemed cold, but the author threw in small details to let us know that his heart was breaking as well. Carving out believable relationships between siblings, especially brothers and sisters, isn't something I see down well in young adult fiction, but I think this author hit the nail on the head, and showed us quickly and within the realm of the story how close Jason and his sister are, while still being realistic.

 

In 20 Words

I almost choked up... drew me in immediately... Carving out believable relationships between siblings ... I enjoyed this immensely!

 

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I enjoyed this immensely! I have boys and this is a book I can see my 12 year old enjoying. The mystery, the loss of their mother, all powerful tools that the author uses well. I can completely see this capturing the imaginations of young teen boys and older tweens - a market I really like to see expanded on. I enjoyed the relationship the two teens have, and most importantly I bought it. It didn't seem fake or artificial. And then there is the mystery of the kids' father-what is his past all about? Is he a good guy or a bad guy-I think that is the real burning question?

 

ABNA Expert Reviewer 2

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

Jumps right into the action.

   

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

Solid work, good word flow and good start to the story.

 

 

By 
The Kindle Book Review (Indianapolis, IN) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
 (Kindle Edition)

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A fun, wild ride!, 29 Mar 2013 

 

The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair, and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.


Jason Willow reminds me of a lot of things I love-certain types of books, certain types of movies, and even certain types of video games. We start out with Jason and Miranda Willow, teen brother and sister, who seem by all appearances to be normal teenagers. Normal, that is, if you don't count the fact that they have been on the run with their parents their entire lives, and that their mother goes down in a hail of gunfire in the opening scene.


That loss forces their father, Richard Willow, to make a decision. Obviously, his protection alone is no longer enough to keep his family safe, and he begins the transition of coming more into the open and trying to find out who can be trusted. They go to the castle home of his austere father, from whom he is estranged for reasons yet to be revealed. While there, Miranda and Jason wander off alone and find themselves under attack by an unknown man. Jason and Miranda have been trained all their lives in the martial art of Jakra, and quite passably hold their own until Grandfather, Father, and the Crazy Old Caretaker arrive to take out the intruder. Jason and Miranda can't help but notice that not only do they take him out, they take him out with supernatural style!
Up to this point, Richard has always refused to tell his children why they were running, but this incident eventually forces him, under duress, to begin revealing just what is going on. A large part of the story is dedicated to Richard's continuing efforts to keep the truth from his children, particularly Jason. Even when it's readily apparent that Jason literally must know the truth, Richard still resists telling him all of it. In the meantime, Richard has taken his children away from the family castle, to what he hopes is a place of safety.


Alan Brash has been helping Richard find safe places to stay for twenty years. Now Richard decides to depend on Brash for more and goes to Brash's compound to stay. Brash reveals to Jason that his father was a member of a demon hunting organization called The Watch. There is another ancient group called The Brethren who enjoy calling up demons and using them to possess powerful people all over the world. The Watch is made up of people called The Gifted. The Gift is passed from gifted father to son, from gifted mother to daughter, and so on. When the Gift has passed to the eighteenth generation, that person is known as a triple six and will be more powerful than any other gifted on earth. We do find out that we really don't trust Brash, but Richard had nowhere else to turn.


Turns out that Alan Brash and the Brethren as well have a lot of reasons for wanting Jason, and it isn't so that they can protect him. Before I accidentally reveal everything, I will just say that Jason is in for an interesting stay at Alan Brash's place.


I said before that I love certain types of books and movies, but I also want them to have something that sets them apart from the others. That thing for me here was Jason himself. Apart from having awesome super powers, Jason is a completely normal teenaged boy, subject to pride, insecurities, hormones and sometimes just flat out stupidity. He gets flabbergasted around girls and a pretty one will lead him around by the nose with no effort. There are too many YA stories out there now where the hero (or heroine) is just too good to be true. They're smart, mature, wise, always do the right thing and are good looking enough to grace the wall of any 12 year-old's room. I do have the impression that Jason is a good looking kid, but he's annoyingly cocky, impulsive and does the wrong things-frequently. But he is also well drawn and sweet, he's good-hearted, and we pull for him with all we have. I might have been his own dearly departed mother as I shouted at him in my mind to stop being such an idiot. The important thing is, that Jason finds himself by the end and proves himself to be brave, loyal and true (and now the Blue Fairy will appear and make him a Real Boy).


My favorite part of the book was the rip roaring, rollicking ending. Action? Man, yes! As I rapidly devoured this last section, I was forcibly reminded of Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark, where scores of wonderfully disposable Nazis just keep pouring out of nowhere to be mowed down by whatever Indie and company can throw at them. Jason and our other heroes come out badly scathed, and some of them do not come out at all-but mainly, they live to fight another day...and now, on to the sequel!
 

Jane McBride~Kindle Book Review

 

 

The School Librarian Magazine (School Library Association - UK)

“This exciting first novel is not for the faint hearted with menacing locations and action descriptions. It is a story of the struggle of a boy who has all the usual teen angst as well as having to deal with a family secret which catches up with him. Issues of bullying, violence, family loyalties, friendships and the battle between good and evil make this a fairly complex but exceedingly hard to put down novel…”

(The SL – School Librarian magazine, Summer 08)

 

In 20 Words

...not for the faint hearted with menacing locations and action descriptions. ...bullying, violence, family loyalties... exceedingly hard to put down…

 

 

  “…Your voices are well drawn and believable and yet there is an edge of mystery and magic that comes across very strongly. Your language and syntax are very good. I’m impressed.

Commissioned Editorial Report by: Melissa Weatherill (comments given amongst a number of highly constructive editorial recommendations)

(Melissa is an independent editor and reviewer for books and film, freelance editing fiction and non-fiction for publishing houses including Macmillan, Orion, Hodder and Grove Atlantic. Melissa also assesses books and screenplays for film companies such as BBC films.)

 

  

 …Your characterisation is excellent. There is someone for everyone to identify with: Miranda for the girls, Jason’s father for the adults and Jason for the boys. You have really breathed life into this family, giving them a history, a past, a present and a future.

…some fabulous scenes, set pieces and plenty of action…

…You manage to create a very atmospheric world in this book, with description, mood and tone. The setting is recognisable, yet otherworldly too.”

 

In 20 Words

Your characterisation is excellent... You have really breathed life into this family...

…fabulous scenes, set pieces and plenty of action.

 

 

The Times Educational Supplement (Web Site – reader review)

A gripping account of the age old battle between good and evil forces. However, here we have a twist with the supernatural testing ones perception of the boundaries between reality and imagination.

The fierce, often gruesome, battles suggest similarities with modern day computer games and should therefore appeal to readers who are well versed in these games. The ending is left open and a sequel is hoped for.

  

Some Amazon.co.uk Reviews

 

 

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

A great page turner, 3 Mar 2008

By

J. L. Bolger (Inverness, Scotland) - See all my reviews

A sometimes dark but always surprising novel which made me want to keep reading. The characters are well constructed and believable and the action element keeps you on the edge of your seat. Even my mother loved it! Although the plot twists and turns the end is sufficiently open to make me want to know when is novel number 2 to be published?

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Wow - but I NEED more!, 10 Feb 2008

By

C "Bella" (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews

I love a book that leaves me wandering "What the... How the..." about the author and how such scenarios and plots could ever have been thought up. This is one such book. The images created are so vivid you become part of the scenery and feel like you are only a few footsteps behind the action but can't quite reach out to stop the things you know are coming. There is nothing typical about this book, the badies get their fair share of success and the goodies also get their fair share of kicks in the face which leaves you shouting "noooooooo... you can't do that". I can't wait for the sequel, this is a teenagers book for adults, a must read by all over 12.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

My best book to date, 3 Feb 2008

By

H K Clarke (UK) - See all my reviews

JASON WILLOW by Gareth Mottram. I love to read a novel that keeps me wanting more. Jason Willow's quest to establish his true identity is one long roller coaster of action and suspense. Magnificent locations came alive with an ever-present sense of menace. The other characters, good and bad, were skilfully built upon as the story progressed (I'm still rooting for Violet), and I can't wait to hear more of their story. If you like books by Darren Shan, Anthony Horowitz, and the later, darker Harry Potter novels go and get Jason Willow now!

 

 

 

 

 

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

 

 

Loved it, 24 Jan 2008

   

By

Ms. T. Edwards (Wales, Uk) - See all my reviews

On a surface level its a thrilling read about the main character Jason finding that he has incredible power and having to face the choice of following his destiny and the destiny of others before him to fight demons. However, if you are looking for a violent story of monsters and demons this is not for you...I'm not saying there is no excitement and action on the contrary there is a lot of tense moments throughout the duration of the book leading up to the final climactic ending, however, bloody violence plays a minor role in this book making it an ideal book for young readers (i'd say its a book for 10+) and adults alike. Therefore, I'd give it a 10/10 and recomend it to anyone.

  

 

 

 

Some "You Write On" reviews from my early drafts...

 

Jason Willow by Gareth Mottram

Review By: baz61

Nicely written

Although very little happens after the death of the mother it's well written and some of the imagery is very good indeed. I did feel that the inevietable bullying could have been pared down and the story told in less words. Portions of the story are repeated but that may have been a fault when it was being printed off. there were a few typo's but on the whole a nice easy read. I would have liked to have had some idea of why they were changing their names and in hiding rather than it just saying agents were after them, agents from where?

