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Brian Gates
Project Renaissance: White Wings
Brian Gates, author
Detective Booker Vaux arrives home to discover his family has vanished without a trace. No DNA has been found by forensics, and no one witnessed the crime. Aided by an Anonymous hacker, a conspiracy emerges that points to Solis—the largest corporation in existence and creator of the AOL, a contact lens that augments reality—as the perpetrator. With questions of how and why Solis would kidnap his family wracking his brain, Booker heads west with his partner Sam to uncover the mystery. The gambit was a desperate longshot from the start, and mounting questions push them to the edge. As Booker's psychedelic dreams bleed into his reality, can he identify the difference between reality and illusion before time runs out?
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.25 out of 10


Plot: Project Renaissance flavors its hard-boiled story with some science-fiction spice, even if the end result comes off as somewhat muddled, and occasionally cluttered by expository real-world connections that do more to limit than expand on the world and narrative.

Prose/Style: Gates's prose struggles with an expository voice that often derails the proceedings, but when it does find its groove it serves as a serviceable vehicle with which to navigate the story. Tweaking to allow more circumstances and interactions to flow in-scene would greatly benefit the book as a whole.

Originality: While there are some interesting ideas floating around inside Project Renaissance, too many of the proceedings are built around familiar genre trappings.

Character Development/Execution: The cast of Project Renaissance exists more as the personification of concepts, ideas, philosophies, and archetypes than they do as fully-formed and complex beings which, while delivering some genuine and impactful moments, struggle to achieve a true measure of connection, be it with one another or the reader.

Date Submitted: July 01, 2021