The Gaia Effect Paperback – 8 Dec 2016
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Top customer reviews
By Kate Bentley
Ok, ok, I'll come clean from the start... I know the author, in fact she's a rather wonderful friend. Which actually makes it all the more daunting when you hear the words "I've written a book! And it's been published" And you know you're going to have to read it and you hope to all the gods that you're going to enjoy it.
So I let out a huge sigh of relief when after the first few pages I was not only getting into it, but I was hooked! It helps that I like the sci-fi / fantasy genre, however I think that even if it weren't your natural subject choice you'd enjoy it nonetheless.
The story holds your attention, the pace is good and keeps you turning pages, you connect with the characters and there's enough description to get a real feel what what this futuristic world is like - without feeling like you're being bombarded with information. There's some real emotion in there too, I cried ...but I'm not telling you any more than that! No spoilers here!
I'd definitely recommend this book, it's a brilliant start to what I think will be a fantastic career as an author. Very much looking forward to her next book "The Rose Thief" 😁
As an authors debut novel this is certainly worth the 5 stars I have given it.
I enjoyed the story and the mix of characters. I'm looking forward to where the story goes as the world expands and will be buying the next installment for certain.
Also Sweeps are a genius idea!
City 42 is a domed enclosure where the remnants of humanity can live safe from the uninhabitable world outside. It is run by the Corporation for the benefit of all. Jed and Kira want to become parents so, of course, they apply to be given a baby and are delighted when their parental status is approved. But what is odd is that, although it is common knowledge it shouldn't happen since everyone was left sterile by radiation, three of their friends fall pregnant in the old fashioned way. They set out to try and find what is really going on and in so doing uncover an intricate web of lies woven around their entire society.
This is a well written and engaging futuristic dystopia which is kind of as if Margret Attwood met George Orwell and they sat down together to conceive a plot. The addition of a powerful supernatural element is uplifting and - unlike most dystopias - so is the ending. I am not a fan of the genre, but this one is very well done and very well written, so much that it made me forget my prejudices. Using extensions of modern technology in ways that help create a grounding sense of reality, whilst also opening the door to a more spiritual dimension.
'The med-tech had told her that changes in her magnetic auras due to the pregnancy could affect her implants, and as some of the tech was in beta test, there were still kinks in the software.'
The strength of this book is in its characters. They are all believable and engaging, very well written. The pace is maintained well throughout with the right amount of tension kept for most of the book. The world building is excellent, drawing convincingly on modern technology and projecting developments in a way that makes it easy for the reader to relate to. I particularly like the way the future of social media is is explored.
The dialogue is generally very well written and convincing, which is a good thing as a lot of the story is progressed through dialogue. There are some interesting references and symbols as well. I did wonder if the use of a bee was inspired by the Merovingians or 'The Secret World', or referencing the ancient Greek belief in the bee as a link between nature and the underworld maybe, or simply a symbol of nature and pollination. Oh - and if you ever wondered if there is something in the water, there really is!
“It's a bit odd that they all know each other isn't it?”
So what is not to like? For me not very much at all and the two things I found irritating another reader might not. The way the point of view hovered around at times was a bit distancing and distracting. It even seemed to shift to third person plural here and there and as a result, I sometimes felt as though I was watching it on TV rather than living it with the characters. Also for me, personally, sometimes things were a tiny bit too convenient. The set-up of Jed and Kyra's friends and their occupations and contacts, for example. A pre-existing social group that just happens to have the contacts/jobs they need. But neither of these was enough to spoil what I found to be a thundering good read.
I can't finish this review without mentioning the utterly awesome cover which I would love, poster-sized on my wall. It is worth an extra star on its own and is what confirmed me in my final rating. If you are a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre and want something different which is rooted in hope and gives insight and ideas, rather than diving ever deeper into apathy and despair, this is a must-read.
Not only that but she wanted more too - which has to be a good sign. She said it was like walking into a movie 20 minutes in and wishing she had more of the back story.
When I finally wrestled the book from her grasp, I really enjoyed the tale. Let's set the scene - we're in a future where babies are collected, not born, and where becoming pregnant is an impossibility. An impossibility that comes to pass, pitching a group of friends in the middle of a battle between the Corporation that runs society, and those who would resist it.
There's a very realistic feel to the nature of the friendships at the heart of the book, as they face up to the situation they find themselves in. As the strict order of society begins to unravel in the wake of the revelation of a pregnancy, science and mysticism both play a part in the ongoing story. Is it Gaia playing her part? Or simple science?
Honestly, it's a really enjoyable tale - and one I thoroughly recommend. As for my wife? She hollers over that she wants a sequel. If one comes along, I'll be sure to read it first before I tell her it's on my Kindle.
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