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Jupiter Winds Review by Melanie Reynolds

C.J. Darlington
Mountainview Books, LLC
P.O. Box 129, Hopeland, PA 17533
Reviewed in2015

Imagine that, under those swirling and startlingly beautiful red gases, Jupiter was a planet that was habitable. What if a powerful, yet corrupt government had found a way to get to the planet and take possession of it . . . and no one could stop it?

Jupiter Winds introduces us to a remarkable new world. In 2160, the United States of America no longer exists. Instead, the world is ruled by a strong dictatorship: the Middle Eastern empire of Mazdaar. Close on its heels is the Yien Dynasty, which is arguably more humane but, on the surface, seems less powerful than Mazdaar. Technology has progressed to the point that most people have devices, or Dots, surgically implanted in their bodies. These enable users to conduct financial transactions with the wave of a hand. Mazdaar’s citizens also implant Dots in their heads which facilitate meetings and communication by simply connecting one person to another with a thought. Of course, these implants don’t just cause greetings, purchases, and conversations to be simpler, they enable the ruling government to track each wearer by his or her movements and transactions. Freedom is, in many ways, a thing of the past.

Some choose to live outside the connected world. There are people who haven’t bought into Mazdaar’s ruling power or practices, people who prefer to live truly under the radar, and those who long for a different way of life. They have found ways to survive on the edge of civilization, hidden in the North American Wildlife Preserve and elsewhere. They quietly seek to survive by bartering, by selling recovered artifacts on the black market, and by staying technologically unconnected. Of course, these unconnected people are considered outlaws by Mazdaar, and drones that look almost like human beings constantly patrol outlying areas to find them.

Grey and Rin Alexander are two of those who prefer to stay unconnected. Alone for five years since their parents’ disappearance and assumed deaths, the girls live in a converted abandoned missile silo, which their parents had fashioned into a home and a workshop. They have managed to remain alive by hunting for and uncovering banned artifacts, like printed books or cigarettes, and by transporting them and selling them to wealthy black market dealer Jet. He pays them in contraband silver, which they use for purchasing food and necessities from other unconnected people. Elderly neighbor Mrs. March serves as a loving supporter and confidante, but for the most part, Grey has cared for Rin, fought for their survival, and kept the two of them alive and hidden from drones and patrols. She remembers the Bible verses her mother used to share with her. They seem to pop into her mind at the most inopportune moment, but she has a hard time reconciling God with the life she and her sister are forced to live . . . at the beginning of the story.

Their lives have, indeed, been challenging, yet the two have been successful. However, everything is about to change, and quite drastically at that. Grey shoots a drone to protect Rin, only to discover that the drone is actually a human. Mazdaar captures Grey, and the sisters are separated. But more is at stake than the girls realize; it’s not just their freedom that’s in danger. Ahead of the Alexanders are unexpected wonders, hidden identities in those they trusted the most, and reunions with loved ones they’d thought were lost forever. In addition, Grey and Rin discover an incredible world that both ruling powers have designs on. Will Mazdaar’s new world order be established on Jupiter . . . or is there hope for humanity?

Fans of dystopian novels, science fiction, and even young adult books will thoroughly enjoy Jupiter Winds. C.J. Darlington’s characters are fascinating, brave, and intrepid. What will a teenage girl do when she is left in the wilderness with a younger sister, no parents, and no means of financial support? What will she do when captured by Mazdaar and separated from Rin? How will she react when those she trusted turn out to be something entirely other than what she’d thought? And what happens when an empire’s corrupt plans are worse than anyone could have imagined?

In our family, we definitely enjoy science fiction, and I personally read the occasional dystopian novel, as well as some young adult fiction. Jupiter Winds beautifully combines these three categories into a stunning and imaginative read. Darlington’s book would be excellent for high school students and for mature middle school students who enjoy these genres. Or, it could be an exciting family read-aloud for those same age groups. The themes of family abandonment and some characters’ physical torment and suffering at the hands of Mazdaar officials could be upsetting for some younger teens. There is one particular scene close to the end of the book that would unsettle most readers. However, there are redemptive elements of Grey’s story that keep the themes from being too dark. I enjoyed every minute of Jupiter Winds and have already read it a second time! Darlington’s book will keep readers engrossed until the very last page . . . and hoping for a sequel.

Jupiter Winds is available in print format for $9.99 and in e-book format for $3.99.

-Product Review by Melanie Reynolds, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2015