Review of ‘Halcyon’ by Rio Youers

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Deft and unapologetically populist novel about a traumatised girl who can see the future and a cult leader who wants to exploit her, Halcyon has the feel of mid-career Stephen King. It’s more supernatural thriller than SF, although the antagonist and her tormentors are straight out of the Crash handbook as they engineer atrocities to reach an idyllic realm called Glam Moon. There is an attempt to describe this process in terms of hypothetical physics, as the psychic link between the girl and her sister is described as a form of quantum entanglement, and the route to Glam Moon is an Einstein-Rosen Bridge. While none of that really holds up to close inspection, it was satisfying to read a book where the author understands that plot and suspense emerge from empathetic characters rather than a deluge of half-baked ideas and exposition. Widowed everyman dad Martin, with a gyp knee he can’t afford to get fixed because his health insurance doesn’t cover sporting injuries (the kind of reality we’re all going to be living with soon) and his two daughters are all vulnerable in different, believable ways, and had me rooting for them until the end.

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