It takes imagination and sound scientific knowledge to invent an entirely new form of monstrous antagonist in a science fiction novel, and Eric Malikyte has both in quantity.
This is a book that manages to engage the reader despite the self-imposed social isolation of the main protagonist and narrator. Other characters in the book are initially much easier to empathise with, but, as the story progresses, the reasons behind the narrator’s remote stance becomes clear, engendering sympathy and a degree of empathy for him, too.
The story is steeped in science, some of which I admit was a little beyond my knowledge level. I was nevertheless able to follow events, since the author’s descriptive powers provide enough clues to the quantum physics and mechanics and black matter to allow the average reader to understand enough to get by.
The action is driven by the characters, and there are times when the reader is compelled to join the narrator in his despair at the obstinacy and stupidity of the people he’s desperately trying to save.
There is also a thoughtful and pointed subtext relating to religion, which I found both relevant and well presented.
A well-written story, peopled by credible characters and the most monstrous monsters I’ve come across in a long time (watch out for nightmares!). Set realistically on Mars, a planet I know relatively well from my own writing and research, the book portrays the hunger for recognition and the danger of scientific ambition pursued blindly. There is a lot more than a simple horror story here. Imagination, analogy and interwoven themes of love, loss, ignorance and betrayal lift this novel well above the average level of the genre.
A great and compelling read.
I wrote this review based on an advance reading copy that the author sent me.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]