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09 August 2013

'Seoul Survivors' by Naomi Foyle

Naomi Foyle did surprise me with twists and turns  and the way she captures the bustle of Seoul.

I enjoyed the first three quarters of this book. It was a prize Miriam won in a competition on twitter from ; a specialist science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint of Quercus Publishing, publisher of 'Seoul Survivors'. This first novel by Naomi Foyle is a near-future Sci-fi story set in Korea - which sadly is still divided in North and South Korea - with high tech fashion, sex, underground clubs, robotics, bio-engineering and interesting yet strange and sometimes twisted characters.

Mostly with science fiction, I find myself either liking or hating the book. This was different. I enjoyed the way in which the main characters developed and how all their stories started to weave into one another as the book progressed. The Canadian model, the British fugitive, the American-Korean scientist, Mr. Sandman the psycho and the North Korean idealist are all in unfamiliar territory trying to survive in different ways. And with a huge meteor threatening to seriously impact life on earth ... what would you do?

I did not particularly like the ending though - for me it left some key questions unanswered and seemed to end rather suddenly.  Then again the impact of a meteor is probably not much different. It is a shame because this is not a bad debut. Naomi Foyle did surprise me with other twists and turns.  She captures the bustle of a futuristic Seoul and I can imagine how it would feel. What really bothered me about the last part of the book is that the synopsis on the back cover gives too much away.  I wonder if authors write their own back-cover summaries. It should entice you and spark your interest, but when I was two thirds through the book, there were still specific parts of the story which were 'unknown' while they were already revealed on the back cover. It is very difficult to stay interested in the build-up and suspense of a story line if you know the outcome. Call me strange, but I like to be surprised.  Part of the attraction of sci-fi is that anything can happen.

Maybe I am a special case.  I don't even like to look at trailers of movies, because I like the surprise elements, the wow-factor. If I know I want to see a movie because it is a sequel to a film I've liked before or I have read a review and the story seems interesting or I like the cast, then I avoid watching the trailer and go watch the movie. It makes the experience so much more enjoyable. A while after I have seen a film I tend to forget how it ends, which means I get to be surprised again. Aging isn't that bad. I guess I have to rip the back cover off 'Seoul Survivors' and read it again once I can no longer remember how story ends.

 If you are interested in reading this book avoid the back cover and read the abstract on the publisher's website instead.

Guest blog by BPR

Naomi Foyle 
ISBN: 9781780875989 

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