Wednesday, November 23, 2016

REVIEW | The Fold by Peter Clines

The Fold by Peter Clines
Publication Year: 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: NA :(
Awards: None
Format: Audio (from
Narrator: Ray Porter

WHY?:  This book was recommended everywhere and while I absorbed all of those recs and developed a firm idea that it would be a book I would like, I managed not to have any idea what it was about.  I was pretty sure it took place in space.  It does not.

SYNOPSIS:  It does not take place in Space but in San Diego, and in the present day.  Mike is a high school teacher in a small town in Maine but he has a secret.  He's a super genius (180+ I.Q. and an idetic memory).  An old friend of his who works for a top secret DOD Research Agency (DARPA) has been trying to recruit him for years but Mike has refused.  Until now.  One of the Agency funded projects has created a way to instantly move great distances through space - step from California to New York to the moon in a few steps and under 30 seconds.  His friend senses that there is something wrong on the project however and he knows Mike is the only person who can get up to speed fast and be able to catalog every detail.  Mike investigates reluctantly at first but he quickly gets sucked in to the mystery which turns out to be more fantastical than anyone could have imagined.

Just as everyone promised this was such a fun and quick read!  I inhaled it and pretty quickly got sucked in by the mystery and fast moving plot.  It is an enjoyable and well-done blend of genres and tones.  There's a little bit of science fiction, a little bit of suspense thriller and finally a nice healthy dose of mystery.  It also manages to be very funny, with a lot of witty dialogue while simultaneously projecting a feeling of menace. Way to go book!

This really wasn't a character book for me - the characters are all fine and great but they are not very deeply developed.  They are developed just enough to carry the plot and make the reader care and that works great for this book.

It's hard to say too much more about specific happenings in the plot because I do think it is a book that is best approached knowing as little as possible.  There are some interesting ethical questions that arise throughout the course of the book and Clines chooses to bring them up but not really explore them very deeply.  While it would have been interesting to do so, I think it was a good call because the book already has a lot going on and getting too mired in moral debates would have slowed things down.

The most fascinating thing about the book for me was all the details about what it would be like to have an eidetic (aka photographic) memory.  I've always wanted to have this kind of memory, so I could remember all that happens in all the best books I've read for example.  There seemed nothing but upside.  However, the book does a good job exhibiting why it wouldn't always be great.  It would be hard to turn your brain off and every unpleasant, traumatic thing that happened or that you had seen in your life would be burned into your brain.  One bonus though?  Watching a favorite movie simply by closing your eyes:).

If I have any complaints it is about the last quarter or so of the book. It gets very exciting but also maybe goes a little too far.  The book works so well I think because it is steeped in the recognizable and the believable so that the more fantastical ending didn't quite mesh with the rest of the book.  Also, I was hoping for something a little more clever and creative. Instead, once the mystery is revealed it goes exactly where you expect it will go and I would have liked to be surprised.

I listened to the audio book so my final comment is about the narrator who has a great voice for Mike and all the other male characters.  Unfortunately, his voicing of the female characters was not good and sounded very false.  I got used to it pretty quick and was able to overlook it but if that's a thing that will bother you too much, be cautious about picking up the audio.

FINAL VERDICT:  A fast paced and totally enjoyable Sci-fi mystery thriller that projects equal amounts humor and menace.  I would totally read any follow up novels featuring protagonist Mike in his new job!  3.5 out of 5 stars!

Other Opinions Are Available: SFF World | The Bibliosanctum | Fantasy Book Critic

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