Welcome to Books I Liked, a series of blog posts in which I talk about the best of what I’ve been reading.
You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do. That’s certainly why I picked up The Ark by new author Patrick S. Tomlinson. You see, I was browsing the new paperbacks in the Science Fiction section of the bookstore (because it’s good to read the new releases in your genre, but damn hardcovers are expensive and I have student loans to pay) when I saw what looked like a misplaced romance novel.
Okay, so you’re probably looking at the tag line on the cover and saying, “Sarah, that’s not a romance novel,” but I was only looking at the guy looming over the title. And come on, he has that standard romance novel cover model look, square jaw, brooding face, neck muscles, I mean everything.
A quick glance at the back of the book revealed that it was, in fact, correctly shelved, and that it looked pretty damn interesting. It also revealed that the price was well within my book budget for the month, so I impulse bought it. Turns out it was well worth the roughly $9 with tax I paid.
The Ark is a thriller set in a giant spaceship that is home to what remains of humanity after a black hole destroyed Earth 250 years ago, which is about 50,000 people. With so few people around, it’s a big deal when someone goes missing, and so police chief and former sports star Bryan Benson is asked to investigate. Remember, this is a thriller, not a mystery, and so naturally there’s something huge going on, with the fate of everyone on the Ark at stake. Couple that with the fact that the ship is about to land on mankind’s new home and you have tension turned up to 10.
I think what I like best about this book is the setting. The Ark feels like a real place, complete with high and low society, political problems, and even a unique sport. The details felt logical and cohesive. Good worldbuilding here.
This was a fun read and a damn solid first book. I found myself looking forward to reading a chapter or two every lunch. The pacing is on point and there’s always another twist to pull you on to the next chapter. The biggest surprise for me came after I’d finished and saw an ad for the sequel in the back. Sure, the book leaves plenty of room for one (we’re about to settle a new planet for crying out loud), but everything felt wrapped up to me. You’ll probably want to put the sequel on your to-read list when it comes out, but if you’re not a series reader this book provides a complete story all by itself.
Find out more about The Ark here.