Review: Unbound

There are two things Elijah Goldsmith does not lack. The first is money. The second is ambition. It is not enough, in one year, to graduate high school and begin college at Princeton. He mixes in one more thing: Becoming a spy.

Only he doesn’t know, when he goes to Washington in the cold beginning of the year, what it really means to be a spy – what they do, what they want from him. He doesn’t know who the beautiful, talented girl training beside him really is. And he certainly doesn’t know what’s coming on Easter Day. 2066 is an appropriate year for the world to end.

Unbound is the first book of J.B. Simmons’ Omega Trilogy. It’s part spy drama , part sci-fi, and mostly End Times. I don’t often read End Times novels, and for two reasons. One, they can get depressing (the good guys lose and lose and lose, and then the world ends). Two, they can get predictable. I’ve read Revelation. I know the inevitable plot points.

Still, I have read End Times novels I liked, such as C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle (yes, it truly is) and the Swipe series by Evan Angler. And now Unbound.

Unbound operates outside the box of mainstream End Times theology, freshening and shaking up the narrative. Nor does it start out with apocalypse, but with a world running along, and which gives every indication that it will go on running.

I enjoyed the story’s setting; the futuristic aspect was well-done – hints of enormous changes in the world, and technology that felt both new and realistic. I particularly liked the small detail of the White House having been converted to a museum (and nobody knows anymore where the president lives). It’s the sort of thing that lets you know, without stopping the story to explain, that you’re in a different country.

The characters were quickly and vividly defined in the story. I was a little surprised at how fast a few characters were inserted into the story and then eliminated from it, but it’s hard to say it was wrong. And I’m not sure where to put this, so I’ll just tack it on here: There was one fleeting moment with “Jezebel” that was more than I liked.

I liked the balance struck by Elijah’s visions – neither too ordinary nor too exotic. His vision of the man had particular depth, and promised a greater spirituality in the books to come.

Unbound is a fascinating take on the End Times, a compelling mix of Revelation prophecy, sci-fi, and spy drama.

Unbound will be released September 13. Until that date, J.B. Simmons is running a giveaway of the book on Goodreads. I received a review copy of this book from the author.