Published by Crown Publishing on June 2nd, 2015
Genres: adult, science fiction
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STEP INTO THE FOLD.
IT’S PERFECTLY SAFE.
The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.
That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.
The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe.
Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.
As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.
It’s a rare book that can scare me. It’s a rare book that can scare me with just words and tension and the build-up of human emotion. But that’s The Fold. At least that’s The Fold for the first two-thirds of the book. The character’s emotions build the tension slowly–you really feel the fear, the angst, the wariness, the mystery. Mike shows up on the scene and the scientists and engineers are distant; some are even outright rude. Mike tries to do his job investigating the Albuquerque Door and things start out find but they just start to get weird and weirder. But it’s the kind of weird that grows terrifying–fast. Fear of the unknown will always do that to you. It’s really easy to put yourself in Mike’s shoes and feel what he is feeling. People start behaving as if they are completely different people, the door starts functioning oddly, there are weird green roaches showing up on the main floor, and you have no idea what is happening.
It all works so well. I loved it. But there are things that are not perfect.
1. I could have done without the romance. It just didn’t add anything to the story. While I liked both characters, I would have preferred them as friends, co-workers, etc. I just didn’t see the point.
2. I’m going to be black sheepy and say that I thought the protagonist having eidetic memory was a bit cliche. First of all, it has never been proven to actually exist. Second, the way he kept talking about the red ants and the blank ants in his brain got a bit repetitive and annoying. I get why his memory and thought process was written that way, I just got sick of hearing about it.
3. The turn the plot takes for the worst in the last third of the book. It goes from science fiction to horror, and I really found that campy and disappointing. While it was well-written, I just think that the book lost its intelligence and what made it so unique in the first place. The monsters weren’t that scary, and you really notice how the quality of the book diminishes because it was MUCH more terrifying before the monsters showed up.
All things considered though, I really enjoyed The Fold. The world-building was well thought out and extremely well-researched. Most of it could never happen, but that doesn’t matter as long as it FEELS like it could happen. It made sense within the narrative and the technology felt very real. I never got bogged down by too much science-y stuff. It starts out slow, but it has this slow burn that just gets more intense as the book progresses. I very much liked the writing for this reason. I thought it might be too much for me to handle because I don’t know very much physics, but that was not the case at all. It was a techno-thriller for sure, and I loved most of it.
The characters weren’t people that I liked, but they were full of depth and all very different. I would have liked to see more from Sasha, Neil, and Olaf because though they had different personalities, I feel they were shadows of what they could have been. But Mike, Jamie, and Arthur remain very memorable in my mind. The female characters were strong and equal to the men.
I do recommend the fold. I recommend it a lot. Most readers don’t even have a problem with the ending, so it might not be an issue for a new reader. For me, I just wish the book had not taken such an unoriginal turn. But it all depends on what you are scared of.