My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Emma's life - and the lives of her extended family - are turned upside down when the weather goes crazy. First, a tsunami hits her home in Cornwall, England while tornadoes strand her husband in New York, USA. Then there are the massive fires in Perth, Australia - raging in the middle of winter - where her twin sister Jen lives. The weird weather extends across the world in the span of a few days, sowing devastation in its wake.
The novel is quite fast-moving and dramatic, with many tense moments as the family tries to find their missing loved ones. It paints a frightening picture of the terrible impacts of climate change - and how ineffective our current governments and politicians are at addressing the issue, especially when they don't see it as urgent.
There's what I would call a 'literary' arc to this novel. It's very focused on the moment (looking for the missing children, surviving the flood and the fire and the waves) and whilst there are little snippets of the bigger picture (exposes by journalists, growing movements to petition the government to deal with climate change in the wake of such drastic weather changes) there isn't really a resolution. The arc is pretty much each new weather event escalating to a bigger tragedy. In fact, the ending felt a little like a cop-out to me.
Interspersed between the events, Penne slows down the pace a little with the introduction of each character. This is good in one sense, because there is such rich detail and attention paid to their backstories and the dynamics of their relationships, yet, on the other hand, the execution is often clumsy leading to just a little too much telling and clumps of info dumps.
Overall, I thought the premise was interesting, but the execution clumsy. A little more editing and polishing would have made it a better read.
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