3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Different and engaging read, an excellent debut.,
This review is from: The End Specialist (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I picked up this novel as I enjoy reading first novels from authors and also because the subject matter intrigued me - what if science could find a way to stop the ageing process? On both counts I was pleased I picked this novel as I found the author had an engaging style and he has some interesting insights into just how strange life could become if we could stay young forever. After all, who hasn't contemplated cheating death and avoiding that step into the great unknown that faces all of us.
As a subject the cutting edge of science as regards DNA is fascinating to me. The ability of science to unravel what it is within each of us that controls our resistance to disease, the colour of our hair and every other detail that determines our physical being. So why not extrapolate that to the ability to track down the particular parts of our DNA that stop us getting older? A great idea and this novel takes us from the discovery through the moral debate of if 'the cure' should be allowed to the reactionary groups who both love and hate the fact that someone can choose never to get a day older. The central character, John Farrell, is not someone you are going to feel great about, or at least I never found myself completely behind him and quite often wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him up, but for me this is a far tougher trick for a writer to pull off than drawing a purely sympathetic character who readers will be completely in cahoots with. The technique of writing the novel as extracts from a recently found 'diary', interspersed with newspaper articles and message board posts, keeps it interesting and adds to the immersive feeling of being taken through an alternate future.
There were some down points. I found the pace of the middle section a bit too slow, and at times the peripheral characters were quite thin and not really developed. Some of the plot felt a bit undeveloped but this was not a frequent issue and for the most part it was a strong and well written novel.
As a debut I think this is a really strong outing and Drew Magary has put together a really good novel here. I will definitely look forward to more from him. As a next subject if I could suggest a story where we see an end to that other great certainty in the world, taxes. Highly recommended.