Lineage – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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J.N. Sheats

In J.N. Sheats’ Lineage, a terrifying dog-like creature is terrorizing the small town of Portstown, Pennsylvania. Joey is trapped amid the carnage, with people close to her dying brutally. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger is protecting Joey, but he hides powerful secrets about his past. Together, Joey and Cameron must find a way to stop the deadly attacks before it’s too late.

Lineage’s plot is a bit unclear at first, as certain scenes are drawn out or too vague. The main character, Joey, is not well-developed for much of the beginning of the story, making it hard to relate to her as a protagonist. Also, the “intermissions” within Lineage (which consist of a full-page image and a written warning that seems to be trying to deter readers from continuing the book) slightly hinder the reading experience here; they are jarring and interrupt the natural flow of the story. Along with a plethora of grammatical errors, Lineage could certainly benefit from a thorough edit to resolve these irksome issues.

Despite all that, Lineage is an excellent, suspenseful read. It perfectly balances contemporary young adult literature with the haunting, distinct style of classic horror novels, all while maintaining its own creativity and voice. J.N. Sheats masterfully crafts each bloody, violent death scene, yet still has a knack for getting into the angsty mind of a teenage girl—and making it all believable, at that. Her vivid, descriptive style of writing is both impressive and wildly captivating, keeping the pages turning from beginning to end. Lineage is a remarkable, unique, and delightfully scary novel that is sure to keep readers guessing right until the very end—and even long after the book is closed.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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