I’ll confess that I was somewhat nervous to read Spore. When I first connected with Tamara, she was getting ready to head to Horror Hound Weekend in Cincinnati. I am not a fan of anything horror related. I get freaked out by the tornado in The Wizard of Oz, I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with people rising from the dead in a book set only a couple of hours from where I live.
I was pleasantly surprised by Spore. It falls more into the mystery and suspense category as the rising dead in the novel aren’t anything like zombies. The plot moved along quite quickly and I felt engaged through the entire book. The book’s location offered an element of familiarity that made it easier for me to settle into the story.
Jones puts a unique twist on the those individuals that rise from the dead in Spore. All I can say is that they are not brain-eating zombies and most probably don’t pose a threat to the general population. As the novel progresses, Jones raises some excellent discussion points about what it means to be human, what it means do be alive and when do our civil liberties start and end. What does the pursuit of happiness mean? These questions do not overtake the main plot of Spore, but as the story moves forward, and the characters started to question the ins and outs of the Rising, I started to wonder about these questions along with them. They would be good discussions points for a book club.
There were just a couple of technical points within the book I struggled with and one of them, most readers probably wouldn’t pick up on.
- Night Photography: Early on in the book, Sean and Mare venture to the location where the dead are rising to snap some photographs. It’s night and it’s starting to rain. It is very difficult, in my experience, to take handheld photos at night. They did have a flashlight, but I have doubts the photos would have been successful because of the low light situation and the overly powerful light most flashlights emit.
- I don’t read many mysteries and I’ve always struggled when reading mysteries with how the story is paced and how the reveal happens. I felt that Sean’s experiences as child that were connected to the rising dead were paced oddly. I wanted to feel more connection with Sean as he started his investigations, but his denial of his past experiences seemed to hinder the reveal.
I did enjoy Spore. I would consider it a bit out of my normal range of the type of books I tend to read, but I have found it is good to stretch outside your comfort zone as a reader. The questions Jones raises about what it means to be human and where our civil liberties start and end are questions many are asking and others are challenging us to answer. By stopping to listen, as many of the main characters do in the book, an understanding is gained and the world becomes a little better because of it. Spore receives a thumbs up for challenging me as a reader and for challenging me to look at the world a different way.