Review: The Enemy Within by Scott Burn

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Published: July 24th, 2016, self-published | Series: Unknown | Length: 161 pages | Genre: YA sci-fi | Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. | Possible Triggers: suicide attempt

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Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Max has always felt like an outsider. When the agonizing apocalyptic visions begin, he decides suicide is his only escape. He soon finds himself in an institution under the guidance of a therapist who sees something exceptional in him. Just as he begins to leave the hallucinations behind, Max discovers the visions weren’t just in his head.

There are three others who have shared those same thoughts and they’ve been searching for Max. Like him, they are something more than human. Each of them possesses certain abilities, which they’re going to need when a covert military group begins hunting them down.

As the danger escalates, Max doesn’t know which side to trust. But in the end, his choice will decide the fate of both species.

I’m having a bit of a hard time writing this review. (Surprise – that seems to be a common problem for me, haha.) When it comes down to it, I don’t think this is a bad book at all, but for some reason, I just didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as I expected. I think this is mostly because I’ve been on a huge contemporary kick lately and so wasn’t really in the mood for a sci-fi book right now. Because of this, even though I had some problems with it, I’d still recommend giving this a try if it sounds like something you’d enjoy.

the enemy within quote 2

I think the only actual problem I had with the book was that the characters didn’t feel very well developed to me. Most of them, including the main character Max, seemed very one-dimensional to me. Part of this may be a result of the book being pretty short and there simply not being a lot of time for in-depth exploration and development of characters. Regardless, I would’ve liked to see the characters be more well-rounded, especially Max since he’s the main character. As they were written, I simply had a hard time connecting with any of them and it made it difficult for me to get really invested in their story and even though there were all these awful things happening to them, I just didn’t really care.

Editing to add: One thing I forgot to mention but that I really didn’t like was that, if I’m remembering correctly, there was only one female character in the whole book. I know a lack of female characters (or at the very least, lack of well-written female characters) is a common issue in sci-fi, but it’s still disappointing. And to add insult to injury, there were a few comments made here and there which were, frankly, pretty sexist. For example, there’s one point where the book says, “all the men had beards and, sadly, so did some of the women.” Why is the dig at women with body hair necessary???

Other than that, I really liked The Enemy Within. The storyline itself was really fascinating and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see Max learn more about himself and connect with other people like him. I liked the suspense of whether or not Max would accept this part of himself and his new friends and whether or not they’d succeed in their mission (purposely vague so I don’t spoil things, haha). There were a couple of twists and turns thrown in that I found pretty surprising and intriguing as well.

the enemy within quote 1

I’m not totally sure if there’s going to be a sequel, but I’d love to see one. The way the book ends definitely allows for another book, but I don’t see anything on Goodreads or anything indicating that there will be a sequel, so I don’t know whether or not it will happen. But like I said, I’d love to read more of Max’s story.

Ultimately, even though I didn’t like The Enemy Within as much as I expected to, I think a lot of this is more of a personal thing rather than a true reflection of the quality of the writing. If you like YA sci-fi and are looking for a quick read, then I’d still recommend giving The Enemy Within a try.


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17 thoughts on “Review: The Enemy Within by Scott Burn

  1. Great review, Kourtni! I’ve been missing out on a lot of book news so this completely skipped my attention, but it does sound interesting, though I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t end up loving it in the end. I do enjoy the quotes that you’ve included, though… perhaps I’ll shelve this until the day I feel like reading something like it. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Reg! I’ve seen a few other bloggers review this and it seems like most people enjoyed this more than I did. I definitely think I would’ve liked it more if I’d read it during one of my sci-fi moods, but it still wasn’t a bad book at all. Hope you like it if you decide to read it someday 🙂

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  2. Great review! Sometimes not being in the mood for a genre definitely affects how you enjoy a story… Although if the characters are not that well developed doesn’t really help either. And sexist comments? Hmm I’m not sure I would enjoy this one all that much either.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well kudos to you for powering through it. I’ve been so bogged down with blog tours that I’ve only been posting reviews for books I love lately, because it’s really REALLY hard to right these types and time consuming. I need to be better about it though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s understandable! I’ve honestly been thinking about only writing reviews for books that I have a strong opinion on because these “in the middle” reviews are just so hard to write and I feel like I never really do them justice. Then again, I’d still have to write these reviews for review copies I’d gotten, so I don’t know. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • I honestly have only been posting my MEH/bad reviews to GR even on review copies lately. It’s just so time consuming. I’m still only six months into this and trying to figure out exactly how I want to tackle all of that honestly. I do think it’s important to give honest reviews.

        Liked by 1 person

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