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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Upon This Pale Hill by Patrick Ashe, Brandon Marcel has just over a year before he graduates. As he struggles to decide on a future that will bring him fulfillment and happiness, he battles against his critical parents and society's expectations for him to conform. Brandon believes his life should have a purpose and he begins his journey to make a difference. However, Brandon struggles to find the path that will bring him the happiness he desperately seeks. His destructive thoughts create an inner turmoil that threatens to sabotage any chance of a peaceful existence. As Brandon leaves college and embarks on several career choices, his idealistic view of the world is shattered. His goal of helping others and creating social equality brings about more confusion and disappointment. When a disturbing event from Brandon's childhood emerges from his subconscious mind, he is forced to deal with the nightmare head-on. Is Brandon strong enough to deal with the truth?
The compelling and enticing narrative of this story draws you into Brandon's world instantly. His morals and goals to make a difference and not settle for conformity are exceptional and I instantly resonated with him. The people he meets along the way all have an effect on his life, whether negative or positive. I thought each character brought something of value to the story and they were all created with great detail. His relationship with Janelle was outstanding; there were some very emotional scenes between these two tortured souls. The exploration into Socialism and Capitalism made some interesting and unbiased arguments too. I loved the elusive beings, Aisling and The Morning Star, and although their presence in the story was minimal, they brought a dark and mysterious angle to the plot. The ending is filled with great tension and distressing scenes as Brandon and Janelle face their past horrors. Upon This Pale Hill by Patrick Ashe is a brilliantly executed coming of age story that will hook you in immediately.