Author: Seth Patrick
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Zombies, Magical Reality, Mystery
Publication Date: June 18, 2013 (SMP – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided Finished copy
Summary: Revivers. Able to wake the recently dead, and let them bear witness to their own demise. Twelve years after the first reviver came to light, they have become accepted by an uneasy public. The testimony of the dead is permitted in courtrooms across the world. Forensic revival is a routine part of police investigation. In the United States, that responsibility falls to the Forensic Revival Service. Despite his troubled past, Jonah Miller is one of their best. But while reviving the victim of a brutal murder, he encounters a terrifying presence. Something is watching. Waiting. His superiors tell him it was only in his mind, a product of stress. Jonah is not so certain. Then Daniel Harker, the first journalist to bring revival to public attention, is murdered, and Jonah finds himself getting dragged into the hunt for answers. Working with Harker’s daughter Annabel, he becomes determined to find those responsible and bring them to justice. Soon they uncover long-hidden truths that call into doubt everything Jonah stands for, and reveal a threat that if not stopped in time, will put all of humanity in danger …
☆: 3/5 stars – large disconnect between the first and second halves of the book but otherwise a solid debut.
Review: This one’s kind of hard to parse out, guys – mostly because while really well-written, each half of the book felt like it was almost written by another author. I don’t think I’ve seen such a big disconnect in a novel in a long time that’s only been written by one person. Nevertheless, this is one very interesting story – really original, full of thrills, chills, and spills of the CSI meets zombie kind. If you’re looking for something more original in the zombie genre, I suggest you check out “Reviver”.
Okay, so more on this big disconnect between the two major halves of the book: While the first half focuses on some very excellent worldbuilding, it’s pretty much just that – setting the scene for the real main plot line – that of the mystery of who killed Daniel Harker. While at times the first half had a little bit too much infodumping going on, the worldbuilding was otherwise really original, very engrossing, and detailed down to the most minute of information of how the Revivers came into being. It’s obvious that Patrick thought this all through quite a bit, and at times, the world almost felt a little too big for the page.
The characters, too, were very detailed in their backstory and activity, which helped develop the world further. But I didn’t see much progression of character development. If I did see it, was really slow. That was a bit disappointing, especially since so much of the book is character-driven. However, here’s the second part of the big issue with the disconnected parts of the book – it felt like by the second half that while leaning more toward the plot-driven side, it still felt like Patrick couldn’t quite decide whether this was going to be plot or character-driven, and so tried to balance the two. It didn’t really work, and that’s what threw me off. And unfortunately, detracted from me really enjoying this as much as I wanted to.
Patrick definitely has a way with sensory language and imagery – some of the revival scenes and the sensations that Jonah experiences post-revival were absolutely visceral. Sometimes to the point where I had to put the book down for a bit just to breathe. That more than made up for some of this book’s weaknesses, because when you have a book about necromancy/zombies and the like, you WANT visceral to hit the reader for maximum sensory impact when you may be lacking in the emotional impact department.
Regardless of my nitpicks, “Reviver” is otherwise very much quite the solid debut, and Patrick is an author to watch if just to wonder what he’ll come up with next. I loved this world, and I hope we get to return to it soon – albeit with maybe a little more editing. “Reviver” is out now from St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan in North America, so definitely check it out when you get the chance!