Pros: Fascinating premise that goes to even more fascinating places
Cons: Very talky; didn’t convince me to read the next book
Rating: 4 out of 5
Bill DeSmedt’s Singularity (The Archon Sequence Book 1) starts with the Tunguska event–a seeming meteor that exploded above Siberia and left no crater. Scientist Jack Adler, however, believes it was something else–a particularly tiny black hole that then became trapped inside the Earth. He has set out for Siberia with specialized equipment in the attempt to pick up a trace of the singularity beneath the Earth’s crust. Meanwhile, Jonathon, a consultant, is being targeted by a covert government agency that wants him to renew a college friendship with an old Russian comrade of his, Sasha, in an attempt to get close to Sasha’s boss. Marianna, who works for this government agency, goes along with John to sell the story and spy on the Russians on a yacht trip to London. Her group believes they’re smuggling some Russian scientists who might be capable of working on weapons of mass destruction. As you can well imagine, at some point these two plotlines collide.
This is a long book, and there’s a lot of talking and explanation going on. A lot. If you find sciency explanations in your fiction to be interesting, this should be fine. If you prefer action… well there’s definitely some of that too, just not nearly as much. At least the action is good, including assassinations and rooftop extractions among other things. There’s even a touch of mysticism to liven things up.
The characters aren’t bad. I’m a little annoyed at the stereotype of a female lead who has to consider her own… assets… in the mirror. Given that Jonathon certainly notices those assets, it wouldn’t have been hard to just show that through his point of view. Also, sex scenes that involve comparisons to vacuum cleaners Are Not Sexy, and I don’t think the author was going for silly/ridiculous, which is how things ended up. I never felt emotionally invested in any of the characters, which is probably why I don’t have any urge to go out and read the two sequels. They just didn’t pull me in at all. Sasha was probably the most interesting character and he wasn’t even one of the leads.
It’s hard to say much about where they go with this black hole theory without spoiling parts of the end of the book, so I’ll just say I thought it was good. It’s one of those things where you think you aren’t sure how it’s going to get where it’s going, then suddenly you’re left thinking, oh yeah, it really couldn’t have gone any other way, could it? Also, there’s at least one really cool revelation that sets the story apart a bit from others of its kind, even if it’s something that isn’t really made a big deal of.
It’s a good book with a neat premise, but like I said, it didn’t make me want to read more.
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