Ë 7th Son:Book One - Descent ☆ Download by Ë J.C. Hutchins I honestly think this book gave me a concussion.
But first, a plot summary.

NOTE: I received this from the Amazon Vine program (and regret every moment of it).

Seven men are abducted and find out they are all clones named John Michael Smith.
A supersecret government organization (and really, what ones aren't?) has created them to.
um, we'll I'm still not quite sure about that, and I've finished the book.
Anyway, John Michael Smith Alpha, the original source material, has gone mad science experiment, kidnapped their "mother", and is generally wreaking lots of havoc.
So our seven clones have to band together and stop him.

The Two Reasons Why Reading This Book Wasn't a Horrible Decision:

The cloning idea was interesting.

Also, when the action FINALLY gets into gear, Hutchins writes it well.

The Ten Reasons Why Reading This Book Is Totally Not Worth the Above Reasons:

(In absolutely no order because I don't want to bother to take the time to try to rank all these horrors to humanity)

The Introduction.
When I first tried to read this many months ago, I couldn't get two pages past the first chapter.
We open with a fouryearold child killing the president and shouting obscenities and then hop into the postcoital exercises of some guy named John who is out riding his bike in hot pursuit of cigarettes before returning to his apartment to jump his girlfriend again.
Everything about this opening just turned me off.
While the child assassin thing is explained later on, it came off as completely unbelievable.
As for John.
well, I just wasn't fond of leaping into a character's bed with him and his girlfriend before I even knew anything about them.
If I hadn't been so desperate to get this book out of my toread shelf, I would never have pushed myself to get past this incredibly weird beginning.

Stereotypical characters.
Is a stereotype.
I am not joking.
It's disgusting and frustrating.
No wonder I smacked my head so much with this book (Note to self: Punish the BOOK not YOURSELF when reading)! No wonder I found myself screaming at it.
And in case you don't believe me, here's a slice:
Michael: Marine.
Says "hoss" and "fubar".
Can organize a strike force and invade any building, even if he may or may not be trained for that because Marines can do ANYTHING.
The only thing that breaks him from the mold is his homosexuality, but that is another topic for discussion.

John: The "freefloating" musician.
Bartender and selfproclaimed "black sheep".
Must be the resident Marty Stu or Author Avatar, because he damn near narrates the whole thing (including going to a Club for a militaryish mission) and pretty much is uber awesome despite doing zippo.

Thomas: Pudgy priest.
Bawls on command and rubs rosary beads so we know that, like, he's totally into God.
Oh, yeah, and he worries about being soulless, because, you know, he's totally into God.

0: The computer geek.
Constantly called a lunatic and giggles.
Oh, yeah, and obscenely overweight because, you know, all of us that spend a lot of time on the internet or with computers are 300 pounds.
To complete the stereotypical computer nerd image, he lives in a room with no lights, no windows, and no human contact (fortunately, it is NOT his parents' basement).
After reading his description, I basically felt like the author smacked me in the face with a brick.

Jay: UN simpering wussI mean, "lobbyist" (or whatever, it doesn't ultimately matter).
The wife wears the pants in the relationship.
I'm surprised he doesn't regularly wet himself with the way he acts in here.

Jack: The potbelly, bearded geneticist.
Oh, he also has a family.
not that that fact is very important except for the random times he wants to throw it in there to remind us.

Mike: Criminologist occasionally called a "politician" for whatever reason.
He's loud, obnoxious and unlikeable.
Oh, and he doesn't have a sigo, probably because he's so loud, obnoxious and unlikeable.

John Alpha: Crazy mad clone (sorta) who runs away with technology that makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE for him to be able to obtain.

Not to mention, we also get scientists who apparently have no life outside of their small roles in this organization (otherwise, they might have had a clue about what the message was saying), a racist Texan oil tycoon who comes down on presidents who don't call in two days time (because, of course big business is behind the government! You can never have too much conspiracy!), a 70 yearold vice president who gets a hard on for a buxom Indian woman even though he is married and has children/grandchildren, a fat, smoking Russian soldier, and an evil, insane Nazi scientist (because NO good conspiracy story is without one of those).

