Expected Publication: May 7th, 2015 by Hodder Children's Books
//Goodreads//The Book Depository//
When Genesis goes on an internet date she is only anxious that this latest guy won't be 'The One'. She's not at all worried about meeting a dodgy bloke or getting in too deep. And when her date appears she texts her best mate, Jackson, to let him know that she thinks this time, he just might be 'The One'. And he texts her back with a huge: I LIKE.Bomb begins with Genesis waking up, dark and cold, unaware of what's happening. The first few pages simply involve her inner narrative as she tries to figure out what's happening. Once upon a time, this is the kind of writing style I would have liked. Short, sweet, and to the point. Easy to read because you don't get bogged down by complicated words and imagery that takes a second to catch up to. Unfortunately, it appears I'm much more fond of lengthy prose these days. The number one rule I was taught when I began writing was "show, don't tell." The opening certainly doesn't follow this rule, and the repetitive clipped sentences started to wear on me pretty quickly. This improves slightly as the novel goes on, but only slightly.
It's the one all right. But not in the way she expects.
For when Genesis wakes up the next day, she can't remember a thing. She can't remember where she is, or how she got there. And she can hardly move because she is strapped into some kind of body armour ... and then a voice sounds in her head: 'Get on to the 37 going north. You are strapped to a vest made entirely of explosives. At the push of one button I can detonate you right where you stand.'
To her horror, Genesis has become an agent of mass destruction. The countdown to detonation begins now...
I think that, given the content of this book, this writing style is appropriate. Bomb very much takes place in the now, with the constant threat of danger looming over Genesis. The style keeps you focused on the present, which I think is important for a novel like this - I just don't personally like to read it. It bores me very easily.
The problem I have with Bomb is that it fails to find a balance between the present and the past. You have a character with a bomb super-glued to her and a voice in her ear telling her to get on a bus or she'll be blown up. Of course it's going to focus on the present moment, because in situations like this, it's so hard to think ahead or behind - all you can really focus on is fear. But this means that so many details that I find vital are left out. I need to know more about Genesis's past before I can really connect with her. I need to know about her history with Dave beyond "Dave the Save." There were some glimpses into her past relationship with her ex, Naz, but they weren't detailed enough for me. These characters all left me with a very foggy feeling, for lack of a better term. I don't really feel like I know anything important about them at all.
The Brightness is the terrorist group and a huge threat to society in this novel. And because this is such a prevalent issue, I'm disappointed with how it was handled in Bomb. Mussi delves into motives and reasoning that leads these people to their actions a little, and it was definitely interesting, but I think a LOT more could have been done with that. I wish we had gotten a bigger glimpse at the origins and the psychology of this movement. There's a boatload of unused potential there.
Moving on to Genesis. I think if a character's got a bomb strapped to her, I should feel things. I should feel afraid for her, sympathize with her. But Genesis didn't evoke any emotions out of me. I didn't feel the danger, the heart-pounding or the fear. She felt very dull to me, though I'm not sure I can explain why. In addition, Genesis manages to fool the voice inside her ear several times, though I don't know how. I don't know about you, but I think if I was part of a terrorist cell who had planted a bomb on a girl, I wouldn't think she was stopping to pee and then stopping again to get food because she's hypoglycemic.
I will say this - the ending was absolutely perfect, in my opinion. It's one that's very unexpected and leaves you thinking.
Overall: I, personally, did not enjoy this novel. But most of my problems with it are incredibly preference-based, and I urge anyone who loves fast-paced easy reads to check this out. 2.5 stars.