Extinction

 An extraordinary discovery in the Sahara desert will turn history on its head…

A series of unexplained phenomena create shockwaves across the globe – a huge religious statue moves its arm, and there’s a spate of floods and earthquakes. Many think it’s the end of the world…

Investigative journalist Alyssa Durham receives a call from an old friend claiming that these phenomena may not be entirely natural, but when he is assassinated in front of her, she finds herself on the run for her life.

Alyssa teams up with Jack Murray, a scientist from a secretive government research laboratory, to uncover the truth. But who wants them dead, and what are they trying to protect?

As chaos descends, Alyssa and Jack are drawn into a battle against an unknown enemy with the highest possible stakes, because one thing they’ve learnt is that nothing is safe from extinction…

Wow, this is a hard one to review.  On the one hand, it’s an utterly gripping thriller with some extremely clever parts and on the other it has the worst type of ending for me personally and I’m going to put that aside because it shouldn’t take away from the brilliance of this book.  It’s also hard not to spoil things as there are a few elements that I really want to shout excitedly about!

The story is extremely well written, engaging and emotional, and oh yes, very gory!  The characters are exceptional too, I especially loved Alyssa and was glad she wasn’t made out to be a wilting flower, given her job as an investigative journalist.

Apart from the prologue and epilogue, the pace is full on, have to keep turning the pages while on the edge of my seat.  You can easily see it being a blockbuster action film.

The twists.  Oh my goodness the twists.  I can’t talk about them because they really would spoil the book, but there are two that had my jaw on the floor.  One is outstanding, I didn’t see it coming and it had me in shocked tears.  The second manages to be both extremely clever and a little disappointing.  Clever in that it encompasses the entire book, the writing is part of it, and it wasn’t until after I’d reached the epilogue, that I then had to skim through the book again to make sure it was how I thought it was.  That aspect – stunning.  The disappointing part was that it was so improbable but it is a minor part of an otherwise fantastic book that still has me thinking about it, a week or so on from reading it.

The first book by J.T. Brennan I’ve read and it won’t be the last.  Even if he doesn’t cater to my ending preferences 😉

[book rating=4.5/5]

Book Information
  • Author: J.T. Brannan
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Existence

 My initial reaction when I finished Existence was OMG THAT WAS AWESOME!! but I don’t think that is quite objective enough so I will try and break it down a bit!

There are books that give you a warm happy glow at the end, ones that make you cry but understand how and why it had to happen that way.  Some make you angry because you don’t understand or feel that the author made a bad decision.  Existence has so many layers and is on such a completely different level that I’m struggling for words right now.  Satisfied, elated, saddened, optimistic, thoughtful?  There’s a start!

I’ve been glued to the book for the past two days and for some of that time I kept repeating to my husband, ‘I’m gripped and absorbed but still not sure what is actually going on’.  It’s not because it’s confusing but because of the clever way it’s written and the fact that the reader and the characters learn about what’s going on at the same pace.  It definitely feels like a shared journey.

The premise is very simple; is our existence guaranteed? Do we take it for granted and will we bring about our own destruction in some way?  In our endless search to know we aren’t alone in the universe, that we aren’t just a grand fluke, what would we do if we found proof?  And what would be do if that proof confirmed our greatest fears – that all technological civilisations die.

Do we accept that?  Do we go quietly into the night? Do we fight, try to change the inevitable?

Actually the premise isn’t very simple at all is it?

This book has gotten so thoroughly into my head that even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about what I’d read.

At first I found the seemingly disparate cast a little confusing but as the book progressed, it made increasingly more sense.  They aren’t people that are connected by family or associations in a traditional story sense, but by circumstances and a drive to solve the same problem. Each of the major cast were clearly defined and compelling in their own way.  However, David uses the characters as a vehicle for exploring the book’s premise, which doesn’t detract from my enjoyment or liking of them, but does make different reading to more traditional character driven stories.

I found the technology fascinating.  Existence is set in the near future, and I really enjoyed seeing David Brin’s vision of future technology.  Existence is a good blend between hard and soft science fiction, the science feels real but the book’s core philosophy is around the social and psychological impact of that science.

The story is interspersed with excerpts from fictional contemporary articles and books, which add flavour and help build the story. They provided a fascinating insight into the sociology of the time and probably has relevance today! Another nice touch I loved were references to real authors and books from our time, viewed by the characters in the book as historical pieces, and a few of those made me chuckle.

I’ve not read anything by David Brin since The Postman when I was in my late teens and I loved that book a lot.  I want to go and read his back-list now because his ‘voice’ is such a powerful one and he has a very clean, clear way of writing that even a pulp fiction junkie like me can understand.

Thought provoking but mind-blowing sci-fi at its very best.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: David Brin
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