Foreword Reviews

Love vs. Duty

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Love vs. Duty is an engaging fantasy romance about the difficult choice between love and duty when the future of the universe is at stake.

In Nick Dream’s fantasy romance Love vs. Duty, Greek mythology meets alien invasion as teenager Adam Vanolf struggles to accept his destiny on his own terms.

All Adam wants to do during his senior year in high school is go on a date with Evie Chanik, the girl of his dreams. But Adam’s grandfather, affectionately known as “Pappou,” has forbidden Adam to make friends with any of the kids in school, Evie in particular.

Adam and Pappou have a higher purpose to fulfill: as the two last Endohumans in the universe, only they can put a stop to the evil creatures known as “Them.” Torn between his love for Evie and his duty as an Endohuman, Adam makes a decision that threatens to bring the world to an end.

Grounded in a mix of Greek mythology and Christian mysticism, the book weaves together ancient gods and William Shakespeare with vampires, werewolves, cyborgs, and alien technologies, while touching on themes such as mental illness and the effects of designer drugs. It sounds like a blend that shouldn’t work, but it does.

The story is held together by solid writing. To every action there is an equal reaction. The book uses Chekhov’s gun to full effect. Every word on the page is there for a reason, which keeps up the suspense. Clues are dropped everywhere and are never wasted. It is unclear what the clue will be used for until the moment of revelation, often unforeseen.

The characters are well developed. Adam’s struggle with where his priorities lie is palpable on the page, as is Evie’s confusion over Adam’s contradictory behavior. Their complicated relationship is elegantly portrayed in a dialogue where on the surface they are arguing over a scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, while the subtext makes it clear that Evie is holding Adam accountable for sending mixed signals and he is defending himself.

The story is told through two timelines, one in the past and one in the present, tied together by the clever use of clues which are carried successfully through the centuries. However, the use of a concentration camp, Buchenwald, feels heavy-handed, and it serves to erase the identities of the Nazis’ actual historical victims.

Most of the story is told from Adam’s perspective, but it switches without warning to the perspective of one of the side characters; these passages lack clarity. Further confusion is caused when Adam references details and dialogues he admittedly can’t see or hear. The books ends with several questions left unanswered. The story line of the past wraps up more neatly than the one in the present.

Love vs. Duty is an engaging fantasy romance about the difficult choice between love and duty when the future of the universe is at stake.

Reviewed by Erika Harlitz Kern

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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