Reviewer: Rainbow Book Reviews at http://www.rainbowbookreviews.com/book-reviews/surviving-immortality-by-alan-chin-at-dsp-publications
Matt Reece is only eighteen when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan, has lived on his family’s ranch since he was born, and has been pretty much a recluse for the last two years. Like his father Jessup, he is gay and the bullying in school got so bad after his older brother left two years before the story starts that he has been homeschooled. In no way does any of this prepare him for what is to come – though I would argue that nothing can prepare anyone for having to face immortality, not to mention every single political, military, and religious group on the planet being after you for the secret. Matt Reece feels the burden of responsibility to “do something great” with the gift he has been given, but, at first, he has no idea what that might be. Combined with being on the run and fearing for his life, he faces terror from so many different angles that it’s a miracle he remains sane.
Kenji has invented the immortality formula but he is a shifty character almost from the start. While he seems to have commendable goals – like ending war, poverty, and disease – I did not like his attitude toward his husband, Jessup, and that was before the blackness of his soul emerges. The things he does to achieve what looks like a noble goal expose his ruthless side, and in that sense, he is a perfect incarnation of the principle that “the end justifies the means” which has terrifying consequences for his family and, ultimately, for him.
The story is told from different points of view, revealing a variety of perspectives offered up like puzzle pieces. Nobody knew everything at any point in time, nobody had any sort of control, and most characters were out to save their own behinds. Pretty realistic on any given day, but with the bombshell of immortality affecting everyone’s world view all of a sudden, this was particularly true. Alan Chin does not pull his punches with criticism on religious leaders, multinational corporations, the corruption of governments and politicians worldwide (but particularly in the US), and the military and law enforcement are shown from their worst side as well. As a whole, this novel offers an assessment of the worst side of the human race, and the emergence of the potential of immortality worsens the greed, infighting, and ruthless power-grabbing about a thousandfold. The situation changes the world as we know it to the point where it becomes a postapocalyptic situations where new rules emerge from the rubble that used to be civilization.
Despite the overall darkness shown by exposing humanity at its worst, there are a few flecks of hope and light throughout. Matt Reese is young and naive and seems helpless at first. He suffers both emotionally and physically as Kenji tries to drag him down into the moral abyss that is Kenji’s soul. But there is a stubborn goodness in Matt Reece that gradually grows stronger as he finds his way. Finding love gives him purpose, his family members join him in his fight, and when courage grows out of fear, Matt Reece emerges like a phoenix from the ashes, a very different person than he was before.
If you like thrillers with a global scale, if you want to watch a family go from peaceful ranchers to the only guys who can save the world (with the help of a few good men), and if you’re looking for a suspenseful read that explores human nature in a mesmerizing story with a surprisingly hopeful ending, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. I found it emotionally draining yet utterly captivating!
ebook and print
Novel, 446 pages/154331 words
$6.99 ebook, $19.99 paperback, $19.99 bundle