The beginning of this novel was slow going for me. The characters were quite annoying and the language the author used was just insane. For example, the couple called each other “my love,” “my darling,” and some other lame stuff, and at one point Zoe describes her husband as having “baby-blue peepers that she’d fallen in love with instantly.” I can’t think of anyone who’s ever in my life said “peepers.” Maybe it’s a regional thing though – the protagonists are never given a country of origin but they use British and American slang throughout. So maybe Brits say “peepers,” who knows. But once you get through all that (and just accept the fact that the author has an undying attraction to the phrases “oyster-gray” and “oyster-colored mist” which will be repeated throughout the novel) curiosity will pull you in and you’ll start wondering what the hell is actually going on in this dead world. Could it be that they’ve been abducted by aliens and are now existing in a construct that mirrors their reality for the aliens’ viewing pleasure and/or knowledge? Or they’ve somehow been transported to a parallel universe in which they must populate the world in a sort of messed up snowy Eden? You just have to keep reading to find out.
I had never heard of Graham Joyce before signing up for this novel, but I would definitely read some more of his work if given the chance. Apparently he’s a British speculative fiction author who’s written several fantasy and young adult novels, as well as some short stories. So that could be interesting. Overall, I enjoyed his style of writing (aside from some overly repeated phrases and some out-of-date phrases) and thought he did a good job of describing the scenery and keeping the pace of the novel interesting. I was just a tad bit disappointed with the ending and thought that the plot held a lot more potential, especially for a fantasy and sci-fi writer. This has definitely been my favorite win from Goodreads First Reads so far though. 3.5 stars
Favorite Quote: "'Because we're in a place where a horse shits rainbows.'" (ha)