Review by Booklist Review
In his latest, Thomas (The Clarity, 2018) chronicles the end of mankind as we know it. In the story within a story, he is a journalist uncovering the behind-the-scenes events that happened after astronomer Dahlia Mitchell discovered the Pulse while working late in an observatory. The Pulse is an answer to a 1970s message in a bottle, proof that we are not alone in the universe. Using a mixture of transcripts, interviews, and Dahlia's previously unpublished journal entries, Thomas tells the "oral history," as he refers to it, of the days leading up to the Finality and its aftermath. It's an unconventional format, but it serves the story well. Readers will be fascinated by the insights into the Elevated as those affected by the Pulse are called and Dahlia's thoughts and motivations. Conspiracy theorists will love the allusions to the unresolved issues that the government did not adequately address. This unusual post-apocalyptic novel is enjoyable to read and emphasizes that above all else, no matter what happens, humanity will carry on.--Carrie Rasak Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This bittersweet saga of first contact with aliens takes the form of a journalistic account of an extraterrestrial signal that alters 30% of the human race, told from the perspective of the 70% "left behind." Dahlia Mitchell, a struggling astronomer working on dark matter, intercepts a coded radio transmission from outside the Milky Way galaxy and recognizes its significance. Enlisting an ex-boyfriend who's an NSA analyst, she gains the attention of the U.S. government, which is already starting to worry over reports of strange abilities and conditions manifesting among widely dispersed people. As the genetic tinkering, called the Elevation, spreads worldwide, Dahlia communicates with the aliens and becomes their spokesperson, trying to allay the mounting panic as the Elevated continue to change and prepare to depart for the alien homeworld. Thomas (The Clarity) structures his tale as a series of transcripts, interviews, and journal entries, all footnoted. The documentary conceit lends both an air of believability (critical in a work that is littered with conspiracy theories, past and present) and a sense of tragic but not unwelcome inevitability. Thomas does little to explore the tension between two human fears-being alone in the universe and being meddled with by outside forces-and the integration of conspiracy theories doesn't always work, but on a more personal level, this story has powerful resonance. It's not quite World War Z in space, but this creative take on the first contact novel will satisfy UFO seekers and nostalgic X-Files fans. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
This novel of first contact is packaged as a serious nonfiction account of events that begin in the year 2023, when astronomer Dahlia Mitchell first intercepts a signal from deep space known as the Pulse. With copious footnotes and interview transcripts, it describes the events of the Pulse and how that signal came to alter the very nature of humanity. From the start, Thomas (The Clarity) lets readers know that the Pulse brought genetic changes that result in global disaster. He builds a sense of dread by walking us through the events as they occur, mostly via the lens of the politicians whose job it was to spin tales to the public, alongside journal entries from Dahlia Mitchell, one of the first to experience the transformative effects of the Pulse. VERDICT The documentary approach causes some emotional distance, and the sheer amount of footnotes slows reader engagement, but there is plenty of narrative tension to keep the pages turning. Recommended for fans of Sylvain Neuvel's Sleeping Giants or Max Brooks's World War Z.--Megan M. McArdle, Lib. of Congress, National Lib. Svc. for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
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