Thursday, 9 April 2020

Review - The Warning by James Patterson

Available on Paperback and Kindle!

I always say, "If you have trouble sleeping, then read a book!"

After tossing and turning for several hours, I got out of bed early this morning and grabbed a book that's been sitting on my nightstand since Christmas – The Warning by James Patterson (co-authored with Robison Wells). The novel was published last August by Grand Central Publishing, and I was given the paperback as a gift around the holidays. At the time, I had placed a bookmark inside with the full intention of reading it right away, and, as you can see that never occurred until this morning.

I was scratching my head after reading the first couple of chapters, as the narrative was clearly written for a YA audience, but I'm pretty sure the novel was marketed for adults. Not that I have anything against adults reading YA novels, as I'm guilty of liking the genre, too. It's just that I'm sure there were many fans of Patterson's adult titles that purchased The Warning and were disappointed with it because it wasn't written for adults.

The Warning is set one year after the town of Mount Hope, South Carolina was evacuated after a nuclear incident occurred at the Mount Hope Nuclear Power Plant. At the time, the citizens were taken to a quarantine camp with no cell-phone coverage, internet access, or cable until it was safe to return to their homes, though they're all still under lockdown.

The narration flips back and forth between two teenage characters ‒ Jordan and his girlfriend, Maggie. Jordan, his younger brother, and their mother try their best to restart their lives, but things quickly get weird when an explosion occurs and a human-like figure with a sword-arm shows up to wreak havoc. Jordan and Maggie have to piece together clues to solve the mystery, which all points to the power plant.

Final Thoughts

I was invested in the story for the first half, which felt like a Dean Koontz's plot from the 1980s. Then everything goes way too bizarre and completely falls apart by the end. The "sentient" computer taking over is a ripoff of "Hal" from 2001: A Space Odyssey and "Skynet" from the Terminator franchise. The latter half feels really rushed, as if the authors had no idea how to end it. The ending messages are a warning to us all that technology is evil!

Overall, The Warning is a mixed bag for me. I don't really mind the science fiction/horror elements, but it's poorly executed. If the authors wanted to truly go that route, then they should've given us detailed descriptions, memorable dialogue, and a "unique" villain. Instead, all we get is another generic YA apocalyptic novel that you'll have completely forgotten about by the time you finish reading the last page.

Nevertheless, there was something about the story that appealed to me. Yes, it could have been better written, especially the latter half, but it reminds me of the cheap paperbacks I read when I was a teenager. The Warning is forgettable by the very end, but at least it kept entertained for a few hours.

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