Reviewed by Awesome Indies Assessor
March 21, 2013
Daimones begins with Dan being fired from his job. Though it’s a fairly ordinary situation and the author emphasises this ordinariness with writing that details the simple perceptions that make up our daily life, for Dan, it’s the beginning of a much greater change. He has barely managed to come to terms with his new situation, hasn’t even told his twelve year old daughter, when his concerns fade into insignificance in light of a complete upheaval to the world order. After a bad storm, his family awake to discover that they are the only ones left alive in their area. Everyone else has died, in their beds, at work, while driving their car, all at the same time, and all from the same unknown cause.
Their attempts to call friends and relatives meet with silence, their Internet searches indicate that the rest of the world has met the same fate. What killed everyone and why was he, his wife and daughter spared? These are questions they cannot answer, so they cope as best they can and plan for survival.
The book details their emotional journey, the way they adapt to their new circumstances and their search for other survivors. Little happens in terms of action for many pages, so if you’re looking for fast paced action this is not the book for you, but the author skilfully embeds the simplicity of their life with enough tension to keep me turning pages to find out if someone would respond to their Facebook add, if the dogs would accept the family as their new masters or if Dan would find anyone alive in his trips around the area. Gradually the mystery is unveiled, but only at the end do we find out the full picture, and the picture is a large one, universal in its scope.
It’s a well written book. Dan is an intelligent, thoughtful character, and the ramifications of their situation for the future of the human race and, in particular, his daughter stimulate deep contemplation which, along with his realistic and sensitive insights into the character’s emotional journeys, gives the story depth.
The pacing is a little slow and more dramatic action would make this more appealing to a wider audience. As it is, it’s more contemporary fiction in style than the usual sci fi or apocolyptic book.
Reviewed by Richard Bunning
I loved reading this book. Some parts of it held my attention like a vice. I can still hear the roar of roller blades, the shatter of glass, the cawing of circling crows.
Some passages in the early version I read needed a touch more editing. However, the little stutters in the flow, the very occasional clumsyphrase, certainly didn’t spoil the book. I guess it might if you happen to be the sort of grammarian that suffers pain from every linguistic deviation, but then you must often be short of reading. (P.S. -I was an ARC reader- so prior to the book been revised to make the AI standard).
I had the constant nag at the back of my mind that the electricity supply for Geneva should have died, along with 99.9% of the population. Though this continuing availability was never explicitly explained the implicit assumption I eventually made tied the threads together satisfactorily. Another strand that I felt needed earlier enforcement was the childhood experience of Dan, which led to his life of chronic tinnitus. The early avoidance of these issues was I’m sure due to a determination to hold the surprise of the ending.
We start with reports of animal population crashes that might have come from the culturally shifting writing of Rachel Carson, move through a quiet apocalypse, then delve into the individualistic process of survival. Finally, Marino pulls together an episodic and dystopian past history of mankind, and the promise of a new galactic spirituality for our species. Erich Von Däniken, Philip K Dick and Arthur C Clarke might all have been sitting around a table collectively weaving together the elements of the new start instigated by the Daimones. I can see Marino sitting at the end of the table rapidly scribbling notes. Then finally, he selected a touch of each to colour his vision. Though each of these great authors probably inspired a few sentences, I feel that there is a lot of novel speculation to come in the rest of the planned trilogy.
I really found this to be a very enjoyable read. I am sure this is partly because I’m a writer of speculative science fiction of a similar nature. But also it’s because this is, even with science fiction discounted, a very entertaining book. The differing psychological profiles and difficulties of the main characters are well drawn, giving very real feeling grist to Marino’s speculative ideas.