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Book Review: Fragment by Warren Fahy (Series, #1)

Insectile appendage in front of ocean.Summary:
When the floating reality tv show SeaLife receives a distress beacon coming from a remote island, it looks like their ratings are going to improve.  Henders Island has not been visited since the 1700s, and the scientists aboard the Trident are excited at the possible new species they could find.  Unfortunately, the species aren’t as benign as they thought.

Review:
This was recommended to me by a couple of friends who know I’m a huge Michael Crichton fan as a Crichton-esque reading experience.  I can definitely say that this falls solidly in the hard, plausible scifi genre that has been so empty since Crichton’s passing.

Fahy takes the concept of an island splitting off from the rest of civilization and evolving separately and runs with it.  The creatures he comes up with are fantastic and frightening yet simultaneously plausible, which is part of what makes the thrills so thrilling. Similar to Crichton, there are long passages of science explained at a level easily understandable by anyone with a high school diploma.  Also, there are passages that at first seem unimportant but later are revealed to be connected and important.

The characterization is strong enough for a thriller of this sort, although that of the main characters could be a bit stronger.  Everyone is easy to tell apart, however, and their motivations are clear, something that can be difficult to pull off at the fast pace of a thriller.  In future writings, I do hope that Fahy’s main characters will be a bit more well-rounded, however.

The pacing is a bit bumpy with some passages that remove the previously built-up suspense.  Although this was necessary to explain the science, it does seem that it could have been worked in more smoothly.  The last quarter of the book, however, is paced perfectly with no interruptions and just the right amount of suspense.

One of the highlights of the book is definitely the inclusion of the reality tv show.  It lends it a current real vibe.  Things are recorded as they happen.  The world sort of knows what’s going on, but not quite.  The military has to get involved.  Everything reads as very plausible and realistically connected to how the modern world actually works.  Plus the scenes involving the reality tv producers are just good comic relief.

I absolutely plan on reading Fahy’s future works, and definitely recommend this to fans of Crichton style scifi.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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Reading Challenge: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril

September 2, 2010 16 comments

Woman in green hue.I love horror.  Love love love it.  I know a lot of readers don’t.  They say it scares them too much or keeps them awake at night.  The thing is, I used to be one of those readers!  I used to avoid horror because when I was younger horror would absolutely petrify me for weeks on end.  I’d think every squeak my old house would make was the boogey-man coming to get me.  But then I decided, “Enough of this shit!  I’m letting my fears get in the way of an entire genre.”  So I dabbled my toes, then I jumped in, and now it’s one of my favorite genres.  Horror lets me get lost in a world where it’s ok to be scared and supernatural things occur and I basically get to watch car crashes repeatedly.  It’s awesome.  The whole genre.  I can’t believe how much I’d be missing if I’d continued to avoid it!  For instance: Zombies. Tree porn. Everything Stephen King ever wrote.  You get my point.

Anyway, so when I saw via Chris at Book-a-rama that Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting a mystery/suspense/thriller/dark fantasy/gothic/horror/supernatural reading challenge for the spooky fall months of September and October entitled R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, I knew I wanted to sign up.  Not that I won’t be reading horror for these two months anyway, but I thought if I signed  up, it’d alert you guys to the challenge.  Maybe one of my lovely readers is tentative about one of those genres?  Well this is the perfect opportunity to stretch your boundaries!  Plus you’ll be in the company of a lovely bunch of people for a couple months to do it.

Of course, that’s my other reason for participating.  I want to virtually meet other book lovers who are reading horror!

Originally, in light of the fact that I try to keep my reading unstructured and fun, I was going to sign up for one of the lower levels of the challenge….then I saw how much of my TBR pile fits! Lol, so I’m signing up for the Peril the First level: read four books that fit into any of the genres I mentioned above.

My potential reads for the challenge (direct from my TBR pile) include:

I hope you’ll sign up and do the challenge with me!  Especially if you’re afraid of horror.  You can sign up for one of the lower levels and just dip your toe in. 🙂

Any votes for which four out of my list I should read?