I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.)
This week I'm reviewing Invasion, by Robin Cook.
This was Cook's first foray into science fiction; normally he writes medical thrillers. He writes an open letter about it in the introduction. It shows in the basic layout of the sci-fi/horror elements, but he brings something new to it all with his knowledge of medical topics, which led to some fascinating information throughout.
I was frustrated with how stilted the writing came across at times, especially in the almost complete lack of contractions. Even the character dialogue was done without contractions, which made it come across as wooden. It slowed my reading.
The pacing was a bit slow to start with, though the aliens take their first victim right off. The slower build up seemed legitimate for the most part, though, as the invasion at first seems like an odd flu virus at first, making it so authorities wouldn't listen when people got wise to the fact that those who recovered from the flu virus acted oddly afterward. This did a good job of isolating the characters and making them fight on their own.
Overall, it was an interesting book. The writing might have gotten to me more if he hadn't done a good job with the characters, the conflict, and the medical details. There were times the characters came across a bit cliched, but for the most part they were done well enough to make me root for them and stay interested in the story.
I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. It seems a bit simple, considering how long the book was. However, sometimes there's a satisfaction in the simplicity of a cure.
My Top Ten remain unchanged:
My Top Ten:
1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Girl Next Door (Jack Ketchum)
3. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
4. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
5. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
6. Needful Things (Stephen King)
7. 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
8. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
9. 20th Century Ghosts (Joe Hill)
10. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
My next book review will be of Ghoul, by Brian Keene.
Have you read anything by Robin Cook? Does he use contractions in his other books? If you've read both his medical thrillers and his science fiction, how would you compare the two?
May you find your Muse.