Verdict: While the scientific concepts are interesting, the failure to create a well-drawn protagonist and occasionally outlandish developments create a barrier between the reader and the narrative.
Years ago, when Andrew was a boy, he discovered coded messages in a book and a small film canister, left to him by his father. Handling these clues caused a physical reaction in his body, a buzzing headache. In the present day Andrew has come under the care of a mysterious doctor in a questionable medical facility with little memory or understanding of how he got there. Told in an alternating perspective between Andrew’s younger years and his perilous present day, AS OCEANS FALL seeks to unravel a mystery that was a lifetime in the making, one that has brought Andrew to a troublesome place.
As a boy, Andrew’s relationships with his mother and stepfather are strong, as they attempt to paint him as a person, and not just a conduit or mystery-solver. Unfortunately, that shade and nuance are lost as the year’s progress. The present day scenes, where Andrew is trying to understand what is going on, are less engaging than the flashbacks, navigating the loss of his father, twinned with the harrowing capsule clues he keeps finding. Andrew’s current situation as a patient in a mysterious medical facility makes him more cliched and less interesting than his younger, formative self.
Although the mysteries of this book are intriguing, the writing style is awkward. The dialogue in the present day story line is stock medical thriller jargon. The appearance of the President is probably intended to lend the book and Andrew’s situation some gravitas, but instead it is a clumsy development, one that reads as more ludicrous than intriguing. That Andrew could be mentally connected to the deep hole known as the Pacific Abysm is an interesting concept, but the details and the discoveries early on in his life make the reader more inclined towards eye-rolling than page-turning. While the scientific concepts are interesting, the failure to create a well-drawn protagonist and occasionally outlandish developments create a barrier between the reader and the narrative.
~Erinn Black Salge for IndieReader