The Renewables by Chuck Van Soye is a Contemporary Fantasy novel. I received an electronic copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This novel centers on an elderly couple named Clay and Jennie Evans. The story begins with them celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary with a trip to Florida. At the ages of 81 and 78, they are definitely not as spry as they once were.
The couple decides to visit the legendary ‘Fountain of Youth’ where Clay stumbles and falls into the fountain. When he awakes the next day he has been reborn into the body of a teenager. Needless to say, this freaks out both himself and his wife. However, she is still in her 78 year old body, so they devise a plan to immerse her in the fountain as well. After an unnecessarily complicated plan and it’s successful execution, Jennie is also reborn into her youthful body.
This story then follows the couple as they go on a philanthropic visit to install a well in a remote African village and as they set out to determine how their accidental discovery might be used to help all of mankind.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT – STOP READING NOW IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO READ SPOILERS!
While I thoroughly enjoyed this story, there were a few places where it stretched the bounds of believability to the breaking point. When Clay must prove to the legal system that he really is an 81 year old man in the body of a 19 year old they seem to accept the DNA and other evidence almost too readily. And, the fact that this miracle never made it into the media is completely unbelievable. We live in a time where even the most mundane things make the news, the regeneration of a person’s youth would definitely become a media circus. Also, when they meet their grown children, they too seem to accept the change in their parents too easily. To believe that their teenage grandson did not immediately start texting his friends, or post a video on YouTube or Instagram is simply unbelievable. I have teenage sons and there is no way they would be able to resist posting something so incredible and unbelievable. I understand that the author did not want to dwell on these issues for the sake of moving the story along, however, if they had become media curiosities and escaped into Africa to try to get away from the media frenzy it would have added more credibility to the story.
The other issue I had with this book was the addition of the Jihadists. Even after finishing the book I am unsure as to why they were included in the plot at all. If it was because of the theft they undertake, this could have just as easily been done by someone from another village. The inclusion of terrorists into this story was unnecessary in my opinion.
Despite the issues listed above, I enjoyed this story and thought that it was interesting and definitely different from other books of the same topic. People have been seeking the Fountain of Life for hundreds of years and the fascination with being able to restore one’s youth will never die.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For more information about Chuck Van Soye visit http://www.keywestwritersguild.org/chuck-van-soye/