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Series: Wayward Pines #1
Author: Blake Crouch
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF, Thriller
Format: Digital edition
* SPOILERS *
I am usually not one to worry about spoilers in my reviews. However, this book is predicated on the tension created by the main character, and hence the reader, not knowing what is going on. So read further at your own risk. I’ll make the last paragraph a quick summary of how I felt about the book without any spoilers so you can have something to read if you’re worried about spoilers.
Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke wakes up next to a river. He stumbles into town, apparently called Wayward Pines, without much memory of anything. He is taken back to a hospital where it is revealed to him that he and his partner were hit by a mack truck and he left the hospital without permission. Little things aren’t adding up though and Ethan’s inner self keeps warning him.
Alone, with no money, no weapons, no vehicle, no way to contact his superiors, Ethan must survive whatever is going on at Wayward Pines. He does remember that he was tracking down some other secret service agents who disappeared after investigating Wayward Pines.
When he comes across his ex-partner, who is now inexplicably aged 30 years and runs into another woman claiming to be from the 1980’s, Ethan is completely confounded. Then when it becomes obvious that the road doesn’t lead out of the town and all the ways out on foot are fenced off, Ethan knows SOMETHING isn’t right.
Ethan finally escapes, only to fall into the hands of David Pilcher, a super rich, super smart genius who has predicted the end of humanity due to gene and environmental failure. Pilcher has setup Wayward Pines as the last bastion of Humanity and it is now 1000 years since Ethan walked the earth. Humanity is no more and what humanity became, brutal carnivores that were intelligent but without enough intelligence to build a civilization, now roams the desolate earth. Pilcher deep froze his 1000 chosen in the hopes of restarting humanity and by the end of the book Ethan chooses to become his right hand man and enforcer.
My very first thought when starting this was that Ethan was doing some sort of cross reality transfer between blackouts, much like the main character in Ted Dekker’s The Circle series. Something was obviously off, but I had no idea what. After the second time when Ethan pulls some bone headed, gut reaction, thing, I just decided that I wasn’t going to figure out what was going on and to let Crouch chauffeur me to the end of the book, like he was going to do no matter what I wanted.
It was a very frustrating experience but not at all bad. It was meant to be frustrating and I felt so much sympathy for Ethan even while yelling at him in my head. He didn’t know what was going on and I had no idea what was going on, so I couldn’t even call him on being stupid. And he really does some stupid things. For a former military vet AND a secret service agent, he didn’t strike me as aggressive enough or willing to do what was necessary. Now, he’s injured and without money or much clothing, so some of it is understandable. But if you wake up in a town where other Secret Service agents have disappeared and even the sheriff is acting weird, you steal some clothes, some money, a car and get out. And when the road loops back and you’re weirded out, head out cross country on foot, but BE PREPARED! It wasn’t until he was being chased by the blood thirsty mob of townsfolk that he really started showing his qualities as a vet and agent.
The revelations by Pilcher about his Frozen Chosen [hahaha] and the state of the Earth was really interesting. Of course, Crouch’s assertion that humanity would e/devolve into some kind of super predator is so much bs that I knocked a star off just for that. For frack’s sake, genes don’t work that way. If there was a breakdown in the gene code, you’d simply have a massive die off of humanity. I’m a diabetic being kept alive by 1st world tech, so I fracking know. Genes breaking down would lead to massive deaths at births and any that survived would be crippled in body and or mind and would be killed off by nature in one form or another. It would NOT turn us into super predators that could survive the conditions. But with all of that, I have to wonder where the next 2 books are going to go? How do you fight a whole world over run by creatures like that?
Overall, I enjoyed my read of this; much better than his blankety blank Dark Matter and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the trilogy as I have no idea what those 2 books could possibly contain.