It’s a Blackthorn Book Tour day! I’m thrilled to be part of the tour for Matthew S Cox’s science fiction novel, The Girl Who Found The Sun.
About the book
It started with the insects.
The mass die-offs had been a warning unheeded. Before society realized the danger, the Earth had inexorably begun a transformation into a place where life could not survive. A small group found shelter in the Arc, an underground refuge safe from the toxins ravaging the surface.
After centuries of darkness, humanity’s second chance is running out—and Raven Wilder knows it.
Her job fixing the machinery in the Arc makes her aware of how close everything is to breaking down. When the systems fail, the last survivors of the human race will suffocate in the tunnels meant to protect them from the deadly air outside—starting with the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, in an example of history repeating itself, those in charge dismiss her concerns.
When her six-year-old begins showing signs of oxygen deprivation, Raven refuses to go quietly into oblivion.
She will break every rule to keep her daughter alive.
A topical novel concerning the state of the planet, Matthew S Cox once more ventures into dystopian territory.
Raven lives in the Arc, one of only 182 people, perhaps the last remnants of the human race after the Great Death centuries before. During the day she works hard at repairing the failing machinery, while her evenings are spent with her daughter, her best friend, and the four last children of mankind.
After an excursion to the surface to fix a wind turbine proves to Raven that most of what she was taught was a lie, she makes it her mission to save the others before the Arc that sheltered them becomes a tomb.
Once again Cox excels at writing young girls, this time in the form of Raven’s six year old daughter, Tinsley. Raven, too, is an endearing character, heroic and uncompromising from the start. The core characters of Raven, her best friend and the children are what make this book work. They are likable, realistic enough to sustain willing suspension of disbelief, and, most importantly, I cared about what happened to them.
The story is simple. The beautiful front cover gives away that the surface is livable, so there is no great surprise when Raven goes topside and discovers it so. In fact, I found the book took too long to get going with the inevitable evacuation of the Arc. A good 20-25% of the book is devoted to Raven examining the failing air filtration unit, discussing with her superiors that it won’t last much longer, before repeating that discussion with her boss. While this is likely realistic, it is the sort of attention to real life detail that I prefer books to do without.
Unfortunately, I found that repetition was the bane of this novel. The same information is repeated almost verbatim throughout the book, as if the author either considered his readers forgetful (perhaps, like the characters, due to oxygen deprivation), or was trying to pad the word count.
I also noticed some errors in spelling, and at least two incidents of characters referring to something that didn’t make sense. I was surprised, as the previous books I’ve read by this author have always been very well presented. It gave me the impression that this book had perhaps been rushed, although this may not be the case.
When the story got going, I enjoyed it, and I was engaged in seeing how Raven and her friends fared.
I award The Girl Who Found The Sun…
About the Author
Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, The Harmony Paradox, the Prophet of the Badlands series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.
His books span adult, young-adult, and middle-grade fiction in multiple genres, predominantly science fiction, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy.
Read my reviews of other Matthew S Cox books: