2 out of 4 stars
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In Matthew Tysz’s book The Turn events unfold after a terrible catastrophe that really upturned the whole world. The strangest thing is that no one remembers and does not understand what kind of catastrophe it was. Survivors remember only a wave of terrible panic, which swept across the Earth before this "turn", and indescribable chaos after it. Moreover, after the turn, something strange happened to the planet itself. The sun became to look dim, and plant growth slowed down.
The book’s plot is built around the adventures of several people who try to survive in the new world. This is a mercenary named Scholar, a former investment banker Ashley and a mysterious Charlie Virko, who calls himself an "investigator" and tries to figure out what really happened to humanity during the change, and why no one really remembers that event. Later, the human trafficker Markus, also known as Cattleprod, appears on the book’s pages.
Potentially, The Turn could be a great and very unusual book. Unfortunately, due to several shortcomings, it is difficult even to call it a passable book.
One of the main problems is associated with the language. Despite the fact that at times the author succeeds in creating a truly depressive and gloomy atmosphere, his language is very dry and colorless. It seems that it is more the work of an amateur than that of a professional writer. Some sentences are constructed very clumsily. In addition, there are many obscene expressions in the book.
Another problem is that the story in the book is narrated on behalf of several characters. Moreover, all these characters, with the exception of Scholar and Ashley, almost do not interact with each other. Therefore, The Turn is practically divided into several stories that are almost unrelated to each other, and is very difficult to read. The author simply is not skillful enough to connect all storylines together in a quality manner. One has only to get interested in the adventures of one character, as it comes to somebody else. Some characters disappear altogether from the plot and emerge only to reappear through a hundred pages.
In addition, this book is literally stuffed with both internal monologues of the characters, and their extensive dialogues. They indulge in ceaseless reasoning - sometimes even with themselves - that their lives have irrevocably changed, and the old notions of good and evil should be left in the past. All these lengthy reasonings are very monotonous, banal and slow down the development of the plot. It seems that the author tried to create a provocative and shocking book, but failed. It is extremely difficult to shock someone by simply putting the old words of Aristotle or Friedrich Nietzsche into the mouths of the characters.
Besides, many things in this book look too implausible even for fiction. For example, in this post-apocalyptic world on the US territory there is no longer either a common state, or a president, or a government. Only small towns survived, the governments of which control only fields and farms around these townships. Nevertheless, the book’s characters still use paper dollars. But after all, no single currency can survive the disappearance of the state in which it was issued. Without the US government and the FRS, the dollars would turn into useless scraps of paper. Most likely, after such a disaster, people would return to silver, gold or barter. And there are a lot of such mistakes in the book.
The obvious disadvantage of the book is its characters. Of course, The Turn is a cross between post-apocalyptic fiction and dark fantasy, in which the characters are supposed to be a little cynical. Alas, almost all book’s characters, especially Ashley and Cattleprod, turned out not so much cynical as uppity and malicious. It is very difficult to empathize with characters who imagine that they stand above the rest of humanity and look at other people as if they are fools or even a "human cattle".
Nevertheless, the book has some advantages. For example, Matthew Tysz often manages to create a really dark atmosphere. In addition, it differs from other books in the post-apocalyptic genre in that, up to the last chapters, neither the characters nor the readers know what caused the "turn" and what exactly happened during it. After all, no one wants to either talk or think about this event. Usually, the catastrophe itself, be it the appearance of a zombies or the fall of a meteorite to Earth, is told about at the very beginning. But in The Turn, the author honestly maintains the intrigue to the very end, and this forces the reader to get to the last chapter, despite the questionable language, the strange structure of the narrative, and the lengthy reasonings of the characters.
Thanks to this unusual intrigue, The Turn by Matthew Tysz still deserves 2 out of 4 stars. This is the first book in the trilogy and can be read as a separate work. Because of the scenes of violence and obscene expressions, it is not suitable for underage children. But fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, dark fantasy and anti-utopias may well like it.
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