Book Review: Conquest by Vik Rubenfeld

Conquest examines the exciting, yet often dark world of life in a rock band through the eyes of Reid Taylor. Reid discovers that the road to success is paved with drugs, groupies, self-doubt and tragedy.

Conquest begins with a powerful opening: “I’m about to tell you two stories.  One led to sorrow and heartbreak. The other led to joy and triumph.  I never would have thought my life would hold so much of both.”  With these words, Vik Rubenfeld sets the tone for the unpredictable and emotional journey that follows.

Reid Taylor, the main protagonist, is real and intense and as Rubenfeld points out “like a tank on a battlefield” who just “keeps going” regardless of the madness swirling around him. We first meet Reid at a low point in his personal life. But, when he auditions and then gets chosen for an up and coming rock band, his desire for professional success is soon realized. You can feel the energy of the band permeating throughout this book. Fellow band members Barry, Clay and Link enrich Conquest’s narrative.

Rubenfeld breaths life into these men by not being afraid to expose their imperfections for the reader. They are hungry for success, yet make questionable choices. The women in their lives are equally interesting and flawed.

In addition, Conquest is divided into a Table of Contents with thought-provoking chapter titles such as Serious Intense, It Filled Me With Rage and The Tunnel.  These titles effectively capture the reader’s attention and subsequently rewards the reader’s commitment to embark on Reid’s journey.

Further, foreshadowing is used, but this literary device doesn’t detract from the story.

Finally, Rubenfeld’s writing style is refreshingly honest, almost poetic at times like when he  wrote “the misery is sitting on me like a wrestler that’s got another wrestler pinned.”

I highly recommend Conquest. It is a book with characters that the reader will remember for a long time to come.

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