A free e-copy of this book was obtained through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I requested for this book solely because of its description. A thriller with different geographical locations and politics thrown in the mix? Color me intrigued! I went in with high expectations. It was interesting in some places and disappointing in many.
Wavelength captures the two dominant threads of the first decade of the 21st century – greed and terrorism. It takes us from the stoops of Brooklyn to the bike paths of Amsterdam, to Afghanistan, Moscow and Zurich, to the backrooms of Brussels and Frankfurt and finally to the hazy diwans of Yemen. Dazzled by his new boss but harboring a soft spot for the Agency, Hayden allows himself to be pulled back in for one more run – a run that reminds him that people aren’t what they seem, a run that reinforces his belief that greed has no sell-by date. Several years after the dot com funeral pyre, Hayden Campbell a former CIA operative turned speechwriter finds himself working for the sixth richest man in the world, Aaron Cannondale. From this perch, Hayden watches as a Dutch student discovers a technology to send voice, video and data through Europe’s municipal water system. Standing in the way are European technocrats, the Russian mafia, a Swiss banker and a new breed of terrorist intent on wreaking havoc on the West.
This was a book that had so much scope, but most of it was not realized. Just looking at the synopsis shows that the author has an out of the world premise at hand. It just wasn’t handled in the right way throughout the book.
The characters’ portrayal lacked conviction. Most of the characters didn’t seem believable. A book about politics, business, and big money could bear with making its characters seem a little bit more despicable. But we just get an abstract reporting of events, where the way the characters interact with each other does not seem plausible at all. There was also a little of what was supposed to be romance but it just coughed, sputtered, and died at the hands of poor dialogue writing.
Coming to the writing, it was the saving grace of this book. You can see Morrison’s speech writing career reflected on page. The book has stellar writing and this eases the rough edges of the dialogues. While the writing was impressive, the dialogues fell flat. The characters interacting with each other just wasn’t written that well.
The world building was handled in a decent way. A book with so many geographical locations offers up numerous chances to explain different settings way more than necessary. But the author knows where to draw the line and this was very satisfactory. There were some instances where this line was breached. There is a whole paragraph talking about water in a way only people who’ve studied chemistry would be fine with reading. Other people just will not be interested in hearing about hydrogen bonding and molecular geometry, thank you very much.
The plot was not strong enough. It could have been handled in a better way. A story where a lot of factors come into play should have an airtight plot. Here, it was more like all the plots from a Spin a Wheel plot generator where haphazardly thrown together. The different angles just did not gel well with each other.
There is also a terrorist angle in the book and these were the chapters that I had most fun reading. A book focusing just on this too would’ve been more interesting. Maybe if the plot and the story were refined in some places, I’d like it a little bit more. But for now, this book gets a low rating for not realizing exactly what it could have been.
2.5 out of 5
So, what did you think of my review? Let me know in the comments! 🙂