Heidi J. Hewett
Lexi begins in a garage in an outlaw town in the desert. It is a promising start, action, danger, regret.
Then we go back to fill in how the narrator got to that place. This is a common enough trick. Show the character at a point of desperation, then use that knowledge to build tension in the reader. How will our hero get from here to there? Unfortunately, it can also backfire by lowering the immediate tension of the story’s progression. Like a kid wanting to skip the meal to get to dessert, the reader wants to get to the good stuff.
In Lexi’s case the otherwise engaging story of the events
which result in the hero being on the run with a billion dollar prototype
android were, for me, overshadowed by the opening. It’s a pity, because I
wonder if we had started in the lab instead of the desert, my attention would
have been held by the more subtle plot needed to set up the first chapter.
The narrator is an engineer at the lab where his father’s people have been working on the human-like AI to run their prototype. John is in an irregular position, not being quite a student, nor an employee. When that status is resolved and he’s made a full employee, things look like they are going to fall into place for him.
That’s when Lexi escapes her box, both literally and figuratively. It’s all interesting, but I kept thinking it dragged. I don’t think it does, it is just it can’t live up to the first chapter fast enough. Once the dominoes start falling it takes off, but that’s a substantial way into the book.
So, I’m going to recommend the book, but I’m also going to recommend the reader start at chapter two, not in the first chapter.