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Silent Hill: Betrayal by Shaun M. Jooste

Shaun M Jooste is a South African novelist with various novels available through Amazon. He kindly sent me a copy of Silent Hill: Betrayal with the sole purpose of reviewing it for him, which I gladly accepted. There is also a personal blog which he asks people to pay a visit to keep up to date with his work (all links will follow this review).

Before I start to write this review, there is a YouTube trailer for the book available to watch, which I think is a fantastic idea. All too often we see trailers for up and coming movies, TV shows and various other things, but never for a book. I really think that more authors should do this as a way of teasing and tempting people into buying their work.

There are 2 versions of the novel available, the 'vanilla' and the 'extended' version. The difference being that in the extended version, we are treated to various pieces of artwork, maps etc which all help the story along.

The story follows our main character Trevor McKenzie who is 'guided' by fate to end up in the town of Silent Hill, which many people will recognise from both computer games and 2 mainstream movies. We follow him on a journey through the town in order to find his girlfriend Kathy who, after a car crash on the way into the town, has gone missing when he awakens.

The book hasn't in any way been endorsed by Konami however, Mr Jooste was allowed to write the story after submitting it to Konami and them allowing him to continue his work.

The story of the book basically follows the story of the first ever Silent Hill game, character names have been changed for obvious copyright reasons, but what I like about the book is the little details from the games that you wouldn't expect from any form other than playing it on a console. For instance, Trevor wakes up in the cafe 5 to 2 (which gamers will recognise) and sees a glowing symbol on the wall, he reaches out to touch it and feels it's power flowing through his veins. He then goes on to die and awakens again in the cafe. It's the use of the save points from the game, and used well in the story. Also, how when he is walking the foggy streets, he finds medical bottles and gives them to dying people, who then regain life. Again, from the game, it's the health regeneration needed to continue. It's these little things that appeal to me as this book could have been written as though our hero was invincible and he never suffers ill-fate.

The book makes for easy reading, there's no real use of long descriptive words to set a scene which allows this book to appeal to a broader range of reading abilities. In all honesty, how many times have you read a novel and felt a little stupid not knowing what some words actually mean? Some people may find themselves bored at the ease of reading, but I found it adds to its enjoyment (whether I'm thick or not is probably a matter of opinion).

There are a few grammatical errors in the writing, which I'm sure Mr Jooste would address if the book were to be released in a physical format, but I'm a little anal about looking for these types of mistake, especially when reading the indie stuff. It's human nature that no one is perfect, and just proves that even an author is human after all.

Not only will this book appeal to the many Silent Hill fans that are out there, but can be enjoyed by a wider audience as well. Let's be honest, now that the game franchise seems to be at a massive loss since PT was canceled, and no one is sure if we will ever see another game on the shelves in the future, we need writers and filmmakers to help at least keep the spirit alive. There are a few Indie Filmmakers that are in the process of creating their 'fan made' films, but so far, none have seen the light of day.

I urge people to go and get this book, it's great both in writing style and content matter.

I have also heard from Mr Jooste that he is in the immediate process of releasing a physical copy of the book which is fantastic news.

Rating: 8/10



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