Pop culture references.
I swear to God, Hutchins must have gotten paid by the reference, because the pages are littered with them.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, Frankenstein, Ben Affleck, Short Circuit, Star Wars.
and those are only the ones I recognized/remembered!
Excessive amount of time dedicated to "backstory".
The first chapter is over, and all seven clones have been kidnapped.
The next almost 200 pages then hem and haw around the shiny new 7th Son facility, the cloning tanks, the cloning technology, the mind transferring technology, several bigwig meetings, a bunch of asking the same questions over and over again, and other padding that made me want to scream when one of the bigwigs goes, "Oh, and we have to find your mother QUICKLY".
QUICKLY?!?! Yes, let's brood for 200 pages and THEN get on to finding that mother of yours.
I don't care if the inbook time is a whopping one day, I, as a reader, am sick of reading about all this madeup science and canyon deep plot holes!! Let's get to the thriller part already!
Unclear objective.
At one point, the clones' "father" reveals that the men were cloned to "make a team", but that is one bullsh!t of an answer if I've ever heard of one.
I almost prefer the "nature vs.
nurture" experiment idea, but, of course, that doesn't have enough government conspiracy in it (and is REALLY a stupid use of bajillions of government dollars).
WHY would being around 6 other copies of yourself mean that you are more efficient? Wouldn't they also have your flaws? Wouldn't they have developed their own differences that would make them potentially less able to work together? What if all the men had chosen different paths from their life plan (say, ballet dancer)? And if you are one of the clones and don't KNOW the other 6 men until you are randomly thrown back together after, say, 16 years, how can you say you would IMMEDIATELY start working well with them, like our seven idiots do here? This is only the tip of the iceberg of the questions I have about this grand plan; there are many, many more.

The puzzles are ludicrous.
The first "clue" is a Morse Code bit that translates into music which translates into other stuff.
This takes our 7 clones a whopping 5 minutes to decipher.
I guess NO OTHER SCIENTIST was a musician (because, you know, scientists are just geeky science nerds who have no other hobbies than their job) or knew Morse Code or was a psychiatrist or all the other things that were SUPPOSEDLY needed to solve this puzzle.
And then, when John Alpha leaves a second clue (this time five months prior), I have to go, "Huh?! What is THIS all about?!"
Out for REVENGE! Villains never have any real good reason to be villains anymore.
They are always out for that simple "revenge".
And it's no different here.
John Alpha wants to kill because of revenge (and Nazis, because Nazis are so easy to identify as being BAD and make writing SO EASY and UNIMAGINATIVEwhy can't we have Soviet baddies or VietCong evil doers?).
Every scene with him or Devlin is groanworthy (and what is the POINT of including them, anyway???).
I could have identified the "bad guys" in a blind lineup just by the way they talked and acted!
Almost exclusively written in John's point of view.
John had to be one of the most boring of the seven.
Which must have been why everything was written from his point of view (or if it wasn't, the viewpoint character drooled all over his awesomeness).
It particularly made the scenes were EVERYONE calls his sigo awkward, as we hadn't seen the other's point of view since they got captured 200 pages prior.
And what the HELL was up with that scene, anyway? I don't CARE what all seven clones are doing in the 15 minutes they are allotted to speak to their loved ones if the conversations are essentially THE EXACT SAME!!
Michael the Marine.
So I don't have a problem that he's gay.
I do have a problem that he so easygoing about revealing his orientation while being in the military (maybe things are much better now, but my dad, retired Navy, has always given me the impression that men are rather mean to gay guys).
Furthermore, I hated how Hutchins often would go something like "The conversation Michael and Gabe were having were just like the one Jack was having with his wife".
Why would it ever not be? Sure, they are both guys, but it has been established they are in a committed relationship; of course they would talk like they are married! The way the author described it was as if he thought the audience couldn't figure it out.
Thank you for needlessly clarifying this, Hutchins.
Lastly, I hated how Michael and Gabe were the only couple "struggling" because of Michael's absences (at one point, Gabe says one day he won't be home waiting for Michael when Michael returns).
Why is it that all the other clones' women can provide unending encouragement and understanding, but the one gay couple can't? I don't think Michael's character deserved to be treated like that.

Plot contrivances/holes/chasms.
Just a sampling of what is jingling around in my brain: How did John Alpha leave the facility with cloning equipment? How is he able to download Devlin's data from inside a high security prison? How can he download Devlin's mind into so many people with practically NO ONE knowing? Why does no one mention the FOUR YEAR OLD CHILD he stole and KILLED more often? Why are NONE of the victims and their families mentioned? Why is Dania allowed to leave 7th Son with her knowledge? Why does no one suspect her? How does John Alpha know so much about the 7 clones? Why were 7 clones created? If the goal was to make efficient teams, why, when the experiment was proved a success, did they not try to form a team out of these men and test their teamwork abilities? Why are there no other teams of 7 in production? Where is the new technology that would have taken over the 3 football sized storage room? Why did the 7th Son team let John Alpha "help" in the cloning process? How did NO ONE see him becoming a psychopath? If he was raised perfectly, wouldn't that have been "weeded out" already?

I didn't honestly want to give this one star nor did I set out to.
I get no joy out of dissing on an author's hard work.
But I honestly haven't read something so mindbashingly awful since Eldest (in this book's defense, it is MUCH better written than Eldest AND has MUCH more action).
The characters are barely one dimensional, all interchangeable, the story is absurd, the villains are mindnumbing obvious.
Although the book ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, I am most assuredly NOT going to find out how this series/trilogy ends.
Not recommended.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence: Many fbombs, particularly by Dr.
John is riding off after some Saturday sex with Sarah.
Lots of violence from the prologue, including the death of the president at the hand of a fouryearold.
It’s actually quite difficult to review a book you absolutely love.

Pithy one liners are much easier to come up with when you want to bring out the knives.
I’ve been sitting here for the last twenty minutes trying to think of a good one liner to describe 7th Son Descent, but I liked it so much I’ve got nothing pithy for you.

So instead let me tell you that 7th Son: Descent is well worth your time, money and evangelical support.

J C Hutchins brings the characters to bear on the story quickly, and from the moment you start reading to the last page7th Son: Descent will kick your backside every step of the way.
The main reason for this is that no one character is safe.
You get attached to the clones (yes there are clones, trust me, it works) and their individual personalities, but every chapter Hutchins makes sure you know that they’re at risk from the main bad guy, John Alpha.

Incidentally, John Alpha could be anyone.
Your high school gym teacher, your Grandma, anyone.
Hutchins took an interesting route away from making John Alpha a demi god of a serial killer and instead gives readers a genuinely smart, dangerous antagonist with real motivations and issues.
If you’re a writer you could do a lot worse than looking at John Alpha as an example of a well rounded antagonist.
Yeah, he’s eeeevil but you can really understand why, and you have to wonder if you wouldn’t choose the same path if you were subjected to the same influences.

Speaking of which, 7th Son: Descent jumps ahead of the pack of well written scifi thrillers by becoming a very in depth study on the idea of nature vs nurture.
If you take seven men, literally identical clones, and subject them to different lives, so they turn out the same, or will their lives dictate who they are?

I know this review is a little vague, and it has to be because I don’t want to spoil any surprises for you, but rest assured 7th Son: Descent by J C Hutchins is one of the best books of the year.
You can check out JC Hutchin’s website here where you can try the books free as a podcast, get extra 7th Son: Descent goodies for free and look at JC’s other work.

Interesting idea (seven clones of a 14yearold old alpha who grow up not knowing they're clones) but clumsy DanBrownesque execution of the plot.

Also: so the clones are drawn together and they compare the differences in their lives after age 14 and one of them is gay.
originally I was like, "Oh, huh, that's cool," but as the book progressed, I found it more and more irritating and eventually offensive.
Because if the clones are genetically identical and only one of them is gay, you're essentially taking the "nurture" side of the nature v.
nurture argument re: homosexuality, which is deeply problematic.

But here's the thing: the book never even addresses what it was about his postcloning nurture that made him gay.
Like, seriously, if you're going to pull that shit, at least tell me about how gay clone's father left his mother and his mother was overbearing and that made him gay or his priest molested him or some other stupid offensive shit, don't just leave me hanging! This was one of the first podiobooks I ever listened to and JC's work inspired me to give it a try myself.
Very nicely produced.
I liked the writing style a lot and I thought the trilogy worked very well.
I'm looking forward to whatever he writes next

[transparency disclaimer: JC and I are both podiobooks authors.
Neither podiobooks nor JC asked me to review this work.
] This is a fun little scifi story about seven different guys who are drawn into a massive conspiracy.
They all share the same memories through their teenage years.
Turns out after a manufactured accident the seven were cloned from the original, named John Alpha, and were implanted with his memories.
They were each raised in different environments, each unaware of his clones.
When John Alpha goes rogue the organization that created the seven clones coerces them into helping them stop John Alpha.
The first book sets up the story and starts the conflict.

