Thursday, 9 January 2014

[REVIEW] The John Doe by Veronice Ceccarelli

The John DoeThe John Doe by Veronice Ceccarelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Read on January 08, 2014 — I own a copy

Read this in a day. A noteworthy record for a slow reader like me. The book wasn't exactly short either, it has 49,950 words to be digested. I am super sleepy today because yesterday I can't stop reading it till 2am in the morning. I can see dark shadows and tired lines under my eyes now. Eeks!

The story starts from a typical John Doe case. An unidentified injured young man found naked and near-death in a gutter. At first glance, it seems to be a rape assault case from the telltale injury he sustained until they noticed the peculiar scars marking both his wrist and his panic-attacks when physically restrained. What further puzzled the hospital staff was John's unintentional display of his extraordinary ability. This wonderment soon caused John a lot of grief and hardship when he found himself whisk away by the military into a secluded heavily guarded facility in the name of protecting the general public.

John suffers not only from total amnesia, he was half-blind as well. Apart from that he has a weak constitution; he was plagued with constant debilitating headaches and seizures. Although he may look frail, he is far from cowardly or defenseless. In fact, I admire his courage and firm determination to regain his rightful freedom. He has the will of a lion and would intelligently pick his fight unless he is overwhelmed by his panic-attacks of course. His stubborn streak at times provide some comical situations apart from landing him in several undesirable circumstances. Stubborn as a mule, yet I love him all the more for this trait of his.

It was such a thrilling adventure following John's energetic multiple escape attempts. I enjoyed the way he would plan his escapes then train himself up in preparation. Watching him determinedly take each painful steps towards regaining his supernatural power in hope to aid his bid for freedom made me very proud of him. His spiritedness earned him many admirers and friends even though most of these friendship was clouded by uncertainties due the complicating relationship as jailers and prisoner. At the end of the day they are soldiers, sworn-to-duty and he is only a lab rat under their care, an unnatural being deemed too dangerous to be free. These friends would not hesitate to shoot if need be.

Speaking of unnatural abilities, what John has was fascinating. Especially how unique his sense of sight is. The author has incorporated this aspect very well. The military was both in awe of John's abilities and was wary of it too. Initially they treated him with relative kindness but as his power grows so does their anxiety and ruthlessness at containing him under their control.

Yes, basically the story revolves around John's life in this military facility and his constant attempts to liberate himself. Some might think it will be boring to read such a simple setup. Yet I find it exciting and compelling. Those who loves good dose of angst will not be disappointed. I am very much invested in John's success in escaping the facility. In short, he has my full empathy and attention.

There are parts where I have some problems with. Like why on earth Colonel Bedville is so bent on keeping John Doe from leaving the facility? Apparently he cared for him and was even doting him at times. Showering John with kind gestures and gifts. I know he is a soldier and all that and having to abide to orders and rules but what he did to John was inexcusable. I actually liked him before what happened during the last quarter of the book. He doesn't feel real to me. He's much like a person with split personality. He is just too contradictory with himself, it confuses me.

To be frank, there are some slight annoyances with the writing and it wasn't as smooth as I would prefer. Nevertheless it did not prevent me from thoroughly enjoying this engaging story.

The John Doe was a riveting tale of survival and human strength. It also highlights our tolerance for differences.

The book may not have the most original storyline but in my opinion it was worth the experience. Especially if you like fantasy books with a touch of adventure, mystery and magic top with delicious servings of angst.

Please keep in mind this is a fantasy story, so be prepared to let your reality go as much as possible when you read it. Since anything goes when it comes with fantasy right?

I must declare that I am bias to this book as I have a fondness for angsty story with wrongfully incarcerated prisoners. The combination of fantasy, mystery and magic was an added bonus.

I know some complained about the ending, but to me it was a great way to end it. I loved it.


Title: The John Doe
Author: Veronice Ceccarelli
Publication Date: July 10th, 2011
Type: Novel, 49,950 words (approximate)
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Fiction, Mystery, Supernatural, Adventure
Tags/Keywords: amnesia, abuse, action-packed, adventure, angst, attempted-murder, restrains, brave protagonist, captive, captivity, confinement, captured, contemporary, disability, blindness, drugging, fantasy, heterosexual, hfn-happy-for-now, medical condition, weak constitution, military, army, prisoner, rebellious protagonist, resentful-indignant, restricted freedom, special abilities, magic, stubborn character, supernatural, thriller, suspenseful, young man, mystery

They would have liked to know who the John Doe was, but more importantly they wanted to know what he was. And what was his power, the power they did not understand? He could not be allowed free. He was not an ordinary man.

John thought he was an ordinary man, but maybe a hollow man, without memory, without a past. That strange power they spoke of - He didn’t quite believe in it, but if he was ever to find freedom, he had to first find his power. He wanted to go home. He didn’t know whether he had a home, whether he had a family, but still, he wanted to go home.

mystery, magic, amnesia, prisoner


This review has also been cross-posted at:

* Reviewed on January 9th, 2014


Comment on November 6th, 2013:

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