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IA: Initiate

by John Darryl Winston

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6113340,640 (3.71)None
Everyone has secrets... What if you didn't know your own?One young man with latent supernatural abilities plus one street gang hell-bent on recruiting him equals...IA: Initiate.The most important thing in the world to thirteen-year-old orphan "Naz" Andersen is keeping his little sister safe from the streets of a Chicago/Detroit-like urban ghetto known as the Exclave. Naz tries to stay out of the way at his foster parents' home, but he walks in his sleep. He is unable to keep the fact that he hears voices from his therapist. He attempts to go unnoticed at school and in the streets of the Exclave but attracts the attention of friends and bullies alike.Naz is ordinary, or so he thinks. He harbors a secret of which he is unaware. A seemingly random act of gang violence propels Naz on a path that leads to discoveries about his supernatural abilities, abilities that will ultimately decide whether he lives or dies. Now he must navigate his turbulent surroundings and face the full force of the world around him. The only way he can survive is to discover the supernatural world within.… (more)
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I was unable to download it. ( )
  kaylynvh | Mar 12, 2019 |
IA: Initiate is a spellbinding tale of inner city life mixed with extraordinary kids.

Can street smarts and intelligence be a laden paranormal ability? Author, John Darryl Winston takes the reader a step further, turning these skills into a life-saving survival power for our main character, Naz. Each character is rendered with accuracy and intelligence of inner city life. The book is descriptive with realistic conversations between the characters. I enjoyed the distinctive character personality. I knew who was speaking at all time and because of their unique personalities, it was easy to remember everyone and the setting. I was transported to the inner city streets with these characters.

Inside this story of hidden skill is a real-world use of creativity, morals, and excellent advice. I enjoyed the biblical parallels. I drew from it the essence of our capabilities and if we sell ourselves short every day; hindered by the idea that we can’t do something simply because another person hasn’t done it. The underlying story was deep; adults and youth would enjoy this novel.

What Didn’t Work: The only aspect of the story I didn’t like was the switching narrators of the audiobook. The book is read by John Darryl Winston and his son, Marquette Winston. Individually, I think both readers were phenomenal and anyone reader would have been great for the story, however when the readers switched it temporarily took me out of character. The different voices in the story call for a different tone of voice. The author reading for Naz’s therapist, wouldn’t have fit, just as Marquette Winston reading for Corey Anderson, Naz’s father, wouldn’t have worked. So it's understandable why more than one reader was necessary however having both voices read for Naz and Mari, interchangeably between chapters was distracting at times.


I am confident you will enjoy this book, however book one is only set up to introduce the characters and setting. There are a few action scenes but the author doesn't get into the abilities of Naz except through a retelling of past events. I was surprised when the audiobook ended; ready to dive into more conflict and learn more about Naz and is “firecracker sister,” Meri. The entire book is a cliffhanger. I suggest you have book 2 ready to pick up as soon as you turn the last page or listen to the last track of IA: Initiate.

I received IA: Initiate from the author in exchange for an honest book review. I honestly believe this is a fantastic first book and introduction to the series. I look forward to continuing the series with Book 2, IA: B.O.S.S and Book 3: IA: Union.


For its real-world parallel and deep meaning that is still suitable and designed for teenagers and young readers, I give IA: Initiate 4/5 ( )
  ByChallaF | Aug 26, 2018 |
I received an audio copy of this book through the early reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. My listening experience wasn't as good as I would have liked, I had some technical issues with the download and the playback wasn't as seamless as it needed to be which resulted in some confusion for me about the storyline. Despite the issues I experienced I think the series has potential and I did enjoy the dual narration. I thought the relationship between Naz and his sister was the strongest part of the book. I would have liked a little more action and a little less set up and explanations in the book and I thought the ending was too open ended. Overall it was a pretty good start but I'm hoping for more from the second book. ( )
  karen813 | Aug 6, 2018 |
Listened to an Audible version of this book. The story is read by two people, old and young, who alternate reading chapters, an interesting concept. An interesting coming-of-age story about thirteen year old Naz and his younger sister Meri, who are being living in a foster home in the Exclave, an inner city ghetto. Naz tries to play-down and learn to cope with his special powers in a rough urban setting with gangs and violence. Nicely written and I enjoyed the book, but found the story was not a page-turner for me. ( )
  papyri | Aug 5, 2018 |
I received this book (audio format) in exchange for an honest review. I will admit that I think the book would have been better had I simply read it. The audio performers were a little difficult for me and distracted from the story. However, setting that aside, I thought the story was really well done. It was a unique (at least to me) approach to the coming of age story, as Naz, the protagonist, recognizes that he is different ... different skills, different personality. As the story develops, we learn and grow with him as he recognizes that he is special in a good way.

The first book of the series, I think this one has staying power. ( )
  cyorgason | Apr 26, 2018 |
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Everyone has secrets... What if you didn't know your own?One young man with latent supernatural abilities plus one street gang hell-bent on recruiting him equals...IA: Initiate.The most important thing in the world to thirteen-year-old orphan "Naz" Andersen is keeping his little sister safe from the streets of a Chicago/Detroit-like urban ghetto known as the Exclave. Naz tries to stay out of the way at his foster parents' home, but he walks in his sleep. He is unable to keep the fact that he hears voices from his therapist. He attempts to go unnoticed at school and in the streets of the Exclave but attracts the attention of friends and bullies alike.Naz is ordinary, or so he thinks. He harbors a secret of which he is unaware. A seemingly random act of gang violence propels Naz on a path that leads to discoveries about his supernatural abilities, abilities that will ultimately decide whether he lives or dies. Now he must navigate his turbulent surroundings and face the full force of the world around him. The only way he can survive is to discover the supernatural world within.

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BHC Press

2 editions of this book were published by BHC Press.

Editions: 1946006785, 194600636X

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