Sudden Onset – Tom Dardick and Chris Dardick

Published by: Immortal Works
Pages: 454
Date released: 08/06/2021
Date read: 19/05/2021 (ARC)

UC Berkeley Professor of Microbiology, Dr. Mira Wallace, searches for ancient life in the most extreme environments on Earth. While sampling an ancient subterranean lake, the US Army summons Mira to investigate a mysterious biological threat in a Southern Utah desert. SONA (Sudden Onset Necrosis Agent) is a new pathogen unlike anything known to science. Resilient and aggressive, it threatens Earth’s entire biosphere, making Mira fear that she may have just found evidence of the ancient life she’s been searching for.

Firstly, I’d like to thank Tom and Chris Dardick, as well as Immortal Works for the Advanced Reader Copy of this book. This was my first ARC and I was thoroughly excited to get stuck in.

At times I forgot this book was written by two unpublished debut fiction writers as it seemed so accomplished.

There are many characters to get your head round, but they are all fleshed out and well defined. There are no overlapping or jarring characters; they are all their own person, and they all have an important purpose in the story. Some are the heroes of the story and some the villains, and it’s not always clear from the outset who is which. There is a risk when a book has many characters that some will inevitably fall into the background and you start to question their role in the story, but I didn’t get that feeling here.

At first, I felt the “excerpt” sections, dotted in between every few chapters, were a bit jarring, I couldn’t see how they fit with the story. Having said that, once you get further into the story, and further into Mira’s research, these all become clear to the reader.

The only negative I could possibly say about it is that I felt some of it was a little bit too technical and difficult to read. I understand it was written by someone with an expertise in this kind of science, and it might be hard to “dumb it down” to the extent a non-scientific reader can understand. Overall, I could understand what was happening, but when reading the scientific explanations, I found myself getting slightly lost.

I am more than happy to recommend the reading of this book. It’s engaging and threatening and fast-paced and exciting. And luckily for us, it’s only the first book in a hopefully as thrilling series. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this series got picked up by a production company and turned into a series or a film, it’s got that much promise.

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