Friday, June 26, 2015

THE BORDER by Robert McCammon

With The Border, Robert McCammon goes back to his roots! His new novel harkens back to his 80's sci-fi/horror classics like Swan Song and Stinger, and mixes in some War of the Worlds with a story
about our Earth becoming a battleground between two hostile alien civilizations and humanity trying to survive in the wake. Although it was enjoyable to an extent, I was disappointed with discovering that I wasn't as into it as I would've expected, given that McCammon is one of my favorite authors. 

McCammon can be long-winded and wordy at times, but sometimes I have found it endearing, showing just how excited he is to be telling his story. Plus, he's the type of writer where you just enjoy reading his wordsmith-ing. But here, I felt that it made for an uneven pace and the book felt a little long and repetitive. And there are so many things, all the way until the ending, that just feel too convenient. Also, the main character of Ethan was a problem for me. He's already introduced as the overused trope we've seen tons of times: the mysterious, gifted kid that is the key to saving the world. But there are many developments that happen with him that just never felt right to me. There's also a missed opportunity where McCammon could've really delved into the idea of this little boy who is trying to deal with the fact of not remembering who he is and being gifted with these powers and responsibility he doesn't understand, and how terrifying that must be for him, and how he must eventually learn to grow past that and become the hero he's destined to be. That would've been cool to witness. But instead, from the start Ethan never really feels like a kid, and seems to just take everything in stride, which, yes, it makes him unbelievably strong, but also pretty boring.

But aside from these issues, the book is still a superficially entertaining summer blockbuster, with plenty of sci-fi action scenes, aliens, guns, and Transformers...a cool book to read on vacation.
She began to sob, to weep for the dead and for the living, for those who had long ago given up hope and for those who still hung on to what tomorrow might bring...

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