Monday, November 28, 2016

Faller by Will McIntosh

When Faller woke up, he and everyone around him seemed to have lost all memory of who and where they were. They called it Day One. 

Shortly after, the people who were left began to starve and to fight over the few resources they could find. And so Faller, armed with the few items he found in his pockets on Day One, came up with a plan. To gain food and resources for his tribe, Faller built a parachute and dove off the highest building he could find. But rather than land on the ground below, Faller fell... and fell, and fell.

So Faller wakes up with no memory. He has a few items in his pockets - a picture of a woman he's determined to find, a toy paratrooper, and a note he's clearly written to himself in his own blood. Given these are all his possessions in the world, he's sure each of them is equally important.

It's an intriguing start, one that I certainly couldn't resist. But when Faller plans his first jump, I had no idea where the story was headed next.

Faller's chapters are interrupted shortly thereafter with a story about Peter Sandoval, his brother-in-law and colleague Ugo Woolcoff, and their family and friends. Their present is in conflict, with world powers unleashing biologically manipulated viruses on one another willy nilly. Ugo's research involves finding a cure to one, a ruthless prion, but while the cure works it also wipes the person's memory completely.


While Faller's story had my interest piqued, I was a bit in danger of losing interest until the introduction of Peter. I have to admit too that I've been in a bit of a rut and really wanted something I could sink my teeth into - I'd been waffling between a couple of books hoping one would grab me more than another and the prospect of a post apocalyptic story hinging on a sideshow act wasn't quite what I was in the mood for. Yes, that was kind of what I expected when Faller put the parachute on for the first time. Fortunately for me, Peter is introduced very early on.

With each Peter chapter, the story began to pull closer together: the prion, the cure, the conflicts that were all coming to a head, each kept the story moving and offered just enough hints at the overall plot to keep me fully invested in the tale.

The overall premise of Faller was a bit similar to a couple of other titles I've come across of late, but the various building blocks of the story do make it stand out from those other titles. The questions added a layer of mystery that most definitely appealed to the mystery/thriller fan in me. (I especially liked trying to tease out the identities of Faller and the people he meets along the way!) And of course the virus and the post apocalyptic aspect were right up my alley too. Finally, the actual science fiction aspects themselves were really only explained in the most basic of ways. This was both a pro and a con of the story in my opinion because while it didn't go over my head, I never felt there was much of an effort to truly explain what was happening.

Faller is a fun read that'll appeal to lighter science fiction readers.

Rating: 3.5/5

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