The Cleansing, by Sam Kates. Book #1 in the Earth Haven series
Seven billion people inhabit this planet in blissful ignorance of imminent annihilation. Destruction comes, not from meteors or nuclear holocaust, but from a source no one even knows exists.
The architects of doom have long moved among us, hidden in plain sight, waiting for the signal to trigger our extinction.
A handful of survivors—traumatized, bewildered—must come to terms with the new reality. And quickly. For the Cleansing is only the beginning…
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Travis Borne’s review:
Kept me guessing until the end, and then I headed straight over to Amazon. Yep, I already purchased the next book in the series. Warning, what follows may contain hints at spoilers…
Because Sam Kates is a master storyteller. So, it’s difficult not to hint at spoilers—when the entire novel is an intriguing conundrum of plot hooks! I found myself desperately wanting to know “the truth.” The why, the what in the world… especially the, “Did it have to go down like that?” Why, why? Every single human!
Well, just about. The Cleansing wrenched my guts, shocked me with saga-sized scope, and incited compassion, AND rage. Then it boggled my mind—after cleansing this damn planet. Yep. Think Superman, but with a more detailed, maybe even possible—who knows?—explanation of alien worlds. Great tie-ins, superb concepts. And the author laid out the breadcrumbs cleverly along each step of the way, tantalizingly so. So, I could hardly put it down. Because I just had to find out. I read this book in only a few days.
A misanthrope would revel in what happened. But the story maintained its engaging, disturbing series of events while… Well, let’s just say there were some depressing moments for humanity. The plot was rock solid, humanity was not. Include deep character development, varied characters with in-your-head, down-to-earth or across-the-universe points of view, and what you’ll experience is a full-circle jumpstart to a pretty amazing series. I’m glad I stumbled onto this novel (found it on Twitter). There’s good, honest folks, characters I loved. And sinister, misanthropic ones, who inflicted the unthinkable—characters I loved to hate. And I sure got to…
Serious without a lot of humor, the Cleansing had clean, well-edited prose that flowed from captivating beginning, to blockbuster finale, with plenty of shocking realizations—as well as dead corpses—in between. From the get-go I found myself sucked right into this first book of the Earth Haven series. A terrifying, stomach-turning, punch-to-the-gut, full-of-frisson kind of muahahaha goodness. (Think, Bishop—you’ll see what I mean when you read it). The cleansing really performed. It performed unspeakably, indifferently against humanity with tsunami-like efficiency. And the aftermath was haunting, appalling. But that was not the end, not by far.
Following the “wipe of epic proportions,” were the wake-up calls, for only the tiniest few. A new story in and of itself! Living the quiet life, ahhh… No bills, no emails or mailbox litter—and no one to love… Then, survival. The only human left on the planet, perhaps. Loneliness setting in, depression next, followed up with suicidal tendencies, and then—the calling. And this is where the novel really opened up. The scoop, the why, was eerily mind-blowing. And the bowling pins were set up as though a team of Leonardo da Vinci poltergeists had managed to make a chandelier out of them. The beginning of more hardcore science fiction to follow! Set way up for the sequel!
Five stars for this epic. And I’m already 24% into the next book!