Okay, this entry is to be in english seeing as it might be read by certain epic british people and I hope that is okay. I hope I'm forgiven for my inactivity on this blog lately and will try my best to be more active next week (I have a few ideas for entries now anyway so I think it will work out fine). Now I'm going to go right over to the review-part of this entry so enjoy! By the way I have the possibility of searching on my blog now, ain't that cool? (It for some reason included an ugly line beneath my header which I don't know how to get rid of it, but lets just ignore it and enjoy the searching possiblities that makes for example the results if one search for "musical" seem daunting seeing as I've obviously written about that a great many times.) But enough about that, to the review, let's go!!!
«On the third day» by Rhys Thomas, an intriguing read of epic proportions
Okay, long story short. About a month ago I read and loved «The Suicice Club» by Rhys Thomas and I loved it enough to write a glowing review that I posted on my blog. Then Rhys Thomas's publishers found my review, translated it to english so that he could read it and we had a bit of correspondance on facebook and hotmail, ending up with me posting the english translation on my blog too and getting Rhys Thomas's newest book sent to me free of charge. Epic Win!!! Now I've read it too and I adore Rhys Thomas even more.
«Society is on the brink of collapse. The Old World is vanishing, the New World is taking over. There are no rules. Not now that a deadly disease is spreading that causes its victims to turn violent. Previously loving people become murderous. No-one can tell who will turn and who will not.
A work of force and dark brilliance – the perfect expression of the terrors of the 21st Century.»
So goes the description on the backside of the book and for sci-fi fans the scenario is wellknown. There is a illness that silently spreads across the globe, lots of people dies and the order of things gets disrupted. But Rhys Thomas's story is still everything other than typical.
Personally I haven't read many stories with this type of concept, but I truly believe that if you want to read just one book about people dying of mysterios illnesses that makes the apocalypse seem that much closer then «On the third day» should absolutely be your pick. And the reason for that is how calm the book is. Oh, there are shooting and actionfilled sequences that makes one think one are watching a movie while one is reading, but still the overall effect is one of calmness. Rhys Thomas is incredibly good at making a story contain tension and intrigue, giving the most serene moments a hint of destruction that makes one feel how things are just not right, makes one feel the story taking you under its wings, bringing you along to a new universe where nothing is to be taken for granted. It's hard to describe really, but I found it in «The Suicide Club» too, how the scenes where there doesn't seem to happen much at all are the scenes where you're certain that so much are happening under the surface. This effect was especially clear in the beginning of «On the third day», but it is there throughout the whole story.
Another wonderful thing about «On the third day» is how wellwritten it is. It's not the type of book in which I want to quote everything like with «The Suicide Club», but it just has this flair and Rhys Thomas's writing seems so effortlessly, it gives the feeling that he could decide to write about just about everything and it would be incredibly weelwritten anyway and that is a special quality that I find inspiring. And what both «On the third day» and «The Suicide Club» has is this current feel to them, they're so realistic and up-to-date and especially in «On the third day» this feel is almost frightningly, but in a good way. You believe this story of world collapse and terror and you believe that it would come to happen like this if a serious illness like this books «the sadness» happened. Plus, in our time with scares like the swine-flu and similar flus the scenario «On the third day» builds doesn't seem that unrealistic, if anything it makes one scared that it will happen because it seems totally believeable and because of the way the descriptions make it sound like one could mistake it for a depression while it is much worse. Suffice to say it is an intriguing story to say the least and masterfully portrayed through Rhys Thomas's carefully picked words.
Other things I liked was how the book made me think of «The Neverending Story» seeing as the illness was called «the sadness» and that totally brought a picture of the «swamps of sadness» to my mind. Of course this was a bit sad to seeing as I thought of Artax losing all hope when reading of this same scenario happening to the characters in the book and that image is one of the saddest ever. I also loved how «the sadness» weren't explained, it just happened and yet the names in the books that often were names from the bible like Miriam, Joseph and Mary (among others) made one think it was meant to happen. I don't believe in God myself, but I really liked how you get the sense of how it was like just one more of Gods tests, like plagues or floods and everything, personally I had this vision of a God where the earth is his body and mostly seems fine because of a great immune system, but at times get flus or colds and since it's a great wide earth the illnesses are just that much bigger in spectre and then the immune system just gets worn out over the years, making the illnesses that much worse when they really hit. But that could be me overthinking, though that is another cool thing about «On the third day», it makes me overanalyze. What is for certain is that this is a book that is very well thought out, how the illness affects people is thought out, the build-up is thought out and it's also an incredibly ambitious book in my opinion which largely lives up to it's ambitions.
With that said, «On the third day» has its faults. It's a great book in many ways, but it isn't perfect. For one thing it wasn't really my kind of story, I liked it, but I'm not that into the concept and that is a personal thing, it just so happened that «The Suicide Club» fitted me better. But as you can probably see by reading the earlier things I've written here I liked the book, I really liked «On the third day» actually, but it didn't have the type of concept that made me really engage with the story. Other than that I also think «On the third day» is a little too long with it's 520 pages, I see the point of it being long and it's grand scale makes it fun to read seeing as it just looks cool when you sit on the subway and read a book of massive size, but it could have been a bit shorter and still contained much of the moments that made this a wonderful book. Also, because of the nature of the story you didn't really fell in love with the characters like in «The Suicide Club», though that was in part a good thing too seeing as I find that «The Suicide Club» were driven by the characters, this is a book where the atmosphere and the object of an illness drives the story. So the fact that it wasn't that personal seemed completely right considering the story being told.
And that brings me to another fascinating fact and that is how incredibly different from «The Suicide Club» this book is, while still having Rhys Thomas's trademark of intriguing stillness and tension lurking beneath the surface. It's two completely different stories, written in two completely different ways; «The Suicide Club» being the one that takes you totally into the head of one character that you fall in love with just because he's so real, «On the third day» telling a more apocalyptic story by following a cast of different characters in third-person, giving you the one thing «The Suicide Club» couldn't give you and that is different perspectives. And here I have to congratulate Rhys Thomas especially on creating the character of Joseph which I never liked, but which you can't really dislike either seeing as he really are a good person, in spite of him taking very many decisions which I don't agree on. In that area he actually reminded me a bit of Richard Harper though I largely prefer the last one of the two. Rhys Thomas knows what he's doing in any case and I am glad to have read «On the third day» because it is a wonderful book even if I didn't love it. I really liked it and think everyone should read it and that is certainly something too.
So, I grant «On the third day» a 5, casting my dice with splendor and hope that he knows how incredibly grateful I am to him for liking my review of "The Suicide Club" and getting me the chance of reading more of his books.
Friendly reviewing helloes from Karoline (which shall know post this review and decide what to read now) =D