White’s debut thriller weaves together spirituality, moral corruption and romance at the end of the world.
Mayan calendars predict that the end of the world will occur in December 2012, and many films, television shows and novels have explored how such an apocalypse might happen. Instead of the more standard perils of zombies, killer viruses or global warming, White envisions a world threatened by super-powered black holes and ruthless Hindu gods. The book starts off as an exciting, supernatural crime thriller: In 1977, a New York police detective discovers a frozen corpse that seems to emit a magical and deadly energy. Later sections, set in the late 2000s, portray a world seemingly obsessed with money and mortality. The past and present provide links to what appears to be a bleak, inevitable future. This tale of detectives, scientists and supernatural forces will keep sci-fi and fantasy readers turning pages for the first three-quarters of the novel. Once the action gets closer to the present day, however, the novel is less sure-footed, as the prose becomes awkward, didactic and preoccupied with the failings of the current worldwide culture. The closing section, set near the end of 2012, swiftly returns to form; indeed, the final chapter is so explosive, readers may be tempted to reread it. The story features believable supernatural events throughout and may also spur readers to learn more about various aspects of Hindu culture.
An original take on the 2012 pop-culture phenomenon, with an exciting setup and a thrilling payoff.