Reviews

SUBNORMAL – 4.8 stars from 29 reviews

 new SN cover

5 stars – READERS’ FAVOURITE

Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers’ Favorite

Subnormal by Stuart Kenyon takes you into a rather scary vision of the future. Unfortunately, it is not even something that is so far fetched from what could really happen. In theory, the UK government’s ideas sound quite nice: everyone in society has a purpose. There are no more pensions, as pensioners would just get depressed and bored – instead they have to earn their living with easy jobs. People with mental problems also have their use. Nobody is left without a purpose. However, the people’s submission is not really their own decision. When Paul and Tommy (brothers) both end up in the zone – a place for people who have somehow deviated from the norm – they team up with other people who have doubts. They discover how the government turned the UK into a nation of obedient followers. And they want to change it. But how can a group of outcasts take on the government?

I found Subnormal by Stuart Kenyon an interesting, entertaining, but also slightly disturbing read. After all, the idea of how the government controls the population isn’t that far fetched. It is well within a government’s power to do something like that (not giving anything away here!). On a small scale, they already do tamper with what they use in the novel in real life. And it is a scary thought that we might not even notice if it happened. The novel is well written, the characters are believable, and I liked how the author managed to really get across the evilness of one character in particular. I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys good writing, and who is interested in realistic dystopian ideas.

5 stars – A Chilling, Timely Warning

Imagine a world where no one questions authority and everyone complies with even the most egregious violations of basic human rights. The government has absolute control over the people, and even questioning why things are the way they are is enough to make someone “disappear.” Scary, right? And yet…not so far-fetched, is it? Looking around the world today, it’s not difficult to see how close we are to such a world. And that’s the point.

Paul is a young man living in England who has Asperger’s syndrome. He’s incredibly intelligent and has a prodigious memory, but he doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of society. Even so, with just a little support he’s able to function in the world, and is even pursuing higher education. Then, when a devastating loss leads to a relatively minor incident, Paul is ripped away from his life, given a classification of “subnormal,” and locked away with other people who didn’t fit into the government’s vision of a utopian society for one reason or another.

What’s worse, not all of those people even realize how badly they’ve been treated. But when people start to wake up, Paul and his friends are ready to lead an uprising. Unfortunately, the entire government is against them and it’s hard to fight when even talking about resistance is a crime. It’s up to Paul and a handful of other “subnormals” to find a way to push back the tide of authoritarianism and save their country.

I loved this book for a number of reasons. First, I think the author did an outstanding job of developing the characters into individual people who I felt like I really got to know and like or dislike. I also think Mr. Kenyon did a good job of presenting Asperger’s syndrome and autism as complex conditions that are unique in every individual case.

But, also, I think the topic that Subnormal tackles is both timely and important. The book is set in England, but as an American I see many of the same things that Mr. Kenyen covered in his story. Of course, there was the infamous “Brexit” vote that made world headlines and is just one example of a growing isolationist tendency among authoritarian leaders. But the same thing can be observed in American politics too. Mr. Trump and his demand for “a wall” and the amount of support that the idea of banning Muslims from entering the US seems to have. In a country that was founded by people fleeing religious persecution and which canonized the principle of religious freedom in its Constitution! It seems utterly surreal, and yet it’s all over the news.

Then there was the obvious sense of entitlement felt by the politicians. They seemed to believe that they deserved power and obedience, and anyone who didn’t give it to them was not only wrong, they were a traitor. It was reminiscent of the connotations that the word “heretic” carried when the Catholic church still burned people for the offense. But I see some of the same attitudes in today’s politicians.

Ms. Clinton’s assertion that anyone who voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary would have to automatically vote for her, and so she had no need to court their votes by representing their interests. And the collusion of mainstream media by the slanting of facts to bolster Ms. Clinton’s campaign and refusing to cover things that might be damaging to her. The shaming that many of her supporters try to do against those who say they would prefer to vote for a third-party candidate instead of Ms. Clinton. Implying that those third-party voters somehow owe their votes to Ms. Clinton even if the voters feel she has failed to earn them. This is all just a lesser degree of the same problem.

