The Dome (The Dome trilogy, #1) by Nova Sparks
Review supplied by Pavarti K. Tyler with Fighting Monkey Press
the DOME is a rare find. I have been hunting for quality Sci-Fi for so long, it’s hard to find anything that really pulls in the cultural aspect of alien races. I don’t think I’ve read anything where the alien culture and characters were so thoroughly thought through and described since Lilith’s Brood. Plus, the fact that Nova Sparks is a woman… This is not only rare but takes an incredible amount of talent to pull off. For the most part Sparks pulls this off with flying colors.
I want to begin by discussing the plot alone. The story line of the DOME is incredible. Told from the alternating points of view of Sam and Emma Tucker we are given a before, during, after and finally the unimaginable consequence of the end of the world. Layers upon layers of mystery, interpersonal interactions, romance and intrigue flow so easily together that the world of the DOME becomes real on the page.
In the DOME Sam is Emma’s father (this gives us a great relationship to explore from 2 different POVs plus the opportunity to experience the story from two different age perspectives – Go Nova!) Sam receives advance warning of the end of the world and does his best to save as many people as he can. Sam’s group and others from around the world are taken to a distant planet (Syri) where they live in an enclosure which protects them from the elements and predators of their new home. During their time on Syri we glimpse that perhaps the Syrions are not as altruistic as they seem. Sam makes some upsetting discoveries and Emma finds herself having feelings for a Syrion teen which leads them both to believe there’s something rotten in the state of Syri.
One of my very favorite things in literature is to read the interactions of two conflicting cultures. I love The Clan of the Cave Bear and Roswell for precisely this reason. It’s also why, as much as I loved the X-files, ultimately it was just a monster of the week show and never captured my imagination. The culture of the Syrion race is portioned out slowly as fits the flow of the story. By the end of the book I feel I have an understanding (although not complete) of who they are as a species but I was not hit over the head with it nor forced to read 20 pages of fictional socio-bio-history.
The two main characters who we follow over the course of this book are Sam and Emma. Each chapter alternates POV giving us a 3-dimentional perspective of the situation they are in; Normally I hate this device because I get lost between the charaters or lose the flow of the story, never able to completely loose myself in it. Sparks manages to keep her characters distinct and consistent at all times. That plus the fact that she tells me at the beginning of every chapter whose POV I’m reading really helped!
Overall I would say this is a fantastic book that you should buy and read and enjoy. I lost myself completely in it, spending precious writing time reading, but unable to stop. However, you should know there are a few issues: the DOME needs an editor. It is not so bad as to make it unreadable but words like “mines” instead of “mine” and “you’re” instead of “your” do happen and unfortunately it detracts from the experience of reading. Not a reason not to read, but be aware, there may be one or two things that pop out at you. the DOME needs to realize that it is NOT a romance novel. I don’t need to read about someone’s hard sculpted abs to get that he’s vain and works out. the DOME should seriously consider removing it’s sex scene. The intimacy that Emma experiences is beautifully written and completely in keeping with the style and flow of the book. However, the earlier scene with Sam and Kris is jolting and not especially well written. The writing is inconsistent with the rest of the book, both in wordsmything and in quality. I really didn’t like the term “Indian Burn” anywhere near a sex scene, it doesn’t work. – Also, the DOME could be marketed as YA without that scene and a few choice words replaced, worth thinking about.
the DOME has some formatting issues. Not all paragraphs are indented and not all quotes are demarcated. Again, I recommend Sparks get an editor, these are small issues that detract from the book.
So my final assessment is that this is an awesome book and you should read it. It’s better than 65% of what I find on the shelves at Borders and better than 90% of what’s available via ebook. I would love to see Sparks invest in a line editor and take some time to clean up a few small things so that this could become the next great sci-fi novel.
I can’t wait for the DOME: Revelation to be released!
Live Long and Prosper
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**Please note to our knowledge The Dome is awaiting a re-release**