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When I read books I like for them to be realisitic. If I read something and it's story line is so far-fetched that it seems too bizarre I just cannot get into them. For this reason I don't often read thrillers as I have found that very often they are quite predictable and have quite cliched elements to them. I have usually stuck to reading general fiction but when I read the blurb of this book it sounded really appealing and so I thought I would have a break from the norm and give it a go. I am really pleased I did as now I have found a new author who I really enjoy and a book which has left me thinking.
Peter James has written many thrillers. This is the first and so far only one which I have read of his. I am going to read more though as this was such a good book.
The story tells of John and Naomi who are a married couple with a lot of pain within them. They have recently lost their son to a genetic disease which resulted in them having to watch him endure some terribly painful episodes before he eventually died. They are desperate for another child but very aware that they could produce a child with the same genetic disorder.
John is a scientist and fascinated in how modern science can help the world to progress. When he hears of a scientist Dr Detore who specialises in manipulating the genes of unborn children he cannot help but want to give it a go. Him and Naomi know that they are risking lots. For a start the money they have to spend alone is half a million dollars and they have to keep quiet about teh procedure as it is new in the world of science so there is a lot of controversy around it.
Dr Detore isn't just interested in getting rid of the genes that could cause the genetic disorder, however, he is able to manipulate every single gene in the body, even ones which determine how much sleep a person needs or how tall they grow. Although some of the genes seem inviting- the tidy gene for instance- John and Naomi choose just very specific ones related to the disease as they do not want for their baby to stand out and be seen as different.
They are delighted when the pregnancy progresses, however, there appears to be a few problems and they need to get hold of Dr Detore to ask him some questions but before they can do so they hear of the doctor being killed and then an air of discomfort takes over them. Why has he been killed? What did he do to the embreyo before he implanted it in Naomi?
As the story progresses James and Naomi are very aware of the problems which lay ahead and there soon becomes a rather tense and frightening time for them.
The characters are brilliantly written. The two which we really get to know are John and Naomi. I think the way that Peter James captures Naomi's frustration, loneliness and anxiety when she finds herself suddenly a stay at home mother, away from her friends is superb. I can definitely relate to some of the things she says throughout the story. John, on the otherhand, is a little different. Because Naomi kept questioning him I too began questioning him and wondered whether his deep love for science had lead him to go behind Naomi's back whilst they were in the clinic with the doctor.
Whilst reading the book I could really get a feel for their relationship, how desperate they were to just be normal and to move on with their new baby and put all the past behind them but that was just not possible and the frustration and desperation between them was so very well written that I felt it too and almost sorry for them.
I think if you can relate to the characters of a book that it shows the sign of a very good, talented author and this book is no exception.
This book is very easy to read. There is a lot of science in it but it is explained in laymans terms, you will be able to understand it even if you haven't got a BSC and you'll actually be able to see how the things that are spoken about are possible. It made me question what will happen in the next 10 years or so with all the advances that keep happening. It is such an interesting read.
The chapters are not long, around 5-10 pages each which made it snappy and urged me to read on. Sometimes I find if the chapters are really long it can feel a bit daunting but this book was perfect. There were a few other parts of the book such as inserts from Naomi's diary which really helped to get the reader to relate to her which i thought was a clever touch.
The whole story is extremely compelling. I have not given away what happens or the various twists but right from the start there was an air of mystery, something a bit uncomfortable so that I was immediately suspecting everyone and questioning what was happening. What was fantastic was that the things I was pre-empting did not happen (most of them anyway!) so it wasn't predictable like some thrillers can be. I couldn't put the book down, I wanted to read on and when I did have to stop i found myself thinking about it and wondering what would happen next. It was so well written that it was believable, I didn't spend my time rolling my eyes thinking that there was no way that a character would act in such a way or questioning some unanswered parts.
This book runs smoothly, it covers quite a large amount of time but does so in a very good way so that you don't feel like you're leaping months ahead too fast. It captures the life of Naomi and John very well and leaves you feeling as though you are constantly looking over your shoulder and trying to work out what will happen to them.
I definitely recommend this book. It was gripping and was a thriller but I wouldnt say it was jam packed with action which for me is a good thing as it gave me chance to understand the scenario, get to know the characters and believe in what was happening. If you haven't read much horror then this is a good way to get yourself into it and if you do enjoy thrillers then this is fantastic. I really recommend it, a fantastic book.
I recently read this book by Peter James whilst away in Turkey, and the book itself surprised me! Reading one of Peter James books has opened me to a wider range of genres which I am happy about! I really enjoyed reading something different and I feel this book would appeal to a very wide audience.
I am now reading my second Peter James book- Twilight, which I am enjoying just as much! I am writing this review to give anybody a push who like me was on the edge about trying something new.
Although this book is relatively new to the sales, I grabbed one at a great price from Tesco in the two for £7 offer, paying just £3.50 for it!
It can also be purchased online at;
Play.com for £3.25 used or £5.76 new
Amazon for £3.69 new
Ebay for £2.94- Hardback edition.
I personally prefer paperbacks to read as they are easier to carry around, but the hardback edition can easily be found at about the same price. Although the front cover is slightly different.
It is hard to review the storyline without giving away a lot of the surprises within the book! The story is generally about a couple grieving over the loss of their son who died of a disease which they recently discovered they both were carriers of. Upset and afraid to conceive again knowing of the risks, they turn to science.
This book introduces genetics and designer babies in a very interesting way which has changed many of my views and opinions over altering DNA.
The characters initially turn to science to alter out the possibilities of their next child carrying the disease, however they open themselves up to a new world of genetics.
When Naomi becomes pregnant, it is clear their choice has already gone badly wrong!
This book is very fast paced and I found a cliffhanger on the end of every chapter! The chapters are very small, some being only a page long, but this only made me want to keep on reading.
There are extracts from Naomi's diary throughout which helps the reader feel involved with the characters feelings and emotions. Including the diary bought an informal view to the events, as Naomi's dairy was written in notes and contained her views and feelings on the events. I found this really interesting as she was the mother and at the centre of the story, it was effective to include her thoughts and opinions within the story.
I found the ending quite strange and I'm still not sure if I enjoyed it or not. I think I would have preferred a happier ending, as the ending in this story was quite abrupt and sudden.
This book addresses quite an interesting storyline which I think would attract a wide range of people. It opened me up to a different view on genetics and designer babies and as a lot of events in this book aren't yet possible- as far as we know! It made me think about what we as a world are coming to in ways of science and diseases.
The book turned out to be completely different to how I thought it would, and I would recommend everybody to give it a try.
It is quite a nice thick book, but I read it within a week- I found that with the small chapters came quite a few half empty pages which padded out the book quite a bit!
The story may raise a lot of arguments from people against the events in the book, but for me I felt the book introduced the topic in an effective way. Religious views are used and perhaps taken to some extremes in this book, but it helped me to understand the complexities around the subject.
And it really made me question science and our capabilities, as I found it interesting to think there could be scientists out there somewhere who have already mastered the skill to create 'designer babies' and alter DNA further.
A great read! There are a lot of scientific words at times which to me are just babble! But the storyline I thought was fantastic!
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