Thursday, 17 December 2015

Book Review: Beyond The Rest Of Us by Andrew Man

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Warning - mild spoilers ahead!

Beyond The Rest Of Us is a thrilling journey of the contemporary human heart, intimate, magical, and subtly architected. A retired Swiss banker is kidnapped at a Geneva hotel for crimes he doesn't understand. An Italian cruise ship crashes into rocks in the Tyrrhenian Sea. A respected American scientist disappears into thin air. And a British secret agent follows a trail of corrupt power in this gripping third book featuring Andrew Man's aging male protagonist James Pollack.

Image credit: Andrew Man / Authoright PR
I wish I could make this into a positive review.. but I can't. This is the third book in Andrew Man's Tego Arcana Dei series, but the first I've read. This probably didn't bode well from the start, as it can be hard to get into a book when you come into it partway through the series.

A lot of authors nowadays put in a few pages of exposition at the start for exactly this reason - helping new readers to the series understand what's going on, as well as refreshing the existing reader's memories. Unfortunately, there was none of this in Beyond The Rest Of Us. The author seemed to expect the readers to be able to mind-read exactly what he was thinking when he was writing it, so of course I was completely lost.

Off to a good start

The book started off well, introducing us to the main character, James. We meet him in a hotel in Geneva and begin to be drawn into his story, setting the pace of a slow-burning thriller. Then just as you begin to get involved in the story... James' mystic Indian guardian Deepak appears. Okay, I thought, this is a bit out of character with the story so far, but I'll stick with it - I've read a lot weirder things than this.

But then we find out James is actually a time-traveller and he gets kidnapped and ends up held in an underground cell in Italy hundreds of years ago with a mad professor (who happens to be one of James' bits of skirt's pilot's father) and his Scandinavian assistant (who turns up in the future as a high-end shop assistant who can randomly read people's minds)... And that's just the start of it.

It feels like the author tried to cram about 10 books of entirely different genres into one, then combined the end result with a physics textbook to create this book. There's so much going on that by only 10% in I was struggling to keep up. By 25% I'd lost track of who was who and what was what. By 50% I'd just given up trying. I've read the whole of this book, but I couldn't tell you what happened in it at all.

Overly complicated

The science and political concepts didn't help. I'm not exactly well-read on either of these subjects, but some of the things mentioned in the book completely threw me. I glossed over pages of scientific gobbledygook and nonsensical theories, which really didn't help me when it came to the big finale at the end of the book (which I don't want to spoil, but I mean, really, what the hell was going on?).

I kept forgetting who all the characters were and what their relationship to James was, not helped by people keeping hopping about in time and space. I didn't feel anything for the characters at all - I didn't feel connected to them; I didn't care what happened to them.

All in all, I'm really struggling to find positives for this book. I was left confused, jumbled, and honestly none the better for reading it.

If you think you'll have better luck with this than I did, it's available to buy now.

Rating: 1 star.

Will you be reading Beyond The Rest Of Us? Let me know in the comments below! 

2 comments:

  1. I've read Beyond the Rest of Us too, and certainly agree with you that it's a very complicated novel! I'm not sure to what degree the first two books in the series would help because as you say there is an incredible amount of political and scientific content which I'd guess would be secondary to the plot.

    Personally I enjoyed the scientific aspect, though the political side was completely lost on me. Generally I found that there were many interesting ideas on a 'page-by-page' basis, but overall it was difficult to tell what was going on and to whom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Couldn't agree with you more Paul - thanks for commenting!

      Delete