Zeratopolis is an dramatic action packed sci-fi fantasy book written by Ray Vazques (also happens to be his debut work). The book is about a group of kids aged around the twelve to fourteen mark who jump aboard a ship and head out to sea. The trip ends up being a disaster as they end up washing up on a very creepy beach after being attacked. The attackers end up being powerful demonic creatures that won't show mercy. The four young boys manage to get away and wind up in an even more creepy town where they are attacked by even more of those demonic creatures. While they are trying to get a hold of themselves and trying to figure out where they are they captured by a sinister cyborg named Clifford (who is not a big red puppy dog). Clifford winds up making them his slaves and forces them to go out on a mission to defeat all those who opposes the great and mighty Clifford (I added the "great mighty" part for dramatic effect). The four young boys end up going out to achieve Clifford's missions although they are far from being happy about doing them (although replace "not happy" with "way beyond pissed off" and you've got a more accurate description). How will the four young boys take the stress of being a cyborg's bitch? Will they complete the missions or run off and do their own thing? Or is Clifford actually the good guy all along and is just really strict about his work? Only time will tell as we begin the epic adventure that is Zeratopolis. (Click "Read More" to read the full review).
The story in this book is decent but you can tell that it is written by somebody new to the scene as it is more rougher than the typical book you would see on shelves. I'm not saying it's bad by any means but this book is bound to have aged by the time the writer releases his later work that is sure to be more refined. The pacing of the story at the beginning is very rough and I had a harder time trying to match up images in my head to the sentences that are written. Another reason why the first few chapters are a bit rough is due to there being so much action going on that it makes it hard to follow the story due to being distracted by all the crazy things going on. These problems do go away as the story goes along as the writing becomes a bit tighter.
I really enjoyed the action in this book as it was exciting, suspenseful, and quite imaginative. It does get a bit graphic and gory but nothing too hardcore. The image I was channeling from the fight scenes were a mixture of anime like "Bleach (2004 - 2012)", "Dragonball Z(1989 - 1996)" fused with video games such as "Devil May Cry 3 (2005)" and "Doom 2 (1994)" due to the fast paced action plus the imagery of grotesque demonic creatures. Sadly I did find the final battle to suffer from some of the bad things from those anime and games that I have mentioned as it was a bit long winded preachy should've been a bit shorter. It also got a bit preachy to the point of "oh shut the fuck up and start fighting again".
Characters in this book are decent but far from being perfect. I really liked them during the fight scenes and while they were working together. The parts where the boys are separated and all on their own had some of the strongest moments from them as you will feel emotionally connected to them. What I didn't like about the characters was the scenes where they all argue with each other as their attitudes they had against each other got on my nerves and was a little frustrating to read as I just wanted to smack them in the head and tell them to get along. I did like how the writer handled the characters transitioning from immature kids to slightly less immature kids as the road to maturity isn't an instant one and it had a realistic pace. The villain characters are very insane and what I picture from them are very terrifying creatures and warlords, especially for the character "Clifford" as what I pictured him to look like is something that resembles the front cover of a classic album from Death called "Scream Bloody Gore (1987)".
I did find it hard to figure out on who I was suppose to root for towards the middle end of the book as both the good guys and bad guys were both extremely arrogant and preachy and I have a big dislike for strongly arrogant and preachy characters due to them annoying me from how whiney they are. There is a whole ton of cussing in this book and while I don't mind it as long as it feels natural but there is a lot of unneeded cussing in this book that makes the work feel a bit amateurish with how forced it feels.
My imagination went absolutely bonkers coming up with images for how the scenery would look like. The images I had were creepy industrial sites made of chrome and rust with thunderous skies dark as the night with blood filled gutters. For other area like wastelands I had visions (not of the future as I'm not a psychic... But I am psycho) of baron land with cloudless skies and a nice bright sun with crazy heat and very thick humid air. There are other area that I had crazy visions of but I don't want to spoil what they are as you know how I like to avoid spoilers in reviews.
Overall this was a very decent read but it's not perfect by any means and is worth reading at least once. I don't see myself reading this book over and over but I do see myself dusting this off every six months. Not bad for a debut..