Verdict: Author M.A.R.S has a gift for complexity and, in SOLE SILENCE, presents the reader with mind-bending themes that accomplish what only a few writers can do: leave the reader thinking about the story for days.
One of the claims made about the internet and all the social media it gave birth to is that it has democratized culture. Whereas one had to become a newspaper or magazine writer or celebrity to find an audience for one’s message, now blogs and emails and Facebook provide a platform. In short, everyone now has a voice, and can realize someone out there is reading via the “hits” the writer garners. The teen years has the potential to not be so troubled and alienated.
Author M.AR.S doesn’t apply quite the democratizing effect on high school; the traditional cliques remain: divisible by sports, music, and popularity and, of course, nerdiness. But what is impressive about SOLE SILENCE is that where once those who read were considered worthy of wedgies or a sucker punches, now everyone—jocks and prom queens and mean girls alike, who wouldn’t be caught dead reading Ulysses—read via phone texts.
The author has managed, however, to find an outcast in this bunch through the character of Tylor Reef. Unlike his peers, Reef was not raised on a steady diet of even the most basic of technologies (TV, music, movies), and is thus cut off from his more technological savvy classmates. As a result, he doesn’t catch the cultural references, nor does he understand the sentence structure, or lack thereof, in twitter messages (one doesn’t have to know grammar to write one).
But Reef is a more appealing figure because of this lack of technological expertise. He emerges, along with an unlikely friend, popular in a way Reef will never be, as the most human—in the best sense of the word—of all the characters. He hasn’t forgotten how to have a human conversation, and he—ye gods—actually reads from an actual book.
M.A.R.S has a gift for complexity and, in SOLE SILENCE, presents the reader with mind-bending themes that accomplish what only a few writers can do: leave the reader thinking about the story for days.
~Ron Capshaw for IndieReader