And (on the subject of time management) I’m reviewing Vanish by Tom Pawlik, which I failed to feature in the, let’s see…. June 2009 CSFF Blog Tour. I guess I don’t need to worry too much about spoilers then.
I thought this was a great story. It’s one of a bunch of ‘where’d everybody go?’ novels that seemed fleetingly popular in Christian fiction a couple of years ago; the most obvious comparison being Kathryn Mackel’s Vanished (which I reviewed here). In Vanish you will find traditional gray aliens, Lost-y flashbacks, and plenty of suspense, action and general weirdness. It may sound like Pawlik just threw in a bit of everything from the spec-fic parts bin, but the result is an enjoyable and coherent story.
The writing style is uncomplicated but largely inoffensive, and it does the job well enough. The middle section does seem needlessly repetitive; I’m sure there was enough going on that we didn’t need to be told the same facts over and over again. I also noticed lots of jaws stiffening and teeth clenching from various different characters; arguably a minor flaw, but drawing attention to this apparently universal reaction did detract from what characterisation there was.
The main characters were a nicely mixed bunch, as is required in this kind of story; interestingly, there were no Christians among them, and the worldview was left to filter in via the people the characters know and love. However, when the third act starts and the pieces start to fit together (spoiler alert: think Life on Mars) it leads to a brilliant and satisfying conclusion (even if the final chapter is somewhat superfluous).
And I’ve just remembered there’s a sequel. The week after my birthday. Sigh.
For more linky goodness, why not time travel back to the CSFF Blog Tour for Vanish.