Something massive is coming…
And it’s heading for Earth.
That’s what Dr. Ben Rollins, head of Harvard’s exoplanet research team, is told by NASA after being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night. His first instinct is to call his daughter, Jessica, who’s vacationing in Italy with his wife. “Something’s coming,” he tells them. “A hundred times the mass of the sun. We can’t see it, don’t know what it is yet, but they’re calling it Nomad–and in just months, the Earth may be destroyed.”
But what is it? And how did they miss detecting it until now? In a frantic race against time, Dr. Rollins must unravel Nomad’s secrets. A mysterious clue surfaces in his old research papers from the end of the Cold War, more than thirty years earlier…
The world erupts into chaos as the end approaches–and Ben discovers that his wife and daughter are trapped in Europe. The key to humanity’s survival rests in the final answers Dr. Rollins pieces together, in the midst of his desperate scramble across continents to find his family before Nomad swallows the planet. – Goodreads Synopsis
Here’s the thing about this story: You know the kindle book ads that always appear on your screen (unless you spring for the ad-free)? They made me read this book. Why? Because it seems like this book or Cyberstorm (also by the same author) are constantly the ad on my screen. Its kind of ridiculous, really. I don’t know what the deal is for the algorithym, but finally I just did a mental scream of “OK! I’ll read the book! Just staaaaahhp!” ….I enjoyed the story, but it didn’t stop the ad from appearing. Anyways, lesson, indie authors: Those ads work.
Nomad took a while to hook me. The first few chapters I was more or less “okay…where’s he going with this?” There’s this whole bad girl side story that takes precedence early on, and it just didn’t do it for me. However, eventually the story found it’s stride, and I found myself extremely interested. Yes, I snickered when the space baddie was revealed, but it definitely not one I’d seen in science fiction book before. (“The world has numbed to asteroids. I guess this was the logical step up.” – My aside to my partner.) More of a focus on the science beyond the apocalyptic element and less of a focus on the characters would have been preferable. I know for most people characters are king, but I feel like the personal drama distracts me from the ‘good stuff’ at times.
Even when it comes to books, I’m not a people person.
Anyways, the pacing felt slow at first, but soon Nomad picked up the steam. Towards the end of the book I couldn’t wait to figure out how the author was going to handle things. I was definitely on edge, and only mildly disappointed at the ending that he chose. It’s not that it wasn’t well done, because it was. It’s just that I have a destructive streak that doesn’t get fulfilled nearly often enough.
The main character, Jessica, is a former marine who is missing most of one leg. I did like the fact that she’s missing the leg actually figures into the story on more than one occasion. Mather doesn’t just do the token “oh look, my character has a disability – but here’s how we magically move past it!”. It hampers Jess, but there’s also this awesome scene with a leg-bat and a cheesy one liner that you just need to read. I also liked that even though she was a marine, she doesn’t fall into the stereotypical behavioral models often portrayed. I won’t say more for fear of ruining it.
The other characters were neither here nor there. Whilst they weren’t cardboard cutouts, they just weren’t people I could care about. I know that I was supposed to feel a sense of tenseness as they raced against time in more ways than one, but I didn’t. Instead I wanted them to get their personal problems dealt with so the author could get back to destroying the earth.
Overall, Nomad was a good read that would probably thrill character-driven readers a lot more than it did me. I’m not interested enough to read the second book in the series, but I’d still recommend this first one (available on Amazon) to people who like their space disaster books and movies.