Book Review: Ghost Country–Patrick Lee
I’m usually pretty careful about picking up books and making sure that I start from the beginning of a series. Usually. But I read a review of Ghost Country on a web site somewhere (I think it was mentioned on John Scalzi’s blog a while ago), and I put it onto my Amazon Wish List, and then one day added it to my cart. Next thing I know, I’m a ways into it, and I’m wondering why these people all know each other, and what is this other incident they’re talking about. And then I flip to the front of the book and find out that Ghost Country is the second book in the series by Patrick Lee, and was preceded by The Breach.
What’s interesting is that I didn’t put the book down and tell myself that I needed to read The Breach first. Lee does an admirable job of letting you know enough about what has happened in the first book to allow you to read the second without too much confusion, though I ‘m sure reading them in order would have helped at least a little. Anyway, any confusion I felt was certainly my fault.
Ghost Country is science fiction with a Tom Clancy twist. It’s high concept. The world is about to end unless Travis Chase can figure out how to stop it. The science fiction part is due to the presence of The Breach, a barely understood hole in the world that allows mysterious objects to come through from either aliens or another dimension. Some of these artifacts are useless. Some do something, but no one can figure out what. And some let you see 80 years into the future, where the earth has been ripped clean of living people, and the cities resemble something straight out of the TV series Life After People. Basically, it’s post-apocalyptic, but there are no survivors. And by the way, Travis only has 4 months to figure out how to stop this all from happening.
It’s a fast read, and one you might want to read on an airplane or on a beach. It’s not incredibly deep or thought provoking. The science part of the science fiction is borderline. There are a few scenes that strain plausibility just a bit, but since we are talking about a hole in the world where stuff comes through from aliens, plausibility might have already been something as readers we weren’t too worried about in the first place. It’s an enjoyable book for the most part, and I will be tempted to read The Breach when I get some time to see how all this wackiness started. There were a couple of parts near the end that caused me to furrow my brow with doubt, but if you can get past that and just read for fun, I think most people would enjoy this one.