Subnormal is a dystopian version of the logical conclusion of the direction politics seems to be heading today. It provides a vivid description of just how an authoritarian government could seize control of a populace and force conformity and obedience by suppressing dissent, controlling information through control of the media, and eliminating anyone who doesn’t submit. It’s a warning, on par with George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World, and I hope very much that people will both read it and heed it. Five stars and I’d give it six if I could. Well done, Mr. Kenyon, and I look forward to reading the rest of your series.

5 stars – A Dystopian Thriller

I really liked the beginning of this book. It slipped between new characters and back and forth in time, so it created a great sense of mystery. I knew the story was going to be about a Dystopian society, but the novel did a great job of revealing how that Dystopia came about. There were several points where I was thinking, What’s going on here? But always in a suspenseful way. From an imprisoned young man to a brutally one-sided firefight, to scientists caught up in deadly intrigue, the story definitely pulled me along from chapter to chapter, clamoring to know what would happen next.

In the second part of the book, the Dystopian setting has been firmly established. In a very insidious way, Modern-day Great Britain has been turned into a totalitarian state. The story switches from mystery to action/suspense as the main characters fight for freedom.
The characters are diverse and well written. My favorite was Paul Kelly, who’s a genius with Aspergers Syndrome. I’ve never read a book with such a character in such a prominent role–or when that character is not treated as a Rain Man clone. Paul is very well written, especially in the scenes where we go inside his meticulous and mercurial mind.

Since the novel is Book 1 of a series, I was happy to see that it had a very satisfying ending. A nail biter! But also, the ending had a very unique twist that nicely sets up Book 2. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.Highly recommended!

4 stars – Four stars

A good start to a series.
I liked the witticism in the subnormal reference.
Nicely constructed story too.

5 stars – Fantastic start for a promising young writer

An excellent first book by Stuart .
He grasped the thin line between being a government or a dictatorship using Servol as a metaphor for brainwashing via main stream media and television .
The way he explores Autism through one of the characters gives you an insight into the mind of the sufferers and their families, but also the gift that not being just like everyone else can be.

Brilliant Interesting thriller.

5 stars – I was drawn into Kenyon’s brilliant tale immediately and remained completely engrossed until the final …

SUBNORMAL: Book 1 of the SUBNORMAL series by Stuart Kenyon is a superbly written UK Dystopia that is not only breathtakingly intense, but also chillingly realistic. I was drawn into Kenyon’s brilliant tale immediately and remained completely engrossed until the final page. I am convinced that Mr. Kenyon’s novel is on a par with the very best of others in the genre, and would love to see it turned into a film.

I highly recommend SUBNORMAL to all who love a great dystopian novel, and to all who simply enjoy a truly excellent book.

5 stars – The most worthwhile and gripping book I have read in a long time

Read S. Kenyon’s compelling dystopia and you will never drink tap water again. Because you can get more than is good for you with it. And it can be more fiendishly oppressive than the overt brute force of communist tanks. You thought the nanny state was bad, but wait until it becomes a tool in the hands of a megalomaniac of a mother with a Nazi penchant for human perfection. Under the guise of resolving the ills of capitalism, such as unemployment, and the shortfalls of democracy, caused by social welfare, immigration, aging population, she dreams up a much more devastating weapon than insidious political correctness, Goebbels’ stark propaganda, and even Stalinist fear to deprive people of the very thought of freedom and human dignity. Liberty, equality, fraternity – the much-abused magical formula of democracy – experiencing the ultimate annihilation of all its parts.
How vindicating it is then, that the perceived misfits of society, those labelled “subnormal” for being physically weakened, or mentally different, or rejecting unquestioned authority, should rise up to overthrow this paralysing tyranny. The so-called weaknesses of the main characters – an Aspergers young man and his injured brother, a young depressed single mother, a disobedient soldier and an idealistic politician – make them more likeable and effective than super-heroes…

5 stars – Just click ‘buy’

A very interesting read. Mind-opening for the uninitiated in terms of autism, revelatory as a ‘what if?’ piece of literature. Is fascism often too subtle to spot when you are involved in it? Highly recommended.

