Review: Prelude to an Empire by Terry J. Benton

Today I am thrilled to present a truly unique work: Prelude to an Empire by Terry J. Benton. 

The Review: 

In an emotional roller coaster ride, this book takes you through a child’s growing up and discovering himself as he passes through university and into the working world.  With an engaging first person point of view provided by Russell, we get to see his life as navigates the perils of this life.

In a form that feels more like a memoir and less like a fictional story, much to the author’s credit, this story follows the highs and lows of this young man’s life as he matures and learns to become a man, not just a son, brother, stand in father or substitute man of the house for his obviously broken yet still functioning mother.

With an eye for detailing the strength and determination of this young man coming to terms with his life and himself, Benton has created a character that is worth admiration and appreciation, and one that will impact you long after the last page has turned.  Fortunately, this is not to be the last of Russell’s story, and I look forward to seeing what the next 12 years will bring him.

Review: Prelude to an Empire by Terry J. Benton

Title: Prelude to an Empire
Author: Terry J. Benton
Genre: African-American, Literary Fiction /Family Saga, Urban
Published by: Self-Published
Source: Author
Pages: 336
Rated: five-stars
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"At 23, how the hell did I get to this point?" Russell Wright asks himself as he sits in his car with a handful of pills, ready to commit suicide. Russell's life has been a roller coaster ride for as long as he can remember and today he wants to get off - "forever."

While growing up in rural Georgia, Russell shares an unusual friendship with his mother, Charlene Wright. Charlene and Russell bond over their private struggle with Russell's abusive father - a situation that climaxes the night that Russell's father tries to murder their entire family.
As if things weren't bad enough with his family issues, Russell has to endure relentless bullying surrounding suspicions about his sexuality - something he has yet to determine for himself. As a result of bullying and conflict with his spirituality, Russell's personal growth is hindered and he struggles to find himself and his place in the world.

The one bright spot in Russell's life is his best friend, Mercedes. She is beautiful, a diva, and sometimes a bit too ghetto - but most importantly, she provides comedic relief, strength, and support for Russell... and she's also a lesbian. Russell and Mercedes' relationship strengthens over her struggle for acceptance of her lifestyle and they vow to be best friends forever - until they leave for college and their friendship takes a dramatic turn for the worst.

As Russell's story progresses, he fights to understand himself and the motives of the people in his life, as he experiences the lows and highs of friendships and relationships. In the end, this powerful and dramatic journey comes full circle to resolve the issue of whether he will indeed end his life.

A copy of this title was provided via Author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Terry J. Benton

Terry J. Benton grew up in the small town of Sylvania, Georgia. Terry’s true passion lies in books. As an escape from the stresses of the workplace, he would often peruse the aisles of the local Barnes & Noble on his lunch breaks (when he wasn’t engrossed in a good novel). His favorite books include The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, and His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman.

With such an immense love for reading and storytelling, it was only a matter of time before Terry embarked upon a project to write his first novel, Prelude to an Empire in 2011. It was on the day when he began this project that he truly understood what “fulfillment” meant; and since then his only regret was that he didn’t start writing sooner. Terry hopes to one day become a repeat New York Times Bestselling Author and also plans to break into the Children’s Fantasy genre next.