If you don't fancy reading my entire review then I'll cut to the chase right now - this is a damn good read, entertaining with a rich assortment of ideas, twists, characters and stunning visuals.
It starts very well, amazing in fact. The opening scenes with Alex are beautifully descriptive and Morgan's writing is effective in engaging my senses and keeping the pages turning.
Until the flow gets going there is a disjointed feeling, not knowing quite who I was supposed to be following. Part of me thought this was sloppy writing, but looking back I can see this was done on purpose.
The switching back and forth between Alex and Michael is jarring and somewhat bewildering for the characters and it had the same impact on me. It was done to keep the reader engaged and asking questions, anticipating the moment when the plot connects the dots.
The story moves at a brisk pace, never stopping too long in one place, but not at the expense of decent description which is rich and vivid throughout.
I would have liked Michaels strange and unexpected power to be explored more, possibly even used to in a positive way. I suspect there might be a reason for that, perhaps the second book will shed light on that aspect.
The concept is very good, with some fabulous tense "look over your shoulder!" moments. The opening scenes are amazing, I can't stress that enough.
And the end of Chapter 21 is awesome. A fantastic way to keep a reader wanting more, a full on cliff hanger that forced me to keep reading even after my bed time alarm had screeched at me yet again!
The idea of an Ark in space is very good, and the prospect of whatever nasties lurking inside coming back to Earth is scary, though the impact and implications of that miss the mark just a fraction. In order to care about the fate of someone, even an entire population, the reader needs to know more about them first.
The twists and turns were nicely done, and I love that "Ah, I knew it!" feeling, or indeed the opposite "Oh man, I didn't see that coming!"
This is the sort of story I'd love to read more of in a sequel. What happened next? Who dies and who survives? Is there a reason why? And so on. Lots of questions I'm sure can easily fill a sequel.
I recommend this to anyone keen on reading a strange yet satisfying blend of zombie, apocalypse, matrix (sort of - or virtual world), sci-fi style genre.
There are chapters to the sequel, Vessel, on Andrew Morgan's website, which is where I'm heading now!