Review: The God Wave

God WaveBy Patrick Hemstreet

HarperVoyager (US), out May 17

A neuroscientist discovers a way to harness the power of the brain…

When you’re telling a story with a high concept at its heart, as Patrick Hemstreet is here in his debut novel, you have to think of a way in for your reader – and unfortunately, that’s lacking here.

We start off being told that Chuck Brenton is a neuroscientist, and instantly we’re thrown into his scientific world, learning about the experiments which are the core of the book. The next chapter introduces Matthew, mathematician and programmer, with whom he partners. From there, we jump to them at their own company and Chuck’s idealism butting against Matthew’s pragmatism. From there to a breakthrough and a need for funding… And in all that time, we learn precious little about who all these people actually are. They have characteristics, sure, but no depth; things happen and have happened to them. We know what but not who they are.

That disadvantages the whole story, as it takes some rather predictable turns (quite a lot of which are given away in the blurb!). It’s not helped, either, by some of the dialogue that veers from colloquial to clunky, often feeling like it’s taking its cues from old B-movies. If Hemstreet had devoted space to build up the world and the characters, some of this wouldn’t perhaps be as noticeable.

Verdict: The God Wave has an intriguing premise; unfortunately the execution doesn’t live up to the promise. 5/10

Paul Simpson

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