It is difficult to review a novel of the “master” without repeating myself, since, whatever the story, all his writings are characterized by the ability of gluing us to the pages until the end and on the other hand by the fact that they explore a new topic, always teaching us something new.
It also happens in “Prey”. The topic is nanotechnology and the theme of the scientific experiment that escapes from the hands of those who executes it. This latter issue is certainly not something new, but the point of view from which Crichton decides to tell us the story is very special.
Almost the entire novel (except, I believe, one scene), in fact, is told in first person by the husband of the scientist on duty, who for most of the book witnesses strange situations that he does not understand or interprets in the wrong way, thus keeping alive our curiosity, page after page, and by allowing us to find out the facts with him. An approach that helps a complete involvement in the reading.
Yet unlike other novels I’ve read so far, I’ve “just” given 4 stars. The reason is perhaps personal: the topic of the swarm of nanoparticles has not impressed me at all. It does not mean that the author hasn’t managed it in the best way. Quite the contrary. The swarms, as he describes them, are really scary. But I found it a difficult topic to conceive, especially in respect of the final developments of story, but also the whole part, in which he explains a bit about the frontiers of nanotechnology (information based in part on actual studies confirmed by the bibliography and to which a lot of speculation and fantasy is added) has not won my full interest. Maybe it depends on the fact that nanotechnology, at least in the way it has been presented in this book, did not appear very appealing to me. What missed, in short, as far as I'm concerned, was that part of the fun in the books of Crichton that comes from learning something new, this is because I did not felt involved in the topic, therefore the book didn’t leave too much to me after reading it.
He, however, remains for me a solid point of reference. I only regret that, once finished reading all of his books, there will not be others anymore.
Prey on Amazon.com.