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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 7 January 2013
What a strange book. Having kids control adults and make them commit sabotage is spooky. Having kids actually committing murder goes beyond that.

Our protagonist, Hesketh Lock, is as strange as the kids. His inability to understand human relationships (or to actually be a constructive part of a relationship) is offset by his ability to find patterns and trends in series of events. He constructs origami figures both literally and figuratively to isolate himself from other people. He constructs Venn diagrams to organize data and make connections between those events.

His one relationship is with the son, Freddy - actually the son of his ex. Freddy and Hesketh have some ability to communicate with each other. But, that could change.

The violence and accidents and deaths are somehow being caused by the younger members of society. How and why this is so is the thrust of the book.

This book is quite different from the normal fare and would appeal most to those who like new takes on old themes.

I found it to be disturbing but quite well written. I'll check into other books by Jensen.

(Disclosure: I received an Advance Readers Copy from the Amazon US Vine program.)
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on 8 March 2014
The Uninvited by Liz Jenson

This book could have been written by Dean Koontz, or maybe James Herbert. Not having read Liz Jenson before I cannot comment on it in the context of her other books
The Uninvited is a kind of dystopian, kind of pre-apocalyptical, kind of sci-fi, part psychological thriller and very difficult to pin down to one genre.
Children suddenly turning into murderers, for no apparent reason, is not a new theme but it is always disturbing. As the number of incidents escalates, coinciding with an outbreak of gross acts of corporate sabotage followed by suicide, the norms and structures of modern life quickly break down, highlighting how feeble they really are, and all too credibly!
The central character, Hesketh Lock, works well. Asperger's syndrome governs his perspective, his ability to see patterns and his capacity for distancing himself and avoiding the superstitious responses that surface so very quickly when mere mortals are faced with dysfunctional society and things they cannot understand.
If you like all the i's dotted and the t's crossed you may find the ending a bit disappointing but I found this a thoroughly good read, thought provoking on several levels.
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on 6 July 2012
Liz Jensen's latest offering, The Uninvited, is part thriller, part social commentary, with a bit of science and religion thrown in. I'm not normally in to science-y things but having been a fan of her previous works I decided to give it a go - and I am so glad that I did! I suspect Jensen has yet another hit on her hands. This is a more serious novel, in the vein of her last book, the Rapture, but it still has her natural sprinkling of comedy, particularly in the characterisation of Hesketh, who is the novel's brilliantly drawn protagonist, and it's through his eyes that we witness sinister and evil goings-on. All around the world, adults are suddenly and randomly committing acts of mass sabotage whilst children are engaging in shocking acts of violence, ultimately leading to the questioning and breakdown of everything as we know it. Even though the story was a bit scary (for me) in places, I was unable to put the book down and had to keep on going till the end. What's even scarier than the story is the very real notion that this new world Jensen describes as evolving might actually be on the cards for us in the future. The science managed to be both challenging yet easy to digest, with has echoes of Margaret Atwood for me. Jensen's characters are totally believable and get right under your skin, particularly Hesketh and his step-son Freddy.

