Monday, September 8, 2014

REVIEW: "There is No Fear" by Michael Bowler (Tribute Books Blog Tour)

The most famous boy in the world is a prisoner. He’s been charged with a crime he didn’t commit, a crime that could send him to prison for the rest of his life. Languishing within The Compound, the most secure juvenile facility in California, while the district attorney vows to make an example of him because of his celebrity status, Lance must endure the daily indignities of the incarcerated.

New Camelot is fractured without him. Ricky and Chris are bereft, living for the weekly phone call that becomes their only lifeline to the brother they so desperately love, while Arthur and Jenny feel the loss of their son with a sadness that can’t be quelled. And what about Michael, the highly volatile teen who helped write the proposition that will change California forever? Could he really be the monster he says he is? His hatred of Ricky is palpable, and his instability may well threaten the lives of everyone at New Camelot.

As the election looms closer, Proposition 51 takes on an even greater significance in light of the pending trial of the century. The more harshly fifteen-year-old Lance is treated within the broken justice system, the more he contemplates the wisdom of his idea that children need more adult rights. If The Child Voter Act becomes law, won’t it simply allow adults to throw more kids into prison with impunity?

Whichever way the voters decide, his greatest fear remains the same: will he ever again be with the people he loves?

The Knight Cycle Continues…

Pages: 284
July 17, 2014


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Bowler
Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of three novels - A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time, and Children of the Knight - who grew up in San Rafael, California.

He majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University and earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to seven different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state. He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He has already written the four continuations of Children of the Knight that complete The Knight Cycle and all will be released in 2014.

He is currently at work on a new novel.


This country is spoiling for a youth-led revolution, if psychologists examining the popularity of shows "Hunger Games" are to be believed.  Something is wrong, youth know it, youth are affected by it, and youth seem to be the only ones who aren't too tired to do anything about it.  At the same time, people are jailed unjustly all. the. time.  But what do we do when someone who is jailed unjustly is a kid?

The first two books in this series (Children of the Knight & Running Through a Dark Place) were absolutely superb, and this third installment fits nicely in this well-established reputation.  The story neatly picks up at the cliffhanger from the end of the previous book, in the middle of heart-pumping drama where the hero of the day has been arrested for attempted murder.  He's innocent, but can he prove this in the face of a public who craves nothing more than fallen heros, DA's bent on reelection, and a corrupt system which stomps upon the rights of youth...all the while figuring out who actually guards his heart?

Search no further for a book that will ignite your passion to work for the good of those whom society has deemed "the least of these", a passion for justice served as well as rights protected and accountability realized.  This amazingly well written book drew me into its action, into the very lives of these characters, in a way that made me want to assign this series as mandatory reading for every high school graduate.  It made me feel.

On an ascending scale of 1 to 5, I give this book a 5.

The Good
Honestly, I'm not sure anything good I have to say about this wonderful book has not already been covered in my reviews of the first and second installments in the series.  

We start where the last book left off: Lance being handcuffed and roughly dropped in the back of a police car without even knowing the nature of the charges leveled against him.  Upon reaching the detainment facility, Lance learns that he is being accused of attempted murder against a man he had seen recently, a man who has caused much turmoil and pain in Lance's life.  A man whose genitalia had been removed from his body in a brutal attack.  

There is just one problem.  Lance is innocent.  But can he prove so when the district attorney is running for election and wants to nail Lance to the wall in order to further his own campaign...despite rather shaky "evidence"?  SPOILER ALERT: Lance does get out of jail.  But what happens next will keep you pinned to your seat.  Seriously, somehow I thought I'd get to bed on time.  Nope.  I found myself awake well into the night as I read about Lance's struggle to come to peace with his identity, his relationships (just what is he supposed to do with Michael, Ricky, and Bridgett?), and the legal proposition that his efforts helped put before voters.  What will happen?

 Seriously, that question kept me up for two evenings as I read through this work - what is going to happen next?  What next bit of drama will be revealed?  What will Lance uncover about himself and those around him?  Will he be able to handle the things he finds on his quest for truth?


Not a lot of time is spent on character development, as much of this happens in the first two books.  The same is true about settings: new locations are set up very well while settings from previous books are mentioned but not described much.  It is kind of expected that readers have read the first installments in this series as these books are meant to build upon one another.  They do so very well.  On the one hand, I was glad to see there are at least two more books in the series because it means two more awesome books are coming....and yet on the other hand there is a cliffhanger ending (which is seriously put together in the span of the last 2-3 pages....just when you think it is over, you find that not only is it not over yet, but the story may have just begun) that just makes me desperate to read the next book.  Ugh.  Not a patient person over here!  :P

Anyways, I loved this book - as you can see by the perfect score (I don't give perfect scores easily).  Now, to wait for the next "season" to come out........ 

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
A few minor typos here and there, but nothing to major.  However, CLIFFHANGER.  /grumble.  Again, this is a stylistic choice that I cannot fault Bowler for, but seriously annoying (in honesty, I'd do the same thing).  

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  1. Nora, thanks for yet another stellar review of the latest in Michael's series! It means so much to know that you've become such a fan of Lance and the gang and can't wait for more :) I hope you were able to escape inside the New Camelot for a few days and carve out some enjoyable reading time for yourself. You deserve it!

    Congratulations on the news about your impending little one! How wonderful! It was so good to see Drexel all excited about becoming a big brother on Facebook. Please know that I continue to keep you all in my prayers and I'll be sure to keep sending positive thoughts your way :)

  2. Thanks so much, Nora, for your awesome review. I quoted you when sharing on FB. Your passion for the series gives me hope that maybe one day my series will catch on with a wider reading public, especially youth. Hope all is well.