5 stars – Five Stars

really enjoyed it, finished it within the weekend couldn’t put it down. looking forward to reading the sequel.

5 stars – Five Stars

Excellent read. Kept me gripped from start to finish. A talent to watch out for.

5 stars – A gripping plot, and written with valuable and touching insight

Subnormal is a very compelling read, painting a vivid dsytopian world filled with believeable, relatable characters. The hero, a young male with Aspergers, is written with valuable and touching insight. The sensitivity here is key. Unlike the Rosie Project’s Don Tillman, the hero here has an in-depth, believeable charactisation.

The plot is gripping, full of action and with a grim reality that isn’t that hard to imagine.

Yet what is the most beautiful about this book is that everyone here is unique, and a society that forgets to acknowledge that is one that is hugely damaging. Neurodiversity is an issue very close to my heart and I’m very keen to see the sequel!

4 stars – The revolution will not be televised

In the not so distant future ugly secrets lie at the heart of the British establishment. The country’s disturbing fate depicted in Subnormal is all too easy to believe because being lied to and manipulated by governments is a daily occurrence in almost any country you pick off a world map these days. In a very Orwellian manner Mr. Kenyon takes a shot at painting a picture of what we might be in for should politicians not be kept in check by the press and the people they are supposed to represent, and hits the bullseye. It is disarmingly realistic and a gripping read from the very first page.

5 stars – Love to read? Love SUBNORMAL

Don’t normally read fictional books these days but had this recommended by a friend. And my word, how glad I did! From the first chapter I was hooked, and the unpredictability of the storyline kept me reading on. Although it is fictional, there’s a scary hint of realism of how a tyrannical government could actually turn this country upside down. Every chapter as good as the last culminating in a spectacular finale. Highly recommended to anyone, and if there’s one thing I’m certain of, you will not be disappointed.

5 stars – A brilliant debut novel!

I loved the original writing style! The characters were believable and well researched. I especially liked that of Paul Kelly, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. This was written with obvious empathy for people on the Autistic Spectrum, and indeed I believe the author is donating a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of this book to a charity involved in providing support to children with Autism.
I look forward to a sequel!

5 stars – Outstanding!

This book is simply outstanding. Beautifully and intelligently written with rich interesting characters. It was fast paced towards the end and I really could not put it down. Ending left me wanting a bit but am hoping that means there will be a sequel. You simply must read this book!

5 stars – Each chapter more enticing than the last

Interesting plot, love how the plot develops. Found it, very gripping and could not put it down. How dare you leave us with such a cliff hanger?

4 stars – Terrifying, disturbing, utterly compelling

A frightening portrayal of what Britain could be like in the wrong hands. The plot builds expertly, the characters provoke sympathy and contempt in equal measure. I found it hard to put the book down.

5 stars – A great first book – keen to read more.

Some very interesting ideas and thoughts and possibly an expansion and reference to present day public apathy. I found the book followed themes set by Jon Ronson, and kept me surprised enough to keep wondering what would happen next – and keen to read more. I was gripped from the very first page.

I look forward to reading more from the author, this book will give me plenty to think about in the future when watching political and world events.

5 stars – Surprisingly good read

It was quite good, which was pleasantly unexpected. Sometimes when you pick up a book someone has recommended it turns out to be nothing more than pretentious dribble. That wasn’t the case.

5 stars – nice one

really enjoyed this book. well written and a good plot. waiting for the next one.

5 stars – Five Stars

Excellent story. A must read

4 stars – Four Stars

Made interesting reading

5 stars – Five Stars

really good read

4 stars – UK Distopian

An interesting premise and well written.
Loads of great twists and turns. Enjoyable read and was a refreshing change to have a book set in the UK.

5 stars – Thought provoking and entertaining, Sci-fi adventure!

