Friday, 14 October 2016

Gravity by Tess Gerritsen - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

With the contagion now threatening Earth,

there can be no rescue,

leaving Emma and the astronauts quarantined in space,

where they are dying one by one...

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 386
Chapters: 28
Publisher: Harper

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Gravity is a tense, terrifying, and deeply claustrophobic read, and I intend all of those to be compliments.

I will admit, initially, I found this chilling standalone a little difficult to bite into. There are a lot of technical terms, medical jargon, and 'NASA-speak'. They all, of course, lend the novel a sharp authenticity, and the author is always fantastic in executing delicious details, but, for the first quarter, reading can be heavy while you acclimate.

It's my own fault. My lack of knowledge on certain subjects and my penchant for easy-going thrillers have blunted my brain a little. Luckily, Tess whittles it back into shape. 

Just think of those first hundred pages as the incubation stage of the novel's story; you don't know it for sure yet, but you're going to have your mind blown.


Emma Watson, a brilliant research physician, has been training for the mission of a lifetime: to study living creatures in space. Jack McCallum, Emma's estranged husband, is grounded due to a medical condition. He shared her dream of space travel, now all he can do is watch as the mission turns into a nightmare.

A culture of single-celled organisms aboard the space station begins to multiply uncontrollably and infects the astronauts - with agonising results. Emma struggles to contain the deadly micro-organisms, while back home Jack and NASA desperately try to bring her home.

But with the contagion now threatening Earth, there can be no rescue, leaving Emma and the astronauts quarantined in space, where they are dying one by one.

Plot - 5/5 Stars

Wow, and multiply that wow by ten.

Tess isn't afraid to freak you out, and Gravity definitely freaks me out. A mysterious contagion killing in a gruesome fashion while you're trapped in space? I have shivers (and now nightmares) after reading this book. If I ever wanted to go to space, I don't now. Not that I ever have wanted to go to space. I'm a wimp; I like my feet on the ground.

The story manages quite the balance. The author cultivates an audacious amalgamation, with genres such as mystery, medical thriller, and horror just to name a few. The atmosphere created, the fear and isolation, are all phenomenal. I mean, really, once the plot hits its stride, Gravity is nothing short of incredible.

Tension escalates the further along you read with frightening ferocity. Revelations reveal some engaging science-fiction, and Tess's skill at depicting the horrifying and the heartwarming really strikes you to your core.

And the ending... That is how you finish a story with satisfying flair. If you've never thought about your existence much, you will after Gravity. 

Pace - 4/5 Stars

The flow is slow to begin with, giving the reader ample time to sink comfortably into the writing style and absorb the many terms used throughout the book. It's a little infuriating, but wholly worth it. Once the story dips into its terror, you can't stop.

Even when that final page has been devoured, your mind will still be flashing on many events that just burn themselves into your consciousness.

Characters - 4/5 Stars

The core circle of characters are fantastic. They have depth, personality, and backstories that weave an intricate pattern that compliments the overall plot well. Emma is a solid protagonist, and the author expertly expresses her emotions with vigour. Romance is also a factor, with Emma and Jack, in the midst of a divorce, trying to manage their feelings when the nightmare hits its swing. It's sweet and heartbreaking all at once.

But Gravity is bursting with characters. There are so many names and titles that eventually I just couldn't keep track of them all. Luckily, who's who and what they do don't particularly matter in the bigger picture; the only thing that does matter is the content of their conversations, which are exhilarating.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

Despite the abbreviations and acronyms that can sometimes plague the pages, Tess has done a superb job. The way she manipulates tension and tantalises with tenuous tales just can't be knocked. Descriptions are brutal, and with her medical background, shockingly realistic. Events are balanced well and riveting, each scene a nail-biting experience that will immediately have you paranoid of the bacteria and organisms hiding beyond our sight.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

An incredibly well-crafted story with a stunning atmosphere and thrilling horror.

For more Tess Gerritsen reviews: Index

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