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Monday, June 30, 2014

ARC Review: Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Philip Webb

What if the world stopped spinning?

Title: Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Philip Webb
Release Date: March 25th 2014
Published by: Chicken House
Source: Publisher (Thanks Ms. Joyce!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


The moon has been split, and the Visitors have Earth in their alien grip. But the captive planet? That's not her problem. Megan just wants to track down her missing dad...

The world stopped turning long before Megan was born. Ever since the Visitors split the moon and stilled the Earth, permanent sunset is all anyone has known. But now, riding her trusty steed Cisco, joined by her posse, Kelly and Luis, Megan is on the run from her Texas hometown, journeying across the vast, dystopic American West to hunt down her father. To find him, she must face the Zone, a notorious landscape where the laws of nature do not apply. The desert can play deadly tricks on the mind, and the quest will push Megan past her limits. But to solve the mystery of not just her missing father but of the paralyzed planet itself, she must survive it--and an alien showdown.

The Earth is in perpetual sunset. It has also stopped spinning. The Moon has been split in half. Only thirteen states remain. All of these happened during the Visitation, and Visitors have come to the planet masquerading as humans. Megan was born in this kind of world, with a dead mother and a father (who might be Earth's hope for salvation) presumed dead, she lives in a place near the Zone, a place where time and space is distorted. But Megan believes her father isn't dead, and to find him, she has to travel to the Zone.

The whole book has this unusual vibe from the first page, so I had a hard time figuring out how to connect with Megan. She's got a stubborn streak, which works in her favor sometimes, plus she's also serious and quiet. Sometimes she has this single minded desire to get through the Zone which clouds her decisions. It takes her a while to trust people and at first, I didn't know how her relationship will work out with Luis and Kelly. Kelly, admittedly, annoyed me. I don't know how friendship eventually formed between the three of them, as Kelly makes bad decisions one after another in the story. For a potential love interest, I forget Luis half of the time as he's barely felt in the story. He had his own struggles and motivations, but they paled in comparison to Megan's.

Sci-fi books tend to introduce concepts and ideas that are new to the readers, often to liven up the story and the plot and ultimately make it more fascinating and interesting, and for Where the Rock Splits the Sky it's the existence of the Zone. But when not done right, it can create confusion than help move the story in an interesting place. For the most part, I had to re-read the concept behind the Visitors, taking over bodies, and being a tracker. They're aliens? Body snatchers? Also, the concept of setting up "perimeters" using your mind? Being pushed to do things and go a certain way by the Zone? How does that work? There are a lot of intangibles in this novel that needed stronger descriptions. What really is the Zone? What is it for? I can't form an idea on what it really is, and most of the story relies on this Zone's existence, so I had a hard time forming a concrete view of the world inside my head.

I do, however, like how this is fast paced from the very start. Megan was in a chase immediately when the story opened and that instantly makes the reader focus on the story. Guns blazing, shooting, running, and that gets the story going most of the time. One thing that I also liked was despite my struggle to build a solid world, there are fascinating and equally frightening places Philip Webb managed to insert into the story that gives the reader an idea on how Earth looked like when it stopped spinning. The people, the dire situations they are facing, and the kind of miserable, hopeless life they have been dealt with by the Visitation was narrated in good detail.

What gets weird for me, was the secret behind Megan's very existence, and the very reason why she was looking for her father. Yes, it was an unexpected twist in the story, but I couldn't fathom how the story came to that conclusion. Again, how?! I felt like it needed more explanation which wasn't really given and it didn't clear much of the questions that arose throughout the story.

Anyway, this book had its good points, and someone more into sci-fi might enjoy this better than I did, so if you ever get to read this book, let me know what your thoughts are!

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Interesting concept for a book, but a bit lacking in execution. It's a bit disappointing for me as it fell short on the criteria that could've made this one heck of a read. I wish I could connect more with the characters. I wish they were more likable. I wish those places Megan, Kelly and Luis visited added more intrigue to the story instead of making it weirder and more confusing by each turn of the page. I wish there was more explanation on why it had to be Megan. Overall, this needed more of impact and more emotion.

Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
Really awesome cover though!


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