As a scifi book I thought it was pretty decent.
But as one of the first really popular scifi podio books it's a classic.
I also really enjoyed listening to the author.
His enthusiasm makes me want to listen to lots of other podio books in addition to his.
I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in SciFi and wants to get into podio books.
I am about to listen to Book 2 and I'm looking forward to it!

This is a fairly exciting story that does, however, strain credibility a bit too far.

A secret government program spent what I can only imagine were billions of dollars to construct a giant underground headquarters and staff that headquarters for three decades.
They have access to technology no one else has.
They have access to science no one else has.
They have something called "phantom level" security which even the president isn't allowed to know about.
After all this their greatest accomplishment has been to make seven clones of some guy and send them out into the world to live ordinary, pedestrian lives.

Of course, the apparent ordinaryness of their lives up to the start of the novel make it all the more dramatic when the seven are rounded up.
They are formed into a team that is supposed to take on the guy they were all cloned from.
He has some sort of evil plan, the full extent of which is not revealed even at the end of this novel.

That's another thing: doesn't anybody write selfcontained novels in the scifi genre anymore? It's always "Book One of the Exciting New Trilogy!!" I can understand that when you go to the trouble to create a whole world that you want to get as much use out of that as you can, but can we at least put a complete story arc between two covers? I've mixed feelings about this book.
I came across it via a PDF that someone produced that contained the first few chapters of several books.
After having read the first three chapters, I decided that it sounded good enough to buy.

Now that I've read it, I can't decide exactly how I feel.
Parts of it were what I was expecting, an actionthriller, not too complex, but interesting enough to be worth the time.
Other parts, though, I found quite annoying.
In many ways, this book reads as if the author knew up front that he was going to write multiple books in the series, and therefore didn't work too hard on character development.
This makes the main characters feel flat and the book read more like a very, very long trailer for the rest of the series than a selfcontained novel.

At this point, I don't regret having read it, but I'm not particularly interested in picking up anything else in the series.
Hutchin's "7th Son" starts with one hell of a hook and then never lets go.

When a fouryearold boy assisgnates the President of the United States, seven men are drawn together to try and help find the master mind.
The twistthey are all clones of the original mastermind, called John Alpha.
The seven John Smiths (each are named differently and have led radically different lives since being downloaded with Alpha's memories at age 14) must work together to stop Alpha before he can put the next step of his plan into action.

Part scifi novel, part pageturning thriller, "7th Son: Descent" is the first in a trilogy of stories from Hutchins.
Hutchins has updated and reworked some of the story from his original podcast presentation and the first novel is a stronger story because of it.
It's a fascinating premise and a great story with some compelling characters.

Just a quick reminder: I don't give 5 stars (well maybe once or twice a decade).
I'm stingy.
I'm mean.

So, on with the review.

7th Son: Descent by J.

Now, I haven't read all of this book.
I've only read the first 33 pages.
So I can make no comments about the book's overall structure, or character arcs, or subplots.

What I can comment about is the quality of the writing.

It is superb.

From a real kickass opening, unexpected metaphors and unusual word formations flow with assurance.
Characters are introduced with almost dizzying rapidity, yet each establishes his individuality, his own personality, rapidly and with great economy of prose.

The dialogue is believable, snappy; the internal thought processes consistent with the character thinking them.
Vignettes of their various normal lives are pointed enough to let us get an idea of what they were like before something happens to them.

Something unexpected.
Something horrifying.

The action sequencesand yes, there is plenty of action, from the prologue onare well executed and realistic.

The basic premise of the book is excellent.

All I can say is that I'm going to order a copy this weekthe print version comes out on the 27thand if the rest is as good as the start, I'll write another review, this one going up, perhaps to that fabled 5 star realm where only the literary giants dwell.

OK, hyperbole, but this book is really very, very good.

So, Mr.
Hutchins, or Chris if you prefer, excellent beginning.
I was hooked from the first page.

I'm happy to give it 4 stars.

PSI bear no relationship or affiliation with the author, and have not been offered any inducement of any nature to write this review, apart from a simple request that I do so.
I don't know if it's a requirement to make that statement yet, but I thought I'd make it clear anyway.

Previews and the first episode of the book can be seen at


The book details are: ISBN 978 0 312 38437 1

and it is available to order online from:

Barnes & Noble
Th Son, Book One: Descent
Written By JC Hutchins read By The Author
For More Information, Please Visit jchutchins
This Work Is Licensed Under A Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercialNoDerivsLicense