Thursday, June 1, 2017

Book Review: The Freedom Broker


I was asked to read The Freedom Broker and do a review because the protagonist of the story has Type 1 diabetes. I was a little hesitant at first because action adventure is not my favorite genre to read. However, K.J. Howe did a great job of drawing you in within the first few chapters. I will forewarn you that there will be a few minor spoilers in this post, but don't worry, they won't give too much away.

The Freedom Broker begins slowly giving you as many details as it can about our protagonist (Thea Paris) and our other main characters.  We enter the story with Thea on a rescue mission and a quick glance at the fact that she is diabetic. She uses a Dexcom (a continuous glucose monitor) to make sure her blood sugars won't be affecting her mission. She checks her numbers privately letting the readers know that she keeps her condition under wraps for fear of people looking at it as a weakness, which as a diabetic I am sure we can all relate to at one point or another.

As the story continues Howe begins to introduce more of our main characters including her brother Nikos our antagonist, Rif a family friend, her father Christos, and a few others. You immediately are drawn in as you learn that Thea's father (Christos Paris) has been kidnapped with little to no clues about who is behind it and why. As she begins to investigate who the kidnappers might be the plot begins to thicken. We learn her brother was kidnapped 20 years earlier leaving his relationship with his father strained and that this kidnapping thwarted his own plans of kidnapping and killing his father. There is a large oil deal happening in Kanzi where the opposing company doesn't seem to be playing by the rules. Her father's right hand man Peter Kennedy is hiding something, but we don't learn what that is until later in the story. And last but not least, an US Federal Agent (Gabrielle Farrah) brings in the help of the Greece Police Chief (Maximus Heros) who has a tragic past. It is a little confusing as you are learning who each of the characters are and how they are intertwined with the story, but as the story begins to climax you learn how everyone is somehow connected to each other and who is responsible for Christos Paris kidnapping.

While Thea is on her search for her father she gets into an alley fight, a plane crash, an explosion, and finally a rebel takeover. She manages all of these things while keeping her blood sugars in line. That might be the only part of the story I had a hard time with. Thea's blood sugars are immaculate throughout the story with a low here and there. As a diabetic I know that it's rare to have a perfect day especially if I am in a stressful situation. Thea constantly uses her Dexcom to check her numbers, but never has to calibrate it with an actual finger stick and never worries about it making too much noise. As I was reading I realized I wasn't sure if she used syringes, an insulin pen, or an insulin pump. It finally is revealed deep in the story that she used syringes which again was amazing for Thea to have as tight of control as she did with her blood sugars. Thea as a diabetic didn't quite make sense with the story it felt more like a sidebar, you never really felt like it was the thing that made her, well her. She had so many great things as a character, that seemed to come from more of her life experiences, begin raised in a wealthy household, losing her mother at a young age, being in the room with her brother as he was being kidnapped and not being able to stop it. Nothing screamed I am who I am because I have Type 1 diabetes. Which honestly could be something a reader with Type 1 may appreciate, but for me Type 1 was such a big deal in my life that I believe I am who I am today because of it.

I honestly loved the book and recommended it to my hubs the minute I finished the last page. It felt like I was watching Mission Impossible or the Bourne Identity. The twists and turns and trail of bodies kept you on your toes and made it harder for you to figure out who the actual kidnapper was going to be. The Freedom Broker is for anyone, even someone like me who prefers science fiction.

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