7th Son: Descent - 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:

1. The cloning idea was interesting.
2. 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)

1. 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 four-year-old child killing the president and shouting obscenities and then hop into the post-coital 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 to-read shelf, I would never have pushed myself to get past this incredibly weird beginning.
2. Stereotypical characters. Every. Single. Character. 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 "free-floating" musician. Bartender and self-proclaimed "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 military-ish 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.
Kilroy2.0: 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 wuss--I 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 pot-belly, 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.
Dr. Mike: Criminologist occasionally called a "politician" for whatever reason. He's loud, obnoxious and unlikeable. Oh, and he doesn't have a sig-o, 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+ year-old 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). Atrocious.
3. 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!
4. 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 in-book time is a whopping one day, I, as a reader, am sick of reading about all this made-up science and canyon deep plot holes!! Let's get to the thriller part already!
5. 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.
6. 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. Laughable. And then, when John Alpha leaves a second clue (this time five months prior), I have to go, "Huh?! What is THIS all about?!"
7. 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 UNIMAGINATIVE--why can't we have Soviet baddies or VietCong evil doers?). Every scene with him or Devlin is groan-worthy (and what is the POINT of including them, anyway???). I could have identified the "bad guys" in a blind line-up just by the way they talked and acted!
8. 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 sig-o 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!!
9. Michael the Marine. So I don't have a problem that he's gay. I do have a problem that he so easy-going 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.
10. 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 mind-bashingly 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 mind-numbing 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 f-bombs, particularly by Dr. Mike. 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 four-year-old.