Monday, 11 March 2013

Seth Patrick - Reviver

Seth Patrick - Reviver (Reviver #1)

Disclaimer: Received as an ARC for free from Tor UK

This is going to be big. Massive big. You can just sense it. Reviver is what I'd call a 'Supernatural Thriller', in the vein of Stephen King or Dean R. Koontz, but written really well. Like early Stephen King level of decent writing, without the ridiculously long plots. Its also already had film rights sold. It'll be massive.

I approached Reviver from my week's work experience at Tor UK where I had to read in order to obtain character bios for an online tie in. But immediately it gripped me - 200 pages in an afternoon, a request to them to send me an ARC (which they very kindly provided - thank you!), it had me. The premise is excellent - it is discovered that the dead can be 'revived' temporarily after death, and, rather than going a bit Odd Thomas and having just the one protagonist who can do this, Patrick realises the forensic potential of revival of the dead. His main character, Jonah Miller, is a reviver, working for the Forensic Revival Service (FRS), a US agency linked in some way to the police. The police investigate the murder, the FRS provide a description from the victim.

Jonah Miller is our main character, an excellent Reviver with the FRS Virginia, introduces us to the action, reviving from page one.

Suffice to say, things go wrong.

What impressed me most of the novel was the worldbuilding. Patrick has clearly thought of all the logical implications of his introduction of Revival in a near-future world, and at no point do we, the reader, turn and go 'huh? What the hell happened there?' - instead, the world building takes place slowly, drip fed, and yet exciting in its own way outside of the plot. Indeed, there are elements of later uses of Revival that are key to the plot as a whole, and the subtle worldbuilding is the mark of author vastly more experience than Patrick.

Indeed, the two main characters - Miller and his best friend 'Never' Geary - are well described, and the friendship feels real, tangible, that real-world combo of loving your best friend yet at the same time wanting to kill the bastard. The only issues I had with Patrick's characters were his female characters - they are obviously written by a male, and don't feel particularly well developed, which occasionally infringes upon the reader's enjoyment.

The most important aspect of any book, of course, is the plot: Reviver doesn't disappoint. The overtly supernatural element feels a touch forced, a touch cliche, but it doesn't detract too much - the reason is that the characters, the background, just allow for cliche, and make it easy to suck in...

In true thriller fashion, Reviver is a page turner - it'll appeal to your dad, the average Peter James reader (no disrespect to them), and at the same time a 'serious' genre fiction lover: and it is this that will make it sell in the bucketloads.

Overall Rating: 4*

Reviver is published on June 20th 2013, by Tor UK

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