The arrival of the Jagannath changed everything. Humanity did not have time to reflect on the fact that they were not alone in the Universe. This amorphous blob appears unstoppable, simply absorbing everyone in it's path and assimilating their identity and intellect. Growing stronger and smarter as it moves through each town and city, nothing can stand in its way.
We join the story as pockets of resistance are fighting a desperate battle for survival. They have developed weapons that manage to freeze and shatter parts of the creature they come into contact with. It's clearly not enough though, the creature appearing undiminished in the next encounter. There is however a glimpse of hope in the shape of 13 year old Lilly. Lilly seems to be unique, no matter how hard it tries, the Jagannath is unable to absorb her. If she can stay alive long enough then humanity might just have a chance.
There is a lot to like about this book. The post-apocalyptic atmosphere is great, you really get the feeling that the human race is on the verge of extinction, facing a relentless and unstoppable foe that offers a fate worse than death. This desperate edge that almost verges on horror is heightened by the authors willingness to sacrifice any of their well crafted protagonists should the need arise. The darkness is offset by the warm writing style and subtle humour of the authors distinctive voice.
The idea of the Jagannath (mostly referred to as "The Reaper") is well executed, a world-spanning monster that is about as alien as is conceivable. It's an antagonist that grows and evolves as the story progresses and at times you can even catch yourself feeling for the creature as we begin to understand it's place in the universe. It is also a clever vehicle to explore the human condition, showing people at their best and worst. Especially poignant is the theme of redemption, it is very well placed and all the more powerful for its understated nature.
Principally though its a book of action and you can hardly turn a page without someone fighting, running or dying (sometimes all at the same time). The action is well described, fast-paced and entertaining. This results in a breakneck pace and quick read.
Jaggernath is a clever, modern novel that features strong characters, plenty of action and a decent story. Well worth seeking out.
Written on Friday 13th March 2015 by Antony Jones.
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