The Fold

The Fold: A Novel - Peter Clines

[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.]

Excellent idea and premise, although I wasn't really convinced by the ending.

I liked the main character's ability (eidetic memory): although convenient, alright, it's also interesting. Mike's take on it, on life the way he wanted to lead it, may have seemed silly at first, yet kind of made sense at the same time: somewhat resenting being "special", because it set him apart, made people react to him differently, perhaps even more because he "wasn't trying"... but also pushing him to want to know more about that odd and potentially twisted government project his old friend Reggie sends him on. Both a blessing and a curse, so to speak.

As for the project itself, "teleportation" in general is one of those ideas that have always fascinated me (and not only because long commutes are getting old fairly quickly). Space-folding is definitely a subset of this, with all the questions, the "hows" and the "what ifs..." it raises; the main theme behind the Albuquerque Door project grabbed my attention from the beginning, and I eagerly kept reading to see what would unfold (no pun intended), what the catch was, how the characters would react... I suppose Mike should've guessed sooner, perhaps? I don't know. Everybody was behaving in shifty ways and sending mixed signals, which in retrospect was totally normal, so probably anyone, even a genius, would be confused at some point. These strange relationships between, on the one hand, scientists and engineers who all had their quirks, and Mike with his own quirks too on the other hand, were intriguing. Much like Reggie himself, as a reader, I could feel that something was wrong, yet without being able to put my finger on what exactly.

The Big Reveal didn't disappoint: extremely logical yet unexpected enough, as there could have been several other explanations behind the science of the Door and what happened every time it was opened. This part of the novel had a Fringe-quality for me (the TV series, I mean), and was intriguing as well as horrifying, considering what it involved and implied for the characters. That was clearly a world-shattering revelation.

My main issue with this story was its last third, when the horror was given a face, so to speak. The ontological implications of the Door, the secret behind it, were more horrifying for me than what happened afterwards. By comparison, the "regulation system" (for want of a non-spoilerish term) seemed banal and a bit cliché. The way the characters chose to solve the issue was unfortunately a cliché as well, and I wasn't really sold on the romance part either. (The latter was both really important, as it allowed to unveil the mystery, and enough on the side to keep me from rolling my eyes—too often, in many novels, characters are busy frolicking instead of attending more pressing matters such as saving the world.)

Conclusion: An interesting novel, with a fascinating theme that raises a lot of questions, prompting a lasting malaise in turn. However, the ending felt disappointing when pitched against the rest. 3.5 stars.