REVIEW - Life Force Preserve: Anna and the Resurgent of the Precious Blood #1 (Courtney Leigh Pahlke)

Life Force Preserve“A thrilling premise in need of TLC.”
RainHand Rating:
Find Whiplash on Amazon, and Goodreads!

(Review appearing for the first time on!)
To be fair, I’m going to say off the bat that I had a little difficulty with this book. As I’m not in the habit of providing an opinion without elaborating I’ll certainly do so, but first, let’s talk about the strengths of Life Force Preserve.

There is most certainly a compelling story to be found in this book. You’ve got suspense, tension, danger, and conspiracies; all focused around our intrepid protagonist and her secret bloodline. The storyarc makes reference to a great span of human history dating all the way back to ancient Egypt, and has a healthy dose of “Ancient Aliens” to boot (if you’re into that). If you’re patient, there’s a reward to be found here.

Now, my elaboration. First and foremost, I’m quite concerned regarding the frequency of technical errors in this book. The fact that there’s a grammatical error in the *title* was the first warning sign: “resurgent, precious blood” or “resurgence of the precious blood”—not “resurgent of the precious blood”. The punctuation error in the short plot description posted to both Amazon and Goodreads was the second sign. In reviewing the text itself, I found myself subject to myriad errors in everything from spelling, to grammar, to tense, and back again, to the point that I can’t bring myself to believe that this manuscript was passed under a solid proofreader microscope before it saw publication. As a reviewer of fiction I’m well aware that even the most well-polished books by the most careful professional publishing houses will always have an error or two—it’s just not possible to catch them all. With that in mind I maintain a certain threshold of acceptability, but this book went way over my limit, to the point that I found myself unable to reconcile myself to the idea that this is a finished piece, ready to be enjoyed by the reading public. The fact that the story is described as ‘gripping’ and ‘able to draw readers in’ despite the fact that almost nothing action-packed happens in the first four chapters (until chapter five I wasn’t even sure what the plot was) doesn’t help, especially when combined with such jarring inconsistences as a shifting perspective that goes from first person, present tense, all the way to to third person, past tense (without the presence of our narrator at all).

Don’t get me wrong: Life Force Preserve has potential. Additional beta-testing and a solid proofread would do wonders for bringing this story to life. Unfortunately, in its current state, I can’t in good conscience recommend it to discerning audiences. As for the award the book won, I can’t speak to that, other than to work from the assumption that I may have been given a draft version of the manuscript? That doesn’t appear to be the case, but if there is a more polished version out there, I’d be willing to give this book a second chance!

About the Author: Courtney Pahlke graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in psychology and a secondary in creative writing. She worked at the Crisis Center in Iowa city leading to graduation day, where she went back home to Illinois with a plan. Courtney hoped to gain her masters degree in forensic psychology at a school in Chicago, while working for her dad, to pay for school. After the first year working for her dad’s company, she decided not to continue on with school and grow the family business instead.
('About' info abridged from