Review: “Coventry 2091” by Peter Kazmaier

Coventry 2091 (The Coventry Chronicles Book 1) by Peter Kazmaier. Word Alive Press. 256 pages.

This is the fourth book I have reviewed from a thread on Goodreads that deals with authors of Christian speculative fiction and their books. It’s a pleasure for me to read other people’s work and to share in their victories and struggles, especially those trying to write books similar to mine. And it’s always a pleasant surprise to find books that are enjoyable to read and have enough twists and surprises to keep me interested to the end.

Dr. Peter Kazmaier has done a good job with his book Coventry 2091, and I hope this is the beginning of a great series for him. It demonstrates some great world-building, and his background as a scientist is obvious in the story. Here’s the Amazon summary:

On his twenty-second birthday, Jacob Kraiser sits on a bench waiting to enter the Coventry Penal Colony on Vulture Lake, north of Lake Superior. Bewildered by his rapid sentencing to a prison he didn’t even know existed, he is joined by two other new inmates, Hanna Heidel and Zeke Rempel.

Coventry Penal Colony is a prison without guards, for the remote location makes escape impossible. The whole colony seemingly has one focus—to survive. Although they work to grow what food they can, they are wholly dependent on the good graces of the prison system to supply them with power, medicine, mining equipment, and food. Any failure to obey or make their delivery quota of rare earth metals leads them back to the times of hardship when so many inmates died quietly in obscurity.

It becomes clear that Coventry is harboring a great secret. As the future of Coventry becomes more uncertain, Jacob, Hanna, and Zeke begin to discover aspects of the prison’s society that have been carefully concealed, discoveries which lead them on an adventure of a magnitude they could never have imagined on their first day. Soon they are headed to Venus, and even beyond the confines of our solar system. Yet peril pursues them and the survival of Coventry hangs in the balance. Can Jacob, Hanna, and Zeke save Coventry? Will they truly find a refuge?

What starts out as a story of three young prisoners–who by the way remind me very much of the three heroes of the Harry Potter series, except a little older–ends up being something very different. I won’t give away any secrets here, but suffice it to say that they don’t end up in an underground mine for the entire book: far from it. About the 40% mark on the ebook I was reading, the story took its first major turn, and then it really took off. Before that, I read the book in fits and starts. After that, I had to read it all in one day. It’s that good.

As I mentioned before, the science and the world-building in this story is top notch, although in order for the twists and turns to work later on, there has to be some suspension of disbelief. A lot happens in a little bit of time. It’s a great story, but if there’s anything that I would have liked to see more of, it would be a little more character development–more about the three protagonists–and less about the world they live in. But that’s probably a different kind of book.

For a Christian book, it hit the marks, although I would have liked to have seen a little bit more personal struggle and spiritual inspiration. Perhaps we will see that more in books to come.

I give this one four and a half stars out of five.