COME THE EVENTIDE is the story of a seemingly overwhelming group of nihilistic and diseased humans who have converted an old cruise ship into a dystopian “end-of-the-world” party boat and are set on pirating and plundering what little is left of civilization before the inevitable and final collapse of the world ecology. As with many novels set in the future, COME THE EVENTIDE glosses over the gap era, so readers are left filling in the events between the present and the novel’s setting.
The story follows a small group of youngsters struggling against the pirates, interspersed with the octopodes and dolphins struggling with the ecological disasters. The two storylines don’t quite mesh as communication between the groups is spotty at best and their goals are only tenuously connected. When a time travel element is introduced in the second half of the book, the strain of keeping three somewhat disparate stories connected results in a bit of a mess.
Characterization is another area where author Chris Riker stumbles. The sentient dolphins and octopuses (octopodes in the book) are well imagined and believably alien, which makes it difficult for readers to fully connect (it’s hard to think of an octopus–even an alien one–as a “peer”). The human characters are more easily identified with, especially the young ones, but even here there are problems, because without a more fully fleshed historical setting, motivations don’t quite seem as urgent or understandable as they otherwise might have.
That said, even with its structural challenges, COME THE EVENTIDE manages to stay engaging enough to pull readers through to the end. The writing, editing, and overall production are solid and professional and the issue of climate change and the “feel” of the story makes it a worthwhile read despite those challenges. However, much as the mammals assumed the mantle from the dinosaurs after the asteroids destroyed their climate, COME THE EVENTIDE’s sentient sea creatures provide hope for a future, and maybe even a place for man.
Although there one too many storylines in the apocalyptic novel, COME THE EVENTIDE, author Chris Riker manages to keep the plot and action moving along at a brisk clip to provide a thought-provoking and mostly enjoyable read.
~J.V. Bolkan for IndieReader