Sunday, February 14, 2010

Purged By Darkness - Michael Estepa

Summary: In the gang lifestyle, honour and loyalty is what is expected of you. Fear, death and betrayal is what often follows. In this world, no one wins and all those involved, often find themselves in too deep to ever get out. The story revolves around six friends, as it follows their journey inside the organised crime syndicate, known as the Triads. With their love for each other and their loyalties not far behind, it is this same quality that will push their friendship beyond all limits. For this group of friends, it is all they have. Love is what keeps them together, but will it be enough to survive in a world where bullets speak louder than words and death awaits them at every turn? (Image and summary from amazon.com)

My Review: The basis of this story is fairly simple--tell the truth about life in a gang, not the glorified, Hollywood-ized version. It is not all cool and sexy like "Training Day" or the like. So, when I received this book for review I was anxious to see what it had to offer.

The story focuses on a group of six friends. However, as the back of the book summary states "friendship is not always enough". Throughout you discover how it all works, the hierarchy and the pawns, the games and the truths. It is at once captivating and horrifying, to see what these people subject themselves to and seem to believe is ok and normal. It is kind of like the old train wreck syndrome.

As the story progresses you get to know each character, and also get to see into their motivations, at least to a degree. But, what I found trying was that I could not really connect and begin to care about the characters the way I would have liked to. I cannot say if it was the writing or the just the characters themselves.

That being said, this book was an ok read. I still enjoyed it and found it fairly enlightening. I just wish that I could say I was more moved by it, but it did not provide that depth for me. If you are looking for that "a day in the life" view, then I would definitely recommend this novel. But, for me personally, it did not provide key elements that I enjoy in my reading.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Sum it up: A saddening novel about the power of friendship.

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