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The Ferryman

Justin Cronin's latest is dystopian science fiction at its atmospheric and brilliant best!

Every so often, I like to try a book from a genre well outside of my comfort zone. The Ferryman by Justin Cronin was one of those reads for me, and I'm so glad I took the chance!

This one is hard to summarize concisely because of the complex plot. And because I am afraid of spoiling anything, I will refer you to the official synopsis and just say that this was totally mind-bending for me. At times, I wasn't sure what to think or if I even entirely understood what was happening, but I was so curious and invested that I wanted to keep reading!

Dystopian, atmospheric, cerebral, sinister, imaginative, intense, I'm still processing what I read. This is very well-written and intricately plotted with some crazy twists! But it is also well-rounded, with vividly written characters and much to say about human nature and society. This was my first Justin Cronin book, but it won't be my last!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group Ballentine for the opportunity to review this ARC. I enjoyed it!

My steep was Lapsang Souchong from Harney and Sons, a black tea that is smoke-dried over a pinewood fire, this has a complex and smoky flavor profile.


Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera's lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.

Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process--and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he's been dreaming--which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.

Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group--known as "Arrivalists"--who may be fomenting revolution.

Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized--and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.

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