Hola! Welcome to my second ever book-review-I’ve-been-asked-to-do, this time for American debut author, Jerry Kaczmarowski.
***N.B. I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO REVIEW THIS BOOK IN RETURN FOR A COMPLIMENTARY COPY, BUT ALL OPINIONS ARE COMPLETELY HONEST AND MY OWN***
I really enjoyed this book. Like, if you’re just here for the end verdict, I would say read it.
Haha, just kidding…I think I owe Jerry a bit more of a review than that! 🙂 No, I really enjoyed Sapient overall. Here’s a quick synopsis, before I get too detailed too quickly…
Abandoned by her husband after the birth of their child, Jane Dixon’s world is
defined by her autistic son and the research she does to find a cure for his condition.
She knows her work on animal intelligence may hold the key. She also knows that
the research will take decades to complete. None of it will ultimately benefit her son.
All that changes when a lab rat named Einstein demonstrates that he can read and
write. Just as her research yields results, the U.S. government discovers her
program. The army wants to harness her research for its military potential. The
CDC wants to shut her down completely. The implications of animal intelligence are
too dangerous, particularly when the previously inert virus proves to be highly
She steals the virus to cure her son, but the government discovers the theft. She
must now escape to Canada before the authorities can replace her son’s mental
prison with a physical one.
Ooh, dramatic, huh? Now, although I really enjoyed this book by the end, I have to say, it did take a while to get going – the first few chapters didn’t particularly draw me in, although I understand they were important to maybe set the scene, I would’ve just preferred for it to be done in a more fast-paced – or just briefer – way. When it got started though, the book was a real page-turner. It didn’t feel that predictable – or at least, when it did, a twist appeared! I do perhaps think the twist setting up the last ‘episode’ or whatever of the book was maybe a bit far-fetched? I mean, it wasn’t completely unbelievable, especially given the context of the book, so I don’t completely mind it, just in hindsight it feels a little comic-book-spy-story-like. Also, although I liked the fact we never really knew how Robbie would survive from one day to the next, there were perhaps too many little episode bits, that could have been shortened perhaps. That said, Kaczmarowski did a really good job at keeping you interested and turning the pages.
Another thing I want to mention is how there were very few points in the book when I noticeably felt the book was unrealistic. And considering we’re talking about an incredibly intelligent rat and a dog who’s pretty darn clever too, I think that’s a point worth noting. Yes, as with science fiction generally, you have to suspend your disbelief, but not too much – the way Kaczmarowski writes it, it feels as though the idea of intelligent animals isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility – particularly when you think about the effects of the virus – that makes it feel very realistic.
In a similar vein, I want to mention the ending. I liked it! It’s a semi-happy ending, but in a way that ties up loose ends without disregarding the entire plot so far. I know some people aren’t fans of happy endings as they devalue any hard-hitting ALL THE FEELS moments in some books, but I think Kaczmarowski really pulled it off in this case, keeping it realistic the whole time.
Overall, as I said at the beginning, I really enjoyed this book once I got into it, despite the start being a little slow-moving – I found that once I was into the book, I was really into it, if you get my drift! I would recommend this to pretty much all age groups, but especially people who are interested in sci-fi and animal intelligence, for obvious reasons. Overall, I’m going to give Sapient by Jerry Kaczmarowski 4/5 stars!
Now, has my review got you interested? I hope so! If that’s the case, then you could be in with the chance to win a Kindle copy of Sapient…to enter, just comment on here, tweet/DM me (@booksteaonesie) or drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) saying why you would like to win this book! The competition will be open until August 15th (yep, I just chose that date randomly) and is international. Please only enter if you’re happy with your email address being shared with a third party so you can receive your prize. Good luck all! 🙂
Thank you very much to Jerry Kaczmarowski and the lovely people at Book Publicity Services for sending me a copy of this book, and for offering an e-copy as a giveaway prize!