I Am Titanium (Pax Black book 1) by John Patrick Kennedy (book review).

July 31, 2015 | By | Reply More

I think ‘I Am Titanium’ is aimed at the younger person who likes superheroes. There’s a lot of teenage angst, sex and violence held loosely together by a strange plot. The story starts with the main character Pax’s consciousness returning back from a trip to the astral plane to take up residence once again in his human body. Unfortunately for Pax, his human body is dying from an incurable condition called acute diffuse scleroderma. His body is giving up the struggle which is why he’s incarcerated in the Columbia University Medical Centre waiting for the inevitable. His Mom, Julie, also works at the hospital as a doctor and after studying Pax’s condition for many years is the world’s foremost expert on the subject.

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To up the angst, Pax’s father died when he was very young, leaving him in a one parent family. This event was taken very badly by Julie who had trouble dealing with the prospect of raising Pax alone. When Pax then became ill, it provided the one thing she could focus on to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. Another ingredient to this toxic mixture is Pax’s girlfriend, Scarlett. She is a young volunteer in the hospital full of her own teenage troubles but is drawn to Pax who at this stage is dying and confined to bed. Not what you might call a good catch.

As I mentioned earlier, Pax is capable of sending his consciousness off to the astral plane. You may be wondering what the astral plane is or where it is and, to be honest, so am I. It seems to be another dimension populated by highly evolved intelligences who are able to create their own little worlds called pachas. I had to look up the word ‘pacha’ and, once you get past the Ibiza nightclub references, you find it’s from Inca mythology. Anyway, While Pax can send his consciousness to the astral plane, Scarlett has the rather odd ability to be able to see him do it.

During Pax’s travels in the astral plane, he befriends Terkun’shuks’pai (Terry) who has an interest in the Earth and humans. He is also able to save Pax’s conciousness by replacing his human body here on the physical plane with one made out of astral material. It seems that there are two factions in the capitol city of the astral plane and one of them wants to seal off Earth to prevent humans from ever evolving and attaining astral form. Terry is on the side that wants to let humans have the chance to evolve. By aiding Pax, Terry hopes to convince the ruling council that humans will evolve beyond their violence. To provide a more unbiased opinion, the council send Terry and a female companion Akllana’chikni’pai (Lana).

The replacement of Pax’s body with one made from astral material has the unforeseen consequence of killing Scarlett, so she’s given a new body, too. Neither of them have a comfortable transition to their new bodies which, being made of astral material, gives them extraordinary abilities. During the transition period, Scarlett being the contrary one, gets involved with negative energy and things go a little differently for her. Both have difficulty in controlling their new abilities, which leads to an escalating series of disasters where innocent people get hurt and killed.

It’s at this stage where Terry’s position as friend and mentor get called into question as there seems to be more behind his motives than he was willing to share. Even his companion Lana begins to question what he is doing. When he brings in an alien monster which starts to attack and eat everything including Pax, I got the feeling that I’d lost the plot somewhere along the way. It’s made somewhat clearer near the end of the book but still feels a little confused to me.

Not being a teenager anymore, I tend to like my stories to have some consistency in the environment they create. The stumbling block here is the inhabitants of the astral plain which we are given the impression are pure consciousness. Taking on a material form limits their senses and perceptions we are told. However, when Lana goes back to the Council to deliver her report, they take the form of spheres while she retains her human form. They just seem too human with petty grudges and rivalries. Why would a being with no body have a gender anyway?

The book ends with Pax off to try and save Earth from an alien invasion so there’s going to be at least one more instalment. That might not be a bad thing if the plot sorts itself out as the Pax and Scarlett characters are actually quite interesting. It all depends on how the author develops the creatures from the astral plane. If they remain chiefly human rather than highly evolved super-intelligent beings, then the whole thing loses cohesion.

Andy Whitaker

July 2015

(pub: Dark Trope Publishing. 341 page ebook. Price: £0.99 (Kindle version). ASIN: B0100PHIMW)

check out website: www.JohnPatrick Kennedy.net

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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About the Author ()

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties. My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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