This novel was reviewed for May-December Publications.
This Is the End by Eric Pollarine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The protagonist is not a character I’ve been able to develop any sympathy for. I guess he is proof that riches don’t make for civility or character, for moral integrity or for compassion. Considering that for all his supposed technological creativity, in a sense it was happenstance that his product(s) sold so well, his arrogance becomes a matter of hubris-and as we all know from Greek plays-hubris goeth before a fall. I became so aggravated at him I wanted to shout, “So get frozen already-and just shut up!!”
No, Gentle Review Readers, that is not a euphemistic cussing-out. This gentleman (THAT is a euphemism) has been diagnosed with cancer, and instead of dying and relieving the world of his unappealing presence, he decides to be cryogenically frozen, and treated with chemotherapy and alternative forms while in his frozen stasis. So when I consider screaming, “Get frozen,” I was being practical-considering this is a character in a book and not a real-life event.
I was 27% into this story before I developed an interest. Since the preceding dealt solely with Mr. Hubris and his unremitting arrogance and dislike of everything except himself, I could not achieve either empathy or even care as to his condition-present or future. If I were revamping this novel, I would begin either as he is entering his office-where the action finally ramps up and becomes intriguing-or perhaps just a few pages earlier, when he regains consciousness (I don’t wish to be too specific so as not to spoil). Everything before then I would make backstory, for illustration of character, and to explore the rationale for his decision in favour of cryogenesis (purely selfish reasons).
Once Jeff (the protagonist) reaches the point I mention above, the plot picks up and there is plenty of action. I even enjoyed his rather ingenuous appraisal of his attackers-the man is so much engaged with himself, he can’t even recognize what’s going on until it is virtually explained-and illustrated-to him. This is a case of intelligence in one area not really carrying over to either compassion nor good common sense.
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