"Dr. Sam Townsend faces the greatest challenge of his career--preventing a diabolical pathogen from being unleashed on the US population. Standing in his way are demons from his past, and a home-grown terrorist bent on destroying Sam."
I have never read a science thriller before (I'm not certain I've read a thriller before) so it was quite exciting to get into Phage, not knowing what exactly to expect.
My first fear was that I wouldn't understand what was going on. After all, Tamplin has a background in microbiology, which I have next to no knowledge in. However, everything makes perfect sense as long as you don't let the big words grind you down. Even though there were plenty of words I didn't know the meaning of, that didn't seem to matter, as it all made perfect sense to me. And let's just say I was an English-History sort of person at school, so don't let the microbiology stuff put you off. I must admit, I did end up skimming some of the heavy science stuff, but I enjoyed the way this book made my brain work a little harder than normal. We all need that from time to time.
Phage is told in a very black-and-white way, as I expected. But I wanted a little more emotion from all the characters. Plus, I wanted to get to know them a little better. They all had bits and piece of backstory, but I wanted to truly know them and feel what they were feeling.
The way it was told also brought out some very bizarre and specific descriptions, especially when travelling. I don't know whether this was done on purpose or not, but it ended up irritating me to know that they turned a certain way at a junction to take the whatever road. Also, there were some very weird, real-life interruptions sometimes when the characters were talking to one another, which is the sort of thing that usually gets taken out, but for some reason, the characters get interrupted for no reason at all, which I just found odd. But again, I wouldn't be surprised if this was a style choice. Like I said, it's told in a very matter-of-fact way. The whole thing feels very realistic.
The plot is so intricate and well-thought out. There is always something going on, and as you get to the end, the tension really ramps up. However, sometimes our protagonist and friends seemed to lack urgency. Or maybe that was me just dying to know how it ended. The short chapters also made it super-easy to read a whole lot in one go.
Considering I had no idea what to expect when I turned the first page, I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed Phage so much more than I expected and imagine fans of the genre would fall easily into this book's trap. It didn't take me many sittings at all to absorb the whole thing.
Phage is an intricately carved, exciting science thriller that kept me reading.
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