Date of Review : 12 Mar 2008 | Review No. : 41995

 

Jason Willow by Gareth Mottram

Review By: smudge1971

Willow

A very promising start to the novel. The characters are engaging. The verbal tennis between Jason and Miranda is true to life and funny, as is a lot of the prose.
The dialogue clunks on odd occasions, the `James my best friends big brother` bit for instance. This is nitpicking however as the story crackles along and if you can keep the pace for 600 pages then you`ll have a winner on your hands.
A more established agent/critic/publisher will no doubt find more to rein in here, but you can be proud of a well written piece.
Good luck with it. All 4`s except 3 for dialogue.

 

 

Date of Review : 20 Mar 2008 | Review No. : 42819

Jason Willow by Gareth Mottram

Review By: pianoforte

buildup to Drunken Abbott

Hi there,
As I got deeper into your story, I enjoyed reading it; the way you build up to the move to Drunken Abbott is full of suspense. This and the fighting action on and around the fire escape were, for me, the strongest features, and I liked the way the story was paced.

Also, in the dialogue the father's words are chosen so that I can almost automatically hear his calm voice with the cynical undertone. The "'How uncommonly welcoming of you'" is brilliant.

 

 

 

Review By: esquire27

Jason Willow

This was a very unique story with interesting, well crafted characters, as teady pace throughout and plenty of tension provided by the hate-hate relationship between Miles and Willow. The plot is well thought out and the reader remains interested because life continues to get harder for your protagonist as it should in this type of fiction. I wish you luck with publishing as few agents/publishers are willing to take a chance on such a long novel from a relative unknown. However, one only needs to look at the success of J.K. Rowling and Chris Paolini to see that a well written story can transcend such prejudice. I wish you all the best with this story.

Date of Review : 14 Jun 2008 | Review No. : 51942

 

 

 

 

 

 Some Amazon.co.uk Reviews

 

 

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

A great page turner, 3 Mar 2008

By 

J. L. Bolger (Inverness, Scotland) - See all my reviews
  

A sometimes dark but always surprising novel which made me want to keep reading. The characters are well constructed and believable and the action element keeps you on the edge of your seat. Even my mother loved it! Although the plot twists and turns the end is sufficiently open to make me want to know when is novel number 2 to be published?

 Comment | Permalink | Was this review helpful to you? (Report this)

 

 

 

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Wow - but I NEED more!, 10 Feb 2008

By 

C "Bella" (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews

I love a book that leaves me wandering "What the... How the..." about the author and how such scenarios and plots could ever have been thought up. This is one such book. The images created are so vivid you become part of the scenery and feel like you are only a few footsteps behind the action but can't quite reach out to stop the things you know are coming. There is nothing typical about this book, the badies get their fair share of success and the goodies also get their fair share of kicks in the face which leaves you shouting "noooooooo... you can't do that". I can't wait for the sequel, this is a teenagers book for adults, a must read by all over 12.

 Comment | Permalink | Was this review helpful to you? (Report this)

 

 

 

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

My best book to date, 3 Feb 2008

By 

H K Clarke (UK) - See all my reviews

JASON WILLOW by Gareth Mottram. I love to read a novel that keeps me wanting more. Jason Willow's quest to establish his true identity is one long roller coaster of action and suspense. Magnificent locations came alive with an ever-present sense of menace. The other characters, good and bad, were skilfully built upon as the story progressed (I'm still rooting for Violet), and I can't wait to hear more of their story. If you like books by Darren Shan, Anthony Horowitz, and the later, darker Harry Potter novels go and get Jason Willow now!

 

 

 

 

 

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

 

 

Loved it, 24 Jan 2008

By 

Ms. T. Edwards (Wales, Uk) - See all my reviews
  

On a surface level its a thrilling read about the main character Jason finding that he has incredible power and having to face the choice of following his destiny and the destiny of others before him to fight demons. However, if you are looking for a violent story of monsters and demons this is not for you...I'm not saying there is no excitement and action on the contrary there is a lot of tense moments throughout the duration of the book leading up to the final climactic ending, however, bloody violence plays a minor role in this book making it an ideal book for young readers (i'd say its a book for 10+) and adults alike. Therefore, I'd give it a 10/10 and recomend it to anyone.

 

 

And finally, from my old secondary school English teacher...

 

Dear Gareth.


What a good read!!  After what I thought was rather a slow beginning,  with
teen-aged boys in mind, I became hooked. The pace you generate and the  sense of accelerating climax are excellent especially in the fight scenes. I  always had you down as a man of peace!!! I obviously need to revise my view!!  Your handling of your complex plot, the scale of the story and the range of  characters are admirable. I wish you every success with this and look  forward to the sequel.


Sincerely, Ron