I bought a used copy of this book in hardback, following some very good reviews around the blogs. It has taken me some time to get through it, with 480 pages, and a weighty ‘real’ book to prop up at bedtime.
Thinking of this review, I am left wondering ‘where do I start?’
This is a book about writing a book. Publishing that book, and what happens after that. The bulk of it is presented as the research done by that author, alongside news reports, survivor’s testimony, and interviews with people who knew other characters. It uses whole chapters of ‘text speak’ to show teenagers conversing, and others that are transcribed from taped conversations. Although this adds a very complex structure, it is never once confusing, and everything is in context throughout. Here is an online synopsis.
They’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to–
The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)
Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.
There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.
The message is a warning.
So, is it a science fiction book? Sort of.
An investigative thriller? Sort of.
A doomsday scenario? Sort of.
A dystopian tale? Sort of.
It seems from reviews that it is each of these to some readers, and all of those to many too. With global action switching from Japan to South Africa, Britain to the United States, it is certainly an ambitious book, with immense scope. It feels meticulously researched, much like the way the character who is writing the book inside this novel researches her story. There are androids, spooky children, bitchy men and women, and Christian cults in America. The Biblical references are many, and the culture of modern-day Japan and South Africa is examined too.
Suffice to say, there is a lot going on. But it certainly held my attention.
It also has one really great last page.
But all the way through, I couldn’t help but feel there would never be any conclusion. I suspected a sequel was in the works, and possibly a dramatic adaptation too. That made it difficult for me to get completely immersed, as much as I would have liked to.
No surprise then to discover a sequel is available now, and that the BBC is adapting this book into a TV serial.
This is currently only 99p in the UK, for the Kindle version. (As opposed to £14.99 for the original hardback)
If it sounds like your thing, here are some links.