Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Author: Joe Hart
Released: May 8th 2018
I received a copy of Obscrua in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Have you ever read a book and been reminded that you haven’t been reading enough of that genre lately? That happened to me while reading Obscura. I realized just how much I’ve missed sinking my teeth into a good science fiction novel. I know I can be a bit fussy about my sci-fi, and that’s ultimately the reason I don’t read more, but man does it feel good to find one that I can throw myself into.
In case it wasn’t obvious, I absolutely threw myself into reading Obscura. Its science fiction meets psychological thriller, and it really is the best of both worlds. I found the science fiction parts plausible enough to not break my immersion, and the thriller parts had me on the edge of my seat. What more could a girl ask for?
Obscura shows a grim and darker future for humanity. There’s a new disease hitting the population; it’s starting in small numbers, but is expected to rise in the incoming years (thanks to the spread of pollution). It’s similar to Alzheimer’s at first appearance, but is very distinct and has more physical complications that come along for the ride. In short, it’s terrifying.
That’s the world Gillian Ryan lives in, and if you think that’s enough to scare the pants off of you, the story has only just begun. It actually is a pretty heartbreaking tale, in the beginning. Joe Hart did a wonderful job of introducing the world, characters, and disease all in one stroke. The end result was very emotional and human, and successfully got me to care about the main character and her quest to find a cure.
Things quickly spiral out from there, getting more and more into the realm of science fiction. At first I was nonplussed by some of the scientific introductions that were made, but when I stopped and thought about them for a moment, I think they were pretty good explanations, on the whole. I certainly prefer it to the vague “this machine works because of science!” or going with a silly explanation. There’s real effort put into the theories here, and I can’t help but respect that.
As the story progresses the psychological thriller elements really start amping up, there were times that even when I could see where things were going I found myself terrified for Gillian (perhaps even more so, since I knew what was going to happen, while Gillian was painfully oblivious).
I’ll admit that there were points where the next action was somewhat obvious; especially with certain events near the ending (I’m being intentionally vague for sake of spoilers). There were parts I didn’t like about that, but on the whole I can’t argue with the explanation for the chain of events that occur, or the cause of it all that Gillian successfully uncovers.
What I loved the most, aside from the science fiction/thriller blend (which I enjoyed more than expected) was just how human Gillian was. Sure, she’s a brilliant scientist, but that’s not all there is to her. She has emotions, she’s flawed, she’s got reasons to be taking the risks, and most importantly, she has reasons to want to survive what’s happening to her. In short, she’s the sort of character that you can easily get attached to, which is perfect.
I haven’t read anything else by Joe Hart before this, but you better believe I’m going to be keeping an eye on his work from here on out. I sincerely hope he keeps with this sci-fi/thriller genre blend, I never would have guessed that I’d love it this much, but I really do!