The Fold by Peter Clines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I sat down with The Fold (which I received for review from the publisher), I didn’t have high expectations. Honestly, I didn’t really know what it was about. I knew it was by an author who wrote another book I read that I didn’t hate and that it was adult Science Fiction. Other than that I was walking into this story like a blank slate and I appreciated that. So to those who are curious, if you want more explanation bent Science Fiction, that manages to balance a few interesting characters, I would say stop reading this review here and check it out. This is a solid story that I would recommend to people who already like science fiction and want something that is fun and theoretical science based, without becoming hard sci-fi.
Okay, you gone?
If you are still here I’m going to presume that you have already read this book or you don’t care much about spoilers. Don’t worry, I won’t go into any nitty gritty spoilers, but I do want to be able to actually talk about this book and what it presents and unfortunately involves some general allusions that may spoil your expectations.
I loved this story. It is not one that is going to be one of my all time favorites, but it managed to dredge up a lot of feelings within me. I should have known after I read the first chapter. The sense of dread and unease was palpable. It was this lingering worry of what that first chapter meant as Mike dove deeper into what was going on. The story was filled with plenty of science based goodness, but it also threw in a number of fantastical elements that diversified the experience.
We followed Mike, a man with a 180 IQ and eidetic memory. If you couldn’t tell it set him up as someone who was a little bit more than most others. Which is interesting considering we are dealing with a bunch of top scientists. Despite how amazing Mike is, he would much rather teach American Literature to high schoolers in Maine. At first Mike came off a bit dry. However as we saw him interacting more with others and we got to see how the ants worked in his mind, he became more engaging. By the end of the book, I absolutely loved Mike.
There were a few other major characters in the book that Mike spent most of his time, namely Jamie. Jamie was a fierce girl who was highly intelligent. I don’t want to spoil her development and the thing she grows through. However the more we see Mike interacting with her, the more I found myself loving Jamie. She was highly complex and there always seemed to be another layer.
The other characters weren’t all as well fleshed out. There were a couple of them who felt like cardboard cutouts. Yet, this feeling was not universal. Some of the more background characters did actually feel alive and real. It seemed like it was almost a roll of the dice as to which of them felt developed. The ones that ended up with better development happened to be Bob and Olaf. While Sasha still didn’t feel entirely real even near the end.
The plot of the book was that of a mystery. Mike was there to observe the team. They needed more money, for a device that seemingly already worked. The government wanted to know why. Mike being impartial and curious was persuaded to do the job. As Mike goes through the ropes of breaking through to the team and slowly becoming one of them, we learn more about what exactly is going on at this facility. The more we learn the more complex and dangerous it seems. The pacing at which the various events happened were well done until the end of the book. The ending trying to raise the action to a fever pitch managed to lose some of what made the rest of the story so great. It got caught up in being crazy that I lost interest. Until that last section it was wonderful. However the story managed to reel itself back in for the final moments once the chaos subsided. In that part it came back to the story I loved.
I’ve always known about multiple dimensions thanks to comic books which have highly complex multi-verses. Only recently did I learn about the Many Worlds Theory. I’ll be honest, it’s nice to have an actual name for the concept. In short there are many parallel instances of our world. Some are extremely close to our own and others are far more divergent. The Fold played with this idea. It did it brilliantly. Where many stories like to toy with the idea of how different things could be, much of what The Fold deals with are the more minute changes. For the most part. It made it fun to see how they struggled with this situation that was going wrong and trying to prevent it.
It seemed pretty clear that the way the story was told that there definitely could be more. I for sure would like to see where it would go next. What sort of device or science-based theory would be explored. Especially if we could see some of the surviving characters in it.