Book Review: The Emergence by Devin K. Smyth, dystopian 3 Black Cats

The Emergence by Devin K. Smyth is a dystopian novel about an eleven-year-old boy named Derek Choate, who struggles to survive after a strange haze covers the earth and dries up all the water on the surface of the planet. Society breaks down and Derek and his family must learn to cope with dangers continuously working against them.

The first thing I noted about The Emergence is its cover. After reading the book, I understood the cover, but I don’t think it helps convey anything about the story. I think this book needs a more exciting cover than clouds to help sell it. The kindle formatting could be fixed as well. There are spaces between all the paragraphs, and some of the lines of text have spaces for no reason in the middle of a paragraph. The spaces don’t affect readability, just the impression of professionalism a reader will have when they first open the book. Why should I bother reading this if the author didn’t love it enough to make sure it’s formatted right? The rest of the story may have as little care.

The first 20 or 30 percent of the novel has a lot of telling instead of showing. Some of the telling sections should be written out as scenes instead of glanced over. It would help add fear of what’s happening to the characters in the beginning. As I progressed in the novel, there was less telling, which helped keep me reading.

There isn’t much of a plot in this novel. The fog comes; everyone must fight to survive, and then the fog leaves. The ending left the novel unfinished. It abruptly stops near the end of the climax and didn’t have a resolution; a, this is how things are now, ending didn't happen. I would’ve liked to know about the boy’s relationship with his parents after all that happened, after what they did. The reader never learns what caused the fog in the first place or why it disappeared. I would have liked some explanation even if it was just something like, scientists keep studying what happened but can’t explain it.

The author did a great job of writing from the perspective of an eleven year old. I enjoyed Derek and found him believable, and he came across very childlike. I would have liked to know more about what he was feeling at the beginning of the novel. He is more like an observer at the beginning until the cat incident.

Some of the scenes in this novel really drew me in and kept me going even though the things I mentioned above were missing. Add them in and this novel could be great.

The Emergence has some good moments, so I do recommend trying it. It’s an interesting dystopian novel reminiscent of Brian Keene’s Darkness on the Edge of Town except from the point of view of a boy instead of a pot smoker.



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