1/4/22; 224 pages
The Comet Cycle #2
The Unfamiliar Garden by Benjamin Percy is a highly
recommended science fiction horror novel featuring fungus and is the
second book in the Comet Cycle series.
The night of the meteor storm Jack and Nora Abernathy’s daughter Mia
in the woods. The couple's marriage broke up and they tried to live in
the changed world, Nora as a police detective and Jack as a mycologist. Five years pass and the rains finally return to the Seattle area, which means plant life begins to return and flourish. While Nora investigates several horrific murders, Jack finds evidence of a new
parasitic fungus. In an unimaginable series of events, a connection
between the murders and the parasitic fungus appears, which results in
Jack and Nora working together.
The character development of Nora and Jack is basic while the rest of
the characters are depicted more as caricatures of a type of person
rather than as realistic individuals, but in-depth development is not
necessary here since the focus is going to be directed in other
nightmarish areas. The Unfamiliar Garden is short enough that you
can read it in one sitting. The actions starts right away, the suspense
and fear build quickly, and everything works seamlessly together while
moving at a fast pace right to the end.
This is an enjoyable, scary novel that will stretch the imagination while providing thrills and chills. It is not necessary to read the first book in the series, The Ninth Metal. I haven't read it and followed the plot easily. As I was reading I kept thinking the novel felt too familiar, as if I had read it before, but then I suddenly came to the realization that in The Unfamiliar Garden Percy adds to the world of fungus fiction. A few examples in the fungus fiction genre include: Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham; City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek, Finch, and Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer; Semiosis and Interference by Sue Burke; The Genius Plague by David Walton; Amatka by Karin Tidbeck.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins