Sam Felix: Ayden’s Choice

aydens-choice-cover

I received a free physical copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

On the back seat a teenager sat nervously fumbling for his phone in the footwell. His fingertips brushed hard plastic and he strained to inch it closer, fixing his eyes on the driver as she did so that the could plead, “Turn back, please turn back… Sir… Please take me back.”

A terrible crime has been committed that only Ayden can solve with his cyber talents, two innocents without hope are in prison, and the people who should be helping them are blinded by racial prejudice. Will Ayden’s unknown saviours manage to fight the wall of blue with their digital powers? Can they prove the truth and give Ayden a new life to unfold his potential?

Ayden’s Choice is a short story by new novelist Sam Felix. It is part of a wider story that has yet to be published where a series of people help those with talents realise their potential – in particular, those who are good with computers, coding, programming etc. In Ayden’s Choice, Ayden has completed a set of tasks set for him by someone online. When he completes these tasks he is given a choice: to go with them and realise his potential and rid himself of the terrible life has lived, or carry on living with a father who is abusive and racist? This short story shows the struggle that Ayden goes through in trying to make the right decision and how his choices effect those he holds most dear to him.

The first I had heard about this novel was back in November when I was sent an e-mail asking if I would be interested in this new young adult, science fiction novel. I immediately jumped at the chance to read a book by someone unknown and to understand how this novel was different to anything that I had read before. Come December (when I have now officially read this book), and I can understand why this novel is different, fresh, and altogether new. It is a book that I believe shines a spotlight on key themes that are prevalent in everyday life and aren’t highlighted much within young adult fiction.

As I mentioned, Ayden’s Choice is a young adult, science fiction novel. When I say science fiction, I don’t mean spaceships, aliens, brave new worlds, and travelling the length and breadth of space. Sam Felix focuses entirely on modern day science, computers and programming and the powers that people with these skills hold over others. He really brings to the fore the absolute control that can be garnered by people who are capable of these tasks and how it can drastically alter the course of someone’s life. Though it doesn’t really go too in-depth into the technical side of the science, it gives you a good idea of what is taking place and how they accomplish it whilst also showing that there are people of all races, ages, and genders capable of this.

What Felix really highlights, and I believe is the most important, is racism and abuse. Ayden lives with his parents and his little sister; his Dad was brought up religious by a mother who guilt-tripped her son into believing that everything that he did wrong greatly effected her. She was the apple of his eye and no-one else ever could be. Ayden now bears the brunt of this upbringing living with a Dad who beats, burns, insults and – though not mentioned outright – a lot worse. Ayden’s mother is also a victim of his father’s wrath however, compared to Ayden who is able to make a difference, she has been whittled down by his threats and cannot find any means of escape. Vivi, Ayden’s half-sister, is the only one that gets away from it. Not only is Ayden’s father abusive, but he is racist. Ayden and his mother are black and Ayden’s father was brought up to believe that he should not interact with black people in anyway shape or form. However, one day he fell in love with Ayden’s mother who was kind and loving and showed him a new way of living from the strict utilitarian upbringing of his children. Upon his mother’s death bed however, he was guilt-tripped into believing that her imminent death was due to his relations with Ayden’s mother. That is another reason behind the abuse and Felix attempts to highlight how these actions can be hidden even though they are in plain sight with many side-characters not knowing what really goes on within Ayden’s home.

In Ayden’s Choice, Felix shows how the power of science and computers and those with the knowledge are able to bring down those who prey on the weak and vulnerable in order to set things to right. He shows the power that they hold and the influence that they wield by showcasing the variety of people that are involved in getting Ayden to a safer and better life. It is a novel that I believe a lot of people should read, particularly those of the younger generation who do not fully understand the issues surrounding racism and abuse. It brings a simple yet effective narrative that is easy to understand with a quick, fast-paced narrative, young yet intelligent characters and a gripping storyline. I commend Felix for highlighting such important topics that you don’t see a lot in young adult novels and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

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