When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an asteroid impact generated more than a billion times the energy of an atomic bomb.
What would happen to Earth’s seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur?
Ben and his indomitable girlfriend Amy Kowalski fly to South America to assemble an international counteraction team, whose notable recruits include Love Mwangi, a UN interpreter and nomad scholar, and Zhen Liu, an extraordinary engineer from China’s national space agency. At the same time, on board a polar icebreaker life continues under the looming shadow of comet UD3. Jack Campbell, a photographer for National Geographic, works to capture the beauty of the Arctic before it is gone forever. Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil, struggles to accept the recent murder of his beloved twin brother. And Maya Gutiérrez, an impassioned marine biologist is — quite unexpectedly — falling in love for the first time.
Together, these men and women must fight to survive in an unknown future with no rules and nothing to be taken for granted. They have two choices: neutralize the greatest threat the world has ever seen (preferably before mass hysteria hits or world leaders declare World War III) or come to terms with the annihilation of humanity itself.
Their mission is codenamed The Effort.
Title: The Effort | Author: Claire Holroyde | Publisher: Grand Central Publishing | Pub. Date: 2021-Jan-12 | Pages: 368 | ISBN13: 9781538717615 | Genre: Spec Fic | Language: English | No content warnings | Source: Purchased | Starred review: Yes
The Effort Review
I’m going to lead with a hard truth right off the bat: The end of The Effort really disappointed me. Now, with that being said, let’s get to the good stuff.
Claire Holroyde did a darn good job for the majority of this book. I blew through just over half of it in one sitting, and gobbled it up. Raved about how much I liked it on Twitter. Laughed about how I got distracted from a “asteroid hits earth” book by “comet hits earth book”. The writing was very engaging and even though I had some minor picks with one of the characters, it wasn’t enough to detract me from my reading.
I cackled at some of the lines in The Effort because it was very obviously written recently, with such jabs as (and paraphrasing here because I’m not digging through my hardcover) “A president got security clearance for his daughter and son-in-law, so people in power call the shots. You are the person in power!” I read that and thought “Oof, and there goes some MAGAts getting all pissy.”
The pacing is a bit wobbly, but that seems to have been a deliberate move on the author’s part as she deliberately jumps backwards in time on occasion to explore character’s backgrounds and reasoning. And there were a lot of characters. But it still mostly worked.
Honestly I feel like the majority of my problems with this book were me problems and not book problems. I read a certain line in the blurb the wrong way and expected something the author obviously did not intend to deliver. I’m not huge on character exploration, and she was obviously aiming for that over the big ka-pow stuff.
However, I will say that I feel like the one misstep she made was in how much the climax scene with the comet did not happen. It was a scene that deserved to be worked but got badly glossed over, instead. Just too much damned foreplay for the sex to be that bad.
Overall, though, even though the end was a disappointment I would not hesitate to recommend this. Specifically, to people who are really interested in the psychological aspects of something like this rather than the everything-goes-kaplooey-in-epic-fashion story seekers.
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Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Kali Krew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.
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