Thursday, June 2, 2016

Jacked - by Kirk Dougal - A bold blend of sci-fi and fantasy

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Jacked is an instantly engaging story, which takes place a decade or so after The Crash; set in a post-apocalyptic society struggling to rebuild itself in the ruins of California.

Before The Crash people had become more connected than ever. "More and more of the machines were talking to the air and finally some people decided they wanted to talk to the air, too. And not through any machines.  So they hooked themselves straight into it. Jacked is what they called it."

Not everybody accepted this way of life.  After The Crash, a leader who opposed technology came to power.  With the support of a group of loyal supporters, known as the Black Shirts it became, follow their ways...or suffer the consequences.

Tar, lives with a man he calls his uncle, and he is a fixer.  He has the uncanny ability to bring many tech items, called apps, back to functionality.  Tar sets out on a quest to find others of his kind while the Black Shirts, under the leadership of Father Eli, do their worst to try and stop him and his friends.

YA novels are not everyone's cup of tea, but Jacked is a solid story with a number of very "Chilly" twists.  The author has come up with several new slang terms for this futuristic tale. Words like "Chilly," the equivalent of cool, and others.  By the way, I'm adding "Chilly" to my personal lexicon immediately.

According to the author, "The inspiration came from the advancement of several technologies in the last few years. Near field communication plays a part in the book and, with four teenagers at home, I have seen the almost religious "constant connectivity" dynamic play out on a daily basis. Also, wearable technology is making big leaps forward and I believe it will not be long before embedded technology becomes much more common. Jacked takes all of those real world advancements and mixes them up in a 'what if' bowl."

A quick kudos to artist Shawn King for his outstanding work on the eye-catching cover for Jacked.

Jacked will be available soon from Ragnarok publications in both paperback and e-book formats.


Kirk Dougal has had fiction works appear in a number of anthologies and saw his debut novel, Dreams of Ivory and Gold, published in May of 2014.  His YA dystopian novel, Jacked, leads the launch of Ragnarok Publications' Per Aspera SF imprint.  He's also completed a SF/Lit RPG novel, Reset, and is working on a sequel to Dreams of Ivory and Gold.  Kirk makes his home in Ohio with his wife and four children.

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