Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fragment Review

Fragment by Warren Fahy

(from the book jacket)
In this powerhouse of suspense - as brilliantly imagined as Jurassic Park and The Ruins - scientists have made a startling discovery: a fragment of a lost continent, an island with an ecosystem unlike any they've seen before... an ecosystem that could topple ours like a house of cards.

The time is now. The place is the Trident, a long-range research vessel hired by the reality TV show Sealife. Aboard is a cast of ambitious young scientists. With a director dying for drama, tiny Henders Island might just be what the show needs. Until the first scientist sets foot on Henders - and the ultimate test of survival begins...

For when they reach the island's shores, scientists are utterly unprepared for what they find - creatures unlike any ever recorded in natural history. This is not a lost world frozen in time, an island of mutants, or a lab where science has gone mad: this is the earth as it might have looked after evolving on a separate path for half a billion years...

Soon the scientists will stumble on something more shocking than anything humanity has ever encountered: because among the terrors of Henders Island, one life form defies any scientific theory - and must be saved at any cost.

This book switches between periods of frenzied action and times of longwinded lectures. I don’t mind a little real science in my books but there were times in the book when we are literally listening to someone give a lecture and other times when certain things are being explained that tend to get long and sometimes get rather technical and then slip into boring and made me lose interest. And although much of the information provided does have something to do with the plot it is minimal in most cases and far more in-depth then it needed to be so wading through all this information was not necessary or rewarded in any way. And then we would be thrown into a scene of extreme violence where death and mayhem are everywhere and everyone and everything is fighting for their life. There are long scenes of people fleeing, bumping into one terror after the other that also starts to get boring after a while. Some of the scenes just go on too long. The danger is so constant and so violent and so much that it becomes hard to believe it is possible. In fairness to the book I think that was part of the point, that this ecosystem is completely different from anything else on earth and far from anything anyone could imagine but you really have to be willing to suspend your disbelief for this concept to work. The characters are hard to keep track of because they are not very well developed and some of them become interchangeable and so when the romance shows up it doesn’t add anything and seems almost out of place. And because the book goes from extreme to extreme so abruptly there is a lack of flow; there is a disconnect between the science and the action so they never really work well together. There are some great descriptions of the creatures and the drawings in the back are fun too. There are plenty of monsters and monster fights to keep any creature feature lover happy. It is a fast read that can be an adventure that you don’t have to think about too much. Unfortunately the surprise at the end is not much of a surprise and it does not have the bang that the tension and action of the rest of the book seems to promise.

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