Subnormal by Stuart Kenyon, like an onion, has many layers. First is the gripping tale of a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, the protagonist, who is marginalized by a self-righteous female megalomaniac, the antagonist. Next is, a Sci-fi adventure with a stark commentary on today’s society that heralds the all-star athlete and the glamour queen as the hero’s of today’s shallow society. Still Kenyon goes deeper into myriad of new diagnosis’s being developed everyday, but he doesn’t stop at the psychological problems that people have, he also delves into the physical dysfunctions too, raising the question who is to determine a person’s worth.

I once read that the Native American tribes of North America were all inclusive and those that were considered different in the tribe were thought to be divine and given leniency to wholly be themselves, completely. I always thought that this was a beautiful and necessary component to any society. Every person has a purpose and a place. Every person is treated with respect and accepted.

Sadly, this is not the case in this Sci-fi adventure! Kenyon is saying that no one can possibly know anyone’s full potential and those that are marginalized can quite pleasantly surprise those of us who aren’t marginalized.

There is so much more that this thought provoking thesis has brought out, but I fear creating spoiler alerts! I want you to read the book and enjoy making your own discoveries.

I had a rough start to the book finding the text awkward at times. This might be an American versus British English colloquialisms challenge; some chapters were a bit choppy, while other chapters were simply brilliant and text flowed freely!

The story line is original, the character development complete, the action driven plot interesting and the conclusion fulfilling, but there is a cliffhanger and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

5 stars – A gripping plot, and written with valuable and touching insight

Subnormal is a very compelling read, painting a vivid dsytopian world filled with believeable, relatable characters. The hero, a young male with Aspergers, is written with valuable and touching insight. The sensitivity here is key. Unlike the Rosie Project’s Don Tillman, the hero here has an in-depth, believeable charactisation.

The plot is gripping, full of action and with a grim reality that isn’t that hard to imagine.

Yet what is the most beautiful about this book is that everyone here is unique, and a society that forgets to acknowledge that is one that is hugely damaging. Neurodiversity is an issue very close to my heart and I’m very keen to see the sequel!

5 stars – Omg Moment

Stuart Kenyon has written a great book! I do not give away plots. However, in this case, I’ll say this. The characters are amazing. The story is frightening in the fact that it could easily happen. The drugging of the populace, and the collective who take over while enslaving a specific group of people makes this book too realistic, and not at all unbelievable that it could happen. Great job, Stuart! LK Kelley – Author

3 stars – 3.5 out of 5 stars! The ending left me glowing!

Take a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, he and his loving brother are thrust into a work camp; reminiscent of Nazi controlled Europe.
Travel back in time to a brilliant young chemist who is developing drugs for mind control.
Jump forward to the recent past and witness the birth of a seemingly benign totalitarian government. The populous is afraid, unemployment and crime are high. A small time politician is extremely uncomfortable with the politics as his party rises to ascendancy in modern England.
These are the high points of the plot, there are several smaller subplots also.

While seeming to be irreconcilable, these plots and subplots are woven into a fascinating tale. Mr. Kenyon has brought us an interesting angle to the typical dystopian future story.

I have to say that learning about Asperger’s through Paul’s eyes was very rewarding.

However, with so many threads to pull, I was not surprised that the pace of the book was up at times and down at others. I understand that you cannot have a breakneck speed constantly, but there were several spots that were dragging quite a bit. To be fair, the rest of the book flowed quite well.
There were quite a few spelling errors, not the type where it is a British spelling as opposed to American. I am talking about misplaced words, missing words, and the occasional multiple words. As if there were some words left from an incomplete edit of a sentence.

To sum up: I enjoyed the story even though the ride was pretty bumpy at times,
a lot of potholes in the road. I will give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. If the spelling had been a lot cleaner it would have been a higher score.

This is definitely a good read. The ending left me glowing!

5 stars – Five Stars

An excellent read from start to finish.

