Monday, 17 October 2011

Review: Arrival - Chris Morphew

Extent: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub Date: 7th July 2011

Luke is having a rough year. When his parents split up, his mum drags him to Phoenix, a brand-new town in the middle of nowhere.

But Phoenix is no ordinary town. There are no cars, no phones and no internet. Luke thinks this is as weird as it gets.

Then he discovers that someone is plotting to wipe out the human race. Phoenix is suddenly the safest and most dangerous place on earth.

And the clock is already ticking.

There are 100 days until the end of the world.

Firstly, I just want to get off my chest the fact that I am so pleased to find a book written by an Australian and set Down Under. There are tragically few Aussie books on the market in the UK and far too many US books (not that most of them are not brilliant reads, there’s just a huge imbalance) which makes it so refreshing to find a book in a genre I love set in a country I barely get to read about. For once I haven’t got my terrible attempts at American accents going through my head! Not that my Australian ones are any better...

I don’t know why I haven’t heard more about Chris Morphew, I found Arrival and the subsequent Contact through specific searches for new releases. I’m scratching my head because this book is just brilliant and people should be raving about it! I don’t know if there is such a genre as pre-post-apocalyptic but that’s what The Phoenix Files are and I just love exploring this situation: humanity is on the verge of extinction through an evil plot and their only hope is three teenagers. Epic!

Chris Morphew is a master of writing mystery, he expertly laces in a layer of threat that constantly flutters under the surface and has you checking over your shoulder despite the fact that you're just in a comfy armchair. He has a similar talent to Michael Grant in the Gone series whereby he raises hundreds of questions but by the end of the book he’s only scratched the surface of answers. It’s infuriating but unbelievably compelling at the same time and exactly how a thriller should be: mystery masochism. What’s even better is that the author has created a fantastic voice to take you through the mystery. Luke is witty, sharp, attentive, wonderfully ironic in places and above all highly inquisitive which is my number one quality in a hero – I can’t stand passive heroes! Jordan and Peter are also fantastic characters, Jordan is a great heroine, feisty and courageous, while Peter is loyal, funny and clever when he wants to be. They make a great team and I would definitely trust them with safeguarding the future of humanity.

I think the best thing you can do in a thriller is to create an unknowable enemy, I guess you could call me a thriller agnostic. The organisation that brought Luke to Phoenix is right in his back garden, running the town, but they are faceless. You only see the minions of the organisation in the security force and the possible effects that the organisation is having on other characters. They are like a virus, infecting everyone but invisible to the naked eye. It adds a great sense of immeasurable threat that keeps you sat bolt upright in the chair you are usually found slouching in.

I’m so glad I happened upon these books as I’m always hungry for a great mystery thriller and a good world-ending scenario always goes down well! I’m definitely reaching for the next book, Contact, and the third one better not be far behind it or my head may explode and you don’t want that on your conscience do you Chris?

If you are in any doubt as to whether you should read this book, maybe I should just read you the first sentence: “The end of the world is one of those things that you never really expect to end up being your problem.” Get it, read it, love it!


  1. Ooh, that sounds fantastic. I'll have to add it to my list!

  2. Very nice review! From what you've said, this book sounds unlike anything I've ever read before. I'm definitely going to look into this. :)