A review of Jordan Pinckney and Will Lenzen Jr.'s Destined

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Jordan Pinckney and Will Lenzen Jr.'s Destined was published by Destined Productions in April 2016.

Information about the authors:

Jordan Pinckney has written two screenplays and is currently working on a zombie comic book series. He has had a passion for the sci-fi genre since watching his first sci-fi movie, Predator, as a child, and thrives on getting “lost in the story”. Jordan has the uncanny ability to find creative inspiration in the day-to-day experience and turn it into an enthralling story to share with the people around him. Outside of writing, Jordan enjoys competing in highland games, working with children in need, and geeking out to “nerd culture”. Jordan lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with his wife, Aubree.

Will Lenzen Jr. has a deep passion for storytelling. For nearly 20 years he has studied the craft as a writer, actor, designer, and filmmaker. With a small library of screenplays, articles, and short stories, he is now excited to be bringing his vision for Destined to the world. When Will is not working on The Blood Games Trilogy, he is Creative Director at Cycle Studios, focusing on design, illustration, and direction.

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Information about Destined:

These Weren't The Answers She Was Looking For

For years, sixteen-year-old Leana has been plagued with terrifying nightmares, and now they're getting worse, creeping into her waking hours. In a desperate attempt to help her make sense of them, her mother is sending her to the last person on Earth Leana would want to visit... her estranged father. On his farm, she finds answers she wasn’t expecting.


The recent years have been fruitful for young adult speculative fiction, because many new and talented YA authors have emerged and already established authors have become interested in writing YA fiction. Several novels have garnered a devoted fanbase among teenagers and adults, because they offer entertainment and excitement for readers of different ages. Jordan Pinckney and Will Lenzen Jr.'s Destined is a welcome addition to modern YA speculative fiction, because it's an entertaining debut novel that is filled with lots of potential and promise.

Destined is one of the few young adult novels that have captured my attention from the start, because it was a pleasant reading experience for me. When I began to read this novel, I found myself instantly drawn to the story and was hooked by it, because I found it intriguing. I liked the way the story moved forward, because the authors didn't rush things and gradually paved the way for surprising revelations about Leana and her father.

Destined is the first novel in The Blood Games Trilogy. It's an enjoyable story about a sixteen-year-old girl called Leana who is plagued by terrifying nightmares. Leana's life changes when she tries to make sense of the nightmares and meets her estranged father, because she finds out truths that she never expected to hear.

Here's a bit of information about the story:

The prologue takes place in 2063. Otis fears that his presence will bring harm to his daughter, Leana, so he decides to leave her and his wife, Danielle. He doesn't like what he has to do, but he feels that it's the only way to keep Leana safe... At beginning of the novel, Leana is having a nightmare about being a soldier and killing people with other soldiers in a world she doesn't know. When she wakes up, she is soaked in sweat and knows that her nightmares have become worse. She is aware that the dreams and nightmares are not normal and she feels like a freak. Danielle tries to convince Leana that the dreams will go away, but she is not convinced of it and wonders what is wrong with her... Leana is supposed to go to her father's house during the weekend. She hasn't seen or heard of her father in over a decade and she's not okay with seeing him. Danielle tells her that she told her father about the nightmares and that he can help her. Soon Leana is on her way to her father's farm...

This is the beginning of a captivating story that focuses on character development rather than action. The story has many familiar elements and situations, but the authors use them well and lay a solid foundation for the sequels.

There was something slightly old-fashioned yet distinctly modern about the story that impressed me, because it has a few things in common with Star Wars, The Last Starfighter, Pittacus Lore's Lorien Legacies and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. I won't reveal any spoilers about the story, but I can mention that readers who enjoy reading stories about protagonists who find out amazing things about their lives will find this story - and especially the ending - interesting.

The characterisation and character interaction works well in this novel. I was positively surprised by how fluent the dialogues were between the characters and how well the authors wrote about the characters' feelings. When you read the story, it's easy to believe that Leana is a teenaged girl whose parents love her very much and have done what they've done for the good of her.

Leana is a realistic and well-created protagonist. She's a normal teenager who has friends and who goes to school, but suffers from nightmares that are getting worse. She experiences many feelings and she has to come to terms with what she finds out. The authors explore her life and feelings in an engaging way, because they pay attention to many little things.

I enjoyed reading about Otis and Rychur, because the authors wrote surprisingly well about both of them. I won't write more about them, because I might end up revealing too much information about the story, but I'll mention that the authors reveal intriguing things about their lives.

It's nice that the authors have added several details to the story. One noteworthy detail is that Leana's father has made an android called Esu (Emotional Stabilizing Unit) who has a wide variety of skills programmed into him. It's also worth mentioning that Leana's father also has a wolf called El.

The events take place in Core City in the near future. Core City has an interesting history, because twenty years ago an alien spacecraft crash-landed there (during that time the city was called Cedar Rapids) and human beings found out that they were not alone in the galaxy. The government tried to cover up what had happened, but ended up funding the city with an unlimited amount of resources which allowed the city to grow.

One of the things why I enjoy this novel is the authors' ability to cause an emotional impact in the reader, because the story is told in such a way that it is difficult not to be moved by certain happenings. I think that readers will find themselves caring for Leana and want to find out what happens to her, because she has a lot on her mind.

I like the authors' realistic way of exploring issues related to abandonment, because Leana felt that her father had abandoned her and wasn't a good father. Her mother hadn't told her much about him and was secretive about everything related to him, but always reminded her that she was wrong about her father and that he loved her very much. Because Leana didn't get any answers from her mother to her questions, she formed her own opinions about her father. The authors paint a vivid picture of how growing up without a father can affect a person's life.

Jordan Pinckney and Will Lenzen Jr. excel at writing about Leana's terrifyingly dark and vivid dreams. They write fluently about how much anxiety and fear the dreams cause to Leana, because they get worse all the time and nothing seems to stop them (the dreams become more intense and Leana can see, hear and feel more each time). They've done an excellent job at describing how Leana is afraid of her dreams and feels that she is going crazy.

I like the authors' writing style, because they've written the story in a way that easily awakens the reader's interest in it. The style of the prose is fitting for YA readers, because it's easy to comprehend. It's possible that adult readers may occasionally find the prose a bit too light, but this is not a problem, because the story makes up for it.

I give this novel strong four stars on the scale from one to five stars, because this kind of immersive entertainment is to my liking. I was positively surprised by the story and its entertainment values, because despite having a bit of roughness around the edges it felt good and intriguing. I look forward to reading the next novel, because the ending left me wanting more. I have a feeling that exciting things will happen in the next novel, because the authors clearly intend to take the story to a fascinating direction.

Jordan Pinckney and Will Lenzen Jr.'s Destined should be read by everyone who loves entertaining and gradually unfolding yet fast-paced YA science fiction, because it has lots of potential. It's a promising start to a science fiction adventure trilogy that has old-fashioned charm coupled with modern storytelling. If you enjoy reading YA science fiction, please take a look at this novel, because it has many elements that will interest YA readers and those who love YA fiction.

My final words are:

Jordan Pinckney and Will Lenzen Jr.'s Destined is a good and enjoyable YA science fiction novel with potential to thrill many readers!