This is the second of JD Nyle‘s stories I’ve read–what’s interesting is that this short story is an extension that gives further context to his first novel–so, let me share with you the story of the Neostrikers in Intent to Join: A Neostriker SABRE story.
Ooh, and here’s my vlog!
So, here’s the deal, I’m not really one for sci-fi-esque/adventure/action stories. I’m willing to try them because I enjoy checking out books beyond my comfort zone, but it means that it takes kind of a lot for me to really like them.
In my first blog of Nyle’s work, I mention that he mentions that the series was inspired by the Yu Gi Oh and similar stories–that’s not really something I ever watched, so for fans, his stories will probably have a nostalgic vibe that I’m just not privvy to. Anyway, so while I think it’s interesting about how these Neostrikers have spirit-armor, the action in these stories doesn’t do it for me the same way a mystery novel might.
That said, I love the idea of the spirit-armor, and I love how Nyle says that “the fights are generally for art and fun while the story may focus on character growth or be philosophical.” This is just an extremely fascinating and unique concept that I enjoy. In fact, I think I like Intent to Join a little bit more than the full novel for that reason–the action was condensed so that the characters could be the focus. There wasn’t as much of the semi-corny trash talk that you hear in fights.
I really enjoyed the internal (and somewhat external) dilemma Sophia faces in wanting to join SABRE, a spirit-warrior-law-enforcement agency, despite her father’s wishes. Just as I surprisingly liked the philosophical (and physical) fight between Charlie and Ryon over the satisfaction of instant revenge vs long term… after all, it’s a dish best served cold.
Additionally, I think what I like about Intent to Join is that it gives more context to the Neostriker universe. Unlike Nyle’s novel–which is like a film that is detailed and action packed, and engaging but has time limits–I felt like this story was more like an episode in a series. It’s clearly stand-alone in that the characters are independent, while being part of a larger whole, and more context and development can happen over the course of many installments instead of trying to make sense of an entire universe in one book.
I’d be interested to see where else the Neostrikers go, how much more they develop. Like are the neocards old technology? Do the Neostrikers still have their little spirit-senseis? I do still agree with my initial assessment that I think I’d like to see this as more of a graphic novel–with the amount of detail Nyle uses, it would be an excellent medium to show the action rather than simply read it.
I would definitely recommend this to those who like action/adventure, but with the caveat that this is sort of an expositional story, so the action is somewhat limited. I’d also recommend it to those who enjoy character-driven stories, Sophia’s and Charlie’s development, interactions, and self awareness were perhaps the most intriguing parts of the story. If, like me, you weren’t ever interested in those card game/TV show (e.g., Yu Gi Oh or Pokemon… I don’t know many!) stories, it might be a little harder for this story to grab your attention, but I think Intent to Join is an excellent introduction into this complex world created by Nyle.