Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: The Explorer by James Smythe


When journalist Cormac Easton is selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers.

But in space, nothing goes according to plan.

The crew wake from hypersleep to discover their captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. They mourn, and Cormac sends a beautifully written eulogy back to Earth. The word from ground control is unequivocal: no matter what happens, the mission must continue.

But as the body count begins to rise, Cormac finds himself alone and spiralling towards his own inevitable death … unless he can do something to stop it.


The Explorer isn't a typical type of book for me because I usually focus more on the paranormal romance genre, but change is good and I like to switch things up a bit. The cover alone is a scary concept, a lone astronaut seemingly adrift in the vastness of outer space. How did he (or she) end up in this horrible predicament?  What went wrong? I'm already creeped out and I haven't even cracked the spine! 

What Smythe tries to do with The Explorer is create an unusual space horror story that is full of mindbending twists, making it difficult for the reader to determine what is real and what is part of Cormac's madness. His journey into space begins as one man's selfish desire to forge a unique path through history, and quickly becomes a nightmare of loneliness and pain, forcing Cormac to face his own personal demons. The hang up for me seems to be in the details concerning space travel and time loops, with some of these areas lacking enough description to bring the situation alive. From minute one, everything about this mission goes wrong, yet for me the fear came from my own imaginings. I wanted more in the way of visuals, as well, maybe more details about this all important mission or more depth for the crewmates because they all begin dying off long before we, as readers, get to know anything about them. 

This isn't my usual genre so I have nothing to compare it to, but the intensity seemed to feel flat when it should have been full of imagination and creativity. After all, one of the hallmarks of fiction is that an author can make their world anything they want it to be, so as a reader I want books to show me what makes them unique and special. The Explorer tells a decent story but I think it would benefit from additional pages with more descriptives and depth. 


Author website

*reviewed by Anna

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