Review Blog

Dec 15 2015

Departure by A. G. Riddle

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HarperCollins, 2015. ISBN 9780008156879
(Age: 15+) Recommended. When Flight 305 unexpectedly loses power and crash-lands somewhere in remote England, the survivors have enough trouble just staying alive in the unforgiving wilderness. But soon enough, they realise they've landed in a different world - and five strangers may just have clues to where they are:
Nick Stone, a mysterious man who soon becomes a leader after the crash; Harper Lane, a writer about to make an important career decision; Sabrina Schröder, a doctor who's spent far more time in a research lab than treating wounded people; Yul Tan, a computer scientist who seems permanently attached to his laptop; and Grayson Shaw, the alcoholic son of a billionaire.
As more truths are discovered about what happened, it will be up to Harper and Nick to unfold the mysteries surrounding their whereabouts and the crash - and how their decisions will affect the world.
After reading Departure, it comes as little surprise to learn that it has already been optioned for film rights. After all, a major strength of the book is its 'set pieces', so to speak - take for example the opening plane crash and its aftermath, which manages to be both utterly terrifying and breathtakingly real, and will surely translate well to the screen.
Although Departure loses its steam slightly after the opening scene, and again towards the end of the novel, it manages to be a gripping science fiction story for the most part. The characters are intriguing and have good development, although they can be frustrating at times. The sci-fi aspect of it is very well-done, and should please even the 'hardest' of sci-fi fans, although this can also be a minor flaw - occasionally the descriptions of technology are so complex and lengthy that they become boring. However, in the grand scheme of things, these flaws are small, and the book suffers little for it.
Departure is an intense, thrilling story, perfect for sci-fi fans in particular.
Rebecca Adams (University student)

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