Book Review: Channel Blue by Jay Martel

18776080What it’s about:

Earth used to be Galaxy Entertainment’s most lucrative show. The inhabitants of the Western Galaxy – the savviest, richest demographic in the Milky Way – just couldn’t get enough of the day-to-day details of the average Earthling’s life.

But Channel Blue’s ratings are flagging and its producers are planning a spectacular finale. In just three weeks, their TV show will go out with a bang. The trouble is, so will Earth.

Only one man can save our planet and he’s hardly a likely hero…

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Review:

I’d firstly like to thank Becci Sharpe from Head of Zeus for providing me with a paperback copy of this book. I was really intrigued by Channel Blue – I love Sci-Fi but I don’t think I’ve read enough of it over the years and the synopsis of this sounded really different, unlike anything that I’ve ever heard of which is ultimately what drew me to it. In the world of Channel Blue, Earth is a reality TV show which has provided entertainment to distant planets for years. However, due to the fact that mankind are arrogant creatures, the ratings of Channel Blue are dropping and the producers need a way to boost the ratings back up. Perry Bunt is a washed up screen writing teacher who has had the misfortune of stumbling across the Channel Blue studios and finding out exactly what they’ve been doing. He’s the only human on Earth that knows what’s going on and producer, Amanda Mundo, who took Perry’s class, has set him the task of trying to save the Earth from being taken off-air. Because Channel Blue are planning a huge finale, which will quite literally, see Earth go out with a bang.

I have quite varied opinions of this book so please forgive me if I’m going backwards and forwards like a yo-yo. I was super excited about reading this book and before the story even begins, the prologue got me at the sentence, ‘I also need to recognise that the storylines have become too bizarre the cast too unlikeable’ – which is talking about Earth. If we’re really digging deep, this sentence alone can definitely translate into today’s society as over the years storylines and scenarios have gotten more and more ridiculous to the point of stupid. I found it a little hard to get in to at the beginning but once I was in it was quite compelling. Despite how unrealistic the storyline is, it gave an overall good portrayal of today’s society and how reliant we can be in entertainment, TV and watching everyone else like our lives aren’t enough. Amanda, one of the producers of Earth and an Edenite (aka. an Alien) gives a very outside view of our civilisation stating that, “Earthles would literally kill themselves climbing tall mountains and diving deep into oceans. And why would they do these things? Were they being chased by predators? No – there was no reason. They did these things only because they wanted to prove that they could do them. How could you not love that?” She goes onto explain how “heartbreakingly beautiful” humankind is that we search jungles for gold that never existed and go blind writing immense books no one ever reads and how we believe in religion and a higher power that will rescue us and reading it like that from the point of view of someone beyond this world (even if it is an alien…) makes you realise that the world can be beautiful but living amongst the hustle and bustle of stress and struggle gives a somewhat tainted view of that beauty.

The overall narrative of the book is extremely energetic. After a somewhat slow start, it picks up and once it gets going it doesn’t stop for a breather. There was a lot of characters in this book, maybe a few too many to keep up with but I liked Perry – the main character – he was very likeable and I did feel quite sorry for him at times what with not having much luck in his dream career as a screenwriter or love life and living in a really small apartment however I did feel that it was emphasised at every chance the book got to remind of his misfortunes  which wasn’t really all that needed. Amanda was an interesting character. At first she seems completely normal but we learn that she’s far from it. I liked her involvement in the story and her relationship with Perry but I couldn’t tell whether I liked her as a character or not. My mind jumped backwards and forwards as sometimes I loved her for being strong and in charge whereas other times I found her incredibly annoying.

At the beginning I felt there was a bit too much going on and not enough specifics. Some parts were so ridiculous I just needed more information and back story. It’s like if a friend came up to you and said, “Yeah so then the badger came up to me and told me about this talking teapot”, you’d demand more information because you wouldn’t be able to accept a story starting with, “So the badger came up to me…” and that’s kind of how I felt with some parts of this book, that someone came up to me, started talking about badgers and teapots then just walked off. I loved the story and I loved the concept but I did sometimes feel like I was being told everything rather than having the experience of living it myself through the pages. There were large chunks without any dialogue and it started to get a bit tedious. Also, when two characters were having a conversation, if one of them was explaining something to the other the narrative often said, ‘Amanda explained that…’ rather than Amanda actually explaining it – which I found quite strange. I like sci-fi, I really do, but I felt this was pushing the limits a bit. I can get to grips with made up worlds but trying to “make up” a world which already exists and changing it is not only bound to be very difficult but also risky and I fear that Channel Blue didn’t quite pull it off as well as it could have. It was an intriguing story and concept and I will admit, I was excited to discover the outcome of it all but I personally think it was all a bit too far-fetched and ridiculous for me.

You can find Jay Martel and Channel Blue on the following links

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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