I absolutely loved The Uninvited, and therefore I urge you to read it! I can't wait to read it again.
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on 21 July 2014
There were a number of things I really liked about this book. First of all was the depth of the lead character who had Asperger's syndrome. The author had a very good insight of this condition and used this as part of her narrative, in fact it was central to the character and his setting.
The suspense and build up was also excellent - at the start we are given just enough hints of something bigger and these build through the story, making you want to read on and learn about the bigger picture.
In common with other reviewers, the ending isn't what I would have hoped for and for that reason I gave four stars rather than five. I felt like the ending was a little bit of a cop-out but then that's because I like clean, happy and resolved endings and not open ended or fuzzy ones like this.
I would still recommend this book to others - I enjoyed reading it and finished it in a relatively short amount of time.
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on 19 February 2015
For I already own Rapture and Nine Lives of Luis Drax from this author,I decided to give this one a try.And it took only couple days to be delivered since the order has been placed.Much appreciated...
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on 13 April 2016
An unsettling, cautionary story of the excesses of development and the potential cost to mankind. Having never read a truly "disturbing" book, I picked up The Uninvited with some trepidation. The experience was overwhelmingly rewarding - provoking just the right amount of thoughtful anxiety to compel me to keep reading. Jensen's depth and breadth of understanding of topics ranging from Behavioral Psychology and Anthropology to Aspergers Syndrome and origami is surpassed only by her ability to clearly identify and subtly weave details of these topics into a narrative and protagonist of the first order. Take it on - a rare read!
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on 1 February 2013
This is a mixture of Sci-fi and horror, of people committing suicide for no apparent reason.The main character,Hesketh,who has Aspergers is asked to look into the things that are happening.He is able to study and analyse things differently and more successfully because of how he is. I found this such a good read,very well written as this author does with all her books.You do not have to read to the end to find out what is happening,this is obvious from the start it is more like why it is happening.As i have said this is a good read, a book well worth buying if you like Sci-fi.then put this on your list.
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on 21 August 2013
I could not put this book down. The main character had me hooked at his way of thinking aloof crazy and brilliant all at the same time and had me laughing and despairing at the same time. He has you trotting along side him as he sees the world fall apart all around us and has you hoping for the best outcome for him and his ways. Great end of the world as we know it a must read.
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on 23 July 2012
This is a novel that not only grips but has grasp. The author convinces us early on of her mastery of many aspects of the complex modern world: the trade in illegal timber in the Far East that is doing massive damage to the environment, the construction industry boom that is transforming the Gulf, and the bizarre world of international business consultancy in which the novel's narrator earns his living. All of that is fascinating in itself and a reader is always captivated by a writer who illuminates with authority the complexities of our global economy. But as the narrator moves from continent to continent - Taipei, Stockholm, Dubai - investigating a number of extraordinary events, the reader gradually starts to see what the novel's real subject is. More quickly, perhaps, than the narrator himself, we perceive links between those occurrences and then further connections with an outbreak of murders by children taking place all over the world. And yet they are links that defy logic and the premises of modern science. Brilliantly, the author has chosen a narrator who, because he has Asperger's, is ill-equipped to understand what is happening. His desire for logical explanations of everything is illustrated by his obsession with origami: the attempt to reduce the complexity of living things to geometrical shapes. And although he can form strong emotional bonds, he is inept at understanding the inner lives of those around him. All of that makes it hard for him to comprehend that what is happening is that, in an allusion to Lovelock's "Gaia Hypothesis", our battered, abused, and exhausted planet is responding to the threat that mankind represents in a terrifying manner. The novel becomes gripping as the reader anticipates the danger in the narrator's own domestic life before he does and watches him sleepwalking into disaster. And that is the author's point, I take it: that mankind is heading with wilful blindness into a catastrophe. The novelist's insight into the realities of the international economy established in the first half of the novel, makes her warning all the more persuasive. This is a highly intelligent novel of ideas that also succeeds as a page-turning thriller.
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When a seven year old kills her grandmother and blinds her father with a nail-gun, it is considered a tragic, yet isolated incident. Hesketh Lock works for a company that investigates corporate sabotage and is sent to Taiwan to unearth a whistle-blower at a timber plant. The man in question is a loyal employee and claims he was forced into it. His behaviour is bizarre and he speaks of the Hungry Ghosts and starving children. A few days later he commits suicide. But Sunny Chen is only the first, as Hesketh continues his work, a pattern starts to emerge, and if there's one thing he's good at, it's finding patterns in human behaviour.

Hesketh has Asperger's and it was refreshing to see this in an adult character. It has become a bit of a literary device to allow child narrators to be a bit cleverer and more interesting than the more average child. His lack of social skills are shown in his failed relationship with Kaitlin, his resulting one-night stands and even that his closest relationship is with his young stepson, Freddy. His logical manner of thinking and lack of deceit, make him the perfect candidate for his job and his tendency to go off on a tangent helps, rather than hinders, the narrative. One of his coping mechanisms is to fold origami, both focussing his mind but also in awkward situations, a small gift of origami seems to be the perfect gesture.

The concept of children turning again their parents may be a shocking one but it does raise a lot of questions. Children are never seen as a threat. What would you do in such circumstances, if you couldn't sleep in your own home for fear of your child? Hesketh is desperate to be a father figure for Freddy even though they are not related and despite everything, he doesn't want to give up on him. I began to find the children genuinely creepy.

The ending seems to tail off a bit but I loved the character of Hesketh, I could have kept on reading whatever else was going on. I'm not sure there will be enough of an explanation for some readers but I'm not going to give you any clues! As with The Rapture, Liz Jensen explores the factors that could lead to the end of our world as we know it.
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