Great title and concept here, with a pathogen that spreads schizophrenic tendencies among those who come in contact with it. Unfortunately, this felt like it just skimmed the surface of what could have been an intense and immersive experience.
The biggest challenge I found with this novel was it’s protagonist. Clare comes off like some spoiled child, whose ignorance and self-centeredness become painful to bear. Based on some of the experiences she’s supposedly had growing up, you would think she’d have more to her personality but it never came across. I suppose an argument could be made that this is her “character arc,” with the ending justifying “just how much she’s changed.” For me, not only did it not work, but it detracted from what might have been a more enjoyable reading experience.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the unlikable protagonists. But even your worst and most despicable protags have quirky personality traits that are enviable — you may hate them, but you can’t discount certain things about them that make them so fascinating.
Such was not the case with Clare.
Add to the novel the convenient TV’s that happen to capture press conferences with relevant and important plot information at just the right moment (multiple times), characters with jobs that allow them to disseminate much needed (apparently) exposition, a tired love-interest relationship that feels forced into the story, and a quite non-sympathetic treatment of mental illness in general and you’ll understand why this just didn’t connect with me on any level.
Would I read another work by this author? I would. There’s a lot of potential buried within these pages, I would just hope for an experience that isn’t trying to be something that it’s not. A pass from me, but don’t take my word on it.
This novel is currently free for Amazon Prime Members, should you feel like checking it out.