 

SUPERNORMAL – 5.0 stars from 5 reviews

new SPN cover

5 stars – READERS’ FAVOURITE

Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers’ Favorite

Supernormal by Stuart Kenyon is the second book in the Subnormal series, and is a must-read for people who have read book one. I would recommend reading book one before you pick up book two, otherwise you might not have a full understanding of the characters. The story takes place a few years after the initial story. The troublemakers of book one (i.e. Latham and some other UK government people) are locked away, and the UK is on the road to recovery. However, there are people who do not want the population to be free. They would like things to go back to where they were before Paul and his group managed to undo the damage that had been done via drugs in the water mains. And they don’t have a problem with using violence. Paul is in danger as he would be sent back into a special zone because of his Asperger’s if the others succeeded in their mission. Will Paul manage to solve the problems he is faced with, or will the UK once more become a nation of unthinking people?

I read Supernormal by Stuart Kenyon right after finishing Subnormal (Book 1). I wanted to know how the characters continue with their lives, and what kind of other problems would be thrown into their path. There simply had to be problems, right? Once more, the writing is excellent, and you can’t stop yourself from reading one page after the other. The characters – good as well as obviously evil – are believable, and you can understand the motivations of both sides (even though you hopefully do not agree with both!). You will be entertained right to the end, and then you’ll want to know even more.

5 stars – A pulse-pounding experience!

Stuart Kenyon ended Book 1 of the Subnormal trilogy with a bang, a shocking event that masterfully established the status quo for Book 2. Now that I’ve read Book 2, I can say that ‘Supernormal’ kicks off with an even more devastating event. Paul Kelly (Book 1’s bright, young hero with Aspberger’s syndrome) and his friends are left picking up the pieces from this event, and left facing a threat that is more insidious than ever before.

The tone of this book feels a bit different than the last one. I felt like it was more of a cat-and-mouse thriller as opposed to a dystopian book. There are a few sci-if/[paranormal aspects to the story, but not as many as in ‘Subnormal.’ Instead of brain-controlling fascists, the villains of Supernormal’ feel even more relevant and more despicable. Cayde is a demagogue who uses his charisma to move his cult-like followers, and he’s not above using terrorism to further his aims. Welham is his sociopathic enforcer, who’s arrogance and paranoia make him more interesting and even more loathsome than Subnormal’s Mr. Daniels.

I enjoyed ‘Subnormal’ very much, but ’Supernormal’ is an even more immersive, pulse-pounding experience. Kenton adeptly introduces new characters, like Holly and Mike, and makes us understand why any person could find themselves joining a nationalist group. Then he puts those characters into breakneck twists to complicate the story. Another new character is Ally, who, along with Paul, presents another aspect of the autistic spectrum. Kenyon’s deep understanding and intimate of characters with autism is another highlight of the book. Highly recommended!

5 stars – A star is born

A fantastic follow up to the disturbing subnormal. The author has a true gift for story telling and a Kafkaesque gift for plunging the reader into a world of nightmare.

5 stars – Even better than Book 1!

Another brilliant read! Not often is a sequel better than the first novel, but Supernormal is the exception to the rule. I love the author’s writing style, especially his portrayal of the two characters on the Autistic Spectrum. .which was very cleverly written. The plot had me on the edge of my seat until the end of the book. .a proper page turner!

5 stars – Mat Welham is in the book how do you like those apples Gerry?

Sheer brilliance, can’t wait to find out what the lieutenant gets up to in book 3.

 

POSTNORMAL – 5 stars from 1 review

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5 stars – Another Superb Tale

Stuart Kenyon’s masterfully written and imagined tale, Postnormal: Book 3 of the Subnormal series, immediately drew me back into this frighteningly believable dystopia. The story kept me on edge, but completely entranced, all the way to the tense and exciting climax, which I loved.

The characters are genuine and well-developed, and it’s very easy to care about the protagonists and dislike the antagonists. Postnormal is fast-paced and like the character, so realistic that it is easy to forget that this is a work of fiction. If there is anything about this book that I dislike, or find disappointing, it is that this series has come to an end. I’ve said it before, but I simply must repeat, this book should be made into a movie.

I definitely recommend Postnormal, and the first two books of this series, to everyone who loves a great story.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Reviews

  1. Pingback: How NOT to be an autism parent | stuart kenyon

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