Book Review: The Cause by Clint Stoker
In an overpopulated future, a city stands where there are not familial or close relationships, but everyone celebrates every night. Air was recently relocated to a new position as a purger, and he slowly discovers the sinister side of the city.
This is an interesting concept that is poorly executed, badly edited, and takes a turn for the worse at the end.
Anyone who follows this blog knows that I love an overpopulation scifi story. Stoker has an interesting take on it–the world is overpopulated so constantly at war. A city arises where the residents can stay young forever but must follow a series of articles that removes the true joy of living from them. The problem is that I just stated that more succinctly than Stoker does at any point in the novel.
What we have here is the classic example of a good idea poorly executed. The basic concept is great. But the main character’s flashbacks and current thoughts are difficult to read. I found myself constantly skimming the flashbacks, because they were so confusing to read and lent so little to the story.
More upsetting though were the constant errors that had less to do with typos or difficult grammar and more to do with poor understanding of the English language. Examples:
A golden metal sat at the top of his desk. (location 2879)
Won’t even know your there (location 3148)
I thought we we’re in this together (location 4225)
He put Air to sleep so he could remain innocent in the cities eyes (location 4509)
A transport past by (location 4588)
You can’t bring people back once their dead. (location 5050)
I am ti sro and you are the villain. (location 5083)
Anybody, understandably, would be frustrated with this amount of errors.
Perhaps more distressing is the “surprise” ending, which to me was just confusing. Essentially, five infants are killed every 50 years to keep the city of 30 million people alive, yet the science of that is never explained. The key to scifi is plausible science, yet Stoker ignores that entirely. It’s a good idea, but without plausible explanations and good writing, it falls flat. I’d recommend he gets a solid editor before his next attempt.
2 out of 5 stars
Source: Kindle copy from the author in exchange for my honest review