Title: Sunspot | Author: Rob Leininger | Pub. Date: 2014-12-13 | Pages: 281 | ASIN: B00QZKR93A | Genre: Apocalyptic Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Sexual assault | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited
The sunspot was huge. Nothing like it had ever been seen before—a twenty-billion square mile blot on the surface of the sun, and growing. Dr. Morris Tyler at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff has a theory that might explain what’s happening, and the news isn’t good. Which is why he’s under surveillance after having been told to keep his theory to himself. Keeping his theory under wraps isn’t easy, not when a gorgeous reporter for Parsec magazine, Gail Dionne, has him in her sights, out to get a story. Tyler’s well-ordered world spins out of control when all these forces converge on him, and the world begins to grow colder as the sun . . . goes . . . out. – Goodreads
Sunspot had a bit of a shaky start and I almost walked away from the book. However, the idea of the sun ‘going out’ (even temporarily) was a premise I’d never read before. So, you know, I pretty much had to keep reading. Luckily, soon the book found it’s voice, and the story had me mostly hooked.
I say mostly because Sunspot is not what I would call an edge of your seat thriller. Some of this probably comes from the fact that I’ve read so many apocalyptic-themed books. After a certain point, nothing’s really a surprise. It’s fairly easy to figure out which way the wind is blowing early on. Still, like your favorite pair of old pajamas, it’s a nice cli-fi story to slip into.
The characters are never really fully realized. Having just finished Sunspot, I couldn’t tell you anything appearance-wise about Morris Tyler other than he was tall and lanky. Similarly, the female, Gail, has dark hair and is fit. They fit neatly into the expected character roles for one of these types of books. One had prepared for an apocalyptic event. One hadn’t, but was determined and quick to realize how screwed they were. They’re both good people, but able to do what they need to in order to survive. Including the requisite long journey across a newly lawless world. The rest of the characters are also fairly forgettable and only serve to fill in the needed supporting cast.
I’m probably giving the wrong impression about Sunspot, but that’s the difficulty in reviewing sometimes. Sunspot is a good read, and I did enjoy it. I was definitely interested to see how Leininger was going to wrap up the story, even if I wasn’t breathless in anticipation. It’s a solid story with a plot rooted in scientific possibility that you don’t need a background in science to understand. A pleasant read to while away an afternoon with.
Overall, I’d recommend Sunspot to apocalyptic-scenario enthusiasts for the unique premise if nothing else. There’s no zombies, no plagues, and no asteroids. Just the sun blinking, the cold creeping, and humanity going crazy as it usually does in these sort of scenarios. It’s competently written and moves at a steady pace. Also, although there are threats of sexual assault mentioned in Sunspot, nothing is ever actually witnessed on the page. There is also little foul language. However, for the more sensitive, the author doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to describing dead bodies.