The Cleansing (Earth Haven: Book One)
Author: Sam Kates
Publisher: Smithcraft Press
Date of Publication: December 22, 2013
Seven billion people inhabit this world, unaware our destruction is at hand. Death arrives unheralded—swift and nearly certain—not from meteors or nuclear holocaust or global warming, but from a source no one even knows exists.
The architects of doom have moved among us, hidden in plain sight, waiting for the signal to trigger our extinction.
Blindsided, humanity falls. A handful of survivors, bewildered and grief-stricken, must face the new reality, and quickly. For while the Cleansing threatens our existence, it is only the beginning…
Well, this is definitely a first – I was torn enough between a 3 and 4 star rating that I actually went to the trouble of finally creating the half-star jpg. Unfortunately it doesn’t sparkle, but oh well.
The concept of this novel (aliens very deliberately setting out to wipe out the population by use of a very nasty virus, having waited decades for their chance) was a great one. It was even a very interesting process, watching the virus spread. The idea behind the novel overall seemed to have promise, and yet…it fell somewhat flat for me. We find out why the aliens need to do what they’re doing, and they’re not necessarily evil, just desperate. There are shades of real (pardon the expression) human doubts and sparks of humanity among these very non-human entities. And yes, they have their sick and twisted members too.
The few ongoing members of the cast were strong, or at least Tom was. The human female, not so much. She was very…biddable, in her own way, once we finally meet her. But the ongoing development of the world as it dies at the hands of the alien virus they released was fascinating. Clearly Mr. Kates put a great deal of time, thought, and research into how a virus would spread, what the various governments would do as they try to stop it, and ultimately how the world could die off.
Where this novel fell short was on the emotional level. It seemed to be far too much telling, observing rather than actually experiencing the events of the novel. Maybe because 75% of the book was told in the POVs of the aliens and they don’t have the same overall range of human emotions, but I needed to connect with characters and I just never quite did.
What really, ultimately, knocked down the review to 3.5 stars though was the ending, or the lack there of. I have no problem with a series obviously having a continuing problem. But what really bothered me was the fact that there was no plot arc (at least in my opinion) that was wrapped up in this. Tom’s story isn’t done. Peter’s story isn’t done. One alien has passed on, but that’s it. No real sense of anything being completed. Had there been any sense of conclusion, I probably would have given this 4 stars, despite the lack of connection to any of the characters simply because I was so enthralled in watching the aliens begin their conquest/intended destruction of humanity.
I will, despite my misgivings and feeling of betrayal over the lack of sense of completion, look up the next book in this series and read it quite willingly.
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.