This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.
My first question while reading Strangelets
was: What is a Strangelet? I knew the book featured young strangers mysteriously thrown together in an even more mysterious setting. I thought it was a cutesy way of referring to strangers, similar to how the terms piglets and eaglets refer to a small, cute version of the adult animals. ("Oh, wook at the cute, wittle strangelets!") Umm, no. When the answer was given near the end of the book, it was far from cutesy, and it made my head spin. And by the way, it is an actual scientific term. Thanks, Google!
But before we get to that, I'll start at the beginning which sucked me right in. Six teenage strangers, all from different parts of the world, wake up to find themselves locked in a hospital.
Or is it a laboratory? In any case, they are alone, unless you count the terrifying monsters lurking about. Some of them are suspicious of the others, believing that at least one of them must somehow be involved in what increasingly looks like a massive conspiracy. My own mind reeled, trying to figure out how any of this was possible.
When the group finally breaks out of the hospital and splits up, it doesn't feel like a bad Hollywood screenwriter ploy designed to cause as much mayhem as possible while the audience groans in disbelief. In this case, I was definitely worried for the safety of the group when they split up, but their reasons were plausible, and it is a bonus for the reader because we get two concurrent and equally frightening story lines.
I had so many questions while reading the book, and I had no idea where Gagnon was headed. Answers started to come at a furious pace about ¾ of the way through. I wish that they'd been doled out a little more evenly. The book was very fast-paced up until this point, but then the action ground to a halt, replaced by a lot of explaining.
I will freely admit that it much of it went right over my head, so I can't really comment on whether there were any holes in the explanations. I felt somewhat bludgeoned into submission, and I decided to just go ahead and accept it. I think that a more gradual approach to the revelations would have alleviated this somewhat. Nevertheless, the mysteries and the action-packed story more than compensate for the overly-talky ending.