*** The old description of the book was misleading: it isn’t a techno-thriller, but an almost post-apocalyptic novel
I don’t know where to start in reviewing this book.
At first I was struck by the characterization. The author manages to make you feel in the shoes of the main character while he is living a terrifying drama with his family (his wife, with whom he has problems, and son) and his neighbours. A cyber terror attack completely blocks internet, causing the failure of basic services in Manhattan (electricity, water, etc ...). This is done in conjunction with a terrible snowstorm. The population is stuck in a city where everything stops working and is likely to freeze to death or starve in a short time. Added to this is isolation, because nobody knows if the same is happening elsewhere, if the world that everyone knows is really finished. The atmosphere is post-apocalyptic, with desperate humans who don’t hesitate to kill for a bit of food or fuel, others getting even to cannibalism.
The author chooses the limited perspective of the main character, Mike Mitchell, who is just an ordinary person trying to survive. His adventures are distressing. You suffer with him, wondering what will happen in the next page.
I liked all that, but only up to a certain point. Yes, because this continuous persevering of the author in worsening the situation of the protagonist becomes tiring. I had hoped that at some point the protagonist was somehow involved in the resolution of the story, but it isn’t what happens. Unaware of what is really happening in the world, Mike lives his human drama with increasing desperation, which is transmitted to the reader, and then suddenly it all ends, without him having any merit and with a resolution that leaves quite a few questions unanswered.
As I picked up this book I had expected to find myself in front of a techno-thriller that was centred on the cyber attack (as it seemed by reading the title and description), on the understanding of its origin and its resolution, but all this is vaguely explained only at the end of the book, where among other things it slips from drama to science fiction. The novel is in fact a sort of prequel to a science fiction series by the same author focused on a floating city called Atopia.
I hadn’t realised it was the same old (almost) post-apocalyptic story (genre that I don’t like at all), which narrates the miseries of ordinary people in the face of a disaster, but I thought it was a techno-thriller, a thriller where the technology has an important role. The book instead deals with the consequences of the sudden absence of such technology. The basic problem, in fact, is due to the actual description of the book (the one present when I decided to read this book), in which it is defined as a techno-thriller and is even recommended to fans of Michael Crichton, with whose works it has absolutely nothing to do. I find this choice quite misleading, as well as risky, since it can lead to potentially negative reviews (like mine) by those who expected to read something else.