Editorial Review: The Spark Anomaly by Jeffrey Freedman
Science fiction fans who enjoy fast-paced stories that are filled with likable characters, action-packed scenes and plenty of interesting tech will love The Spark Anomaly.
The Spark Anomaly is set in 2067 during a time when the world is a lot more technologically advanced than now. However, despite all the great new inventions and gadgets available, people still have the same types of problems. One of these people is Catchy Fisher, a college student who struggles to fit in because of her shyness. Cathy is very good at her studies, though, which is good because her unusual homework assignments might just be the key to saving the world.
The Spark Anomaly is also the story of professor Arnold Spark who is not your typical stodgy professor. Spark is trying to discover why a volcanic power generator that he designed was engulfed by lava but uncovers a terrifying secret in the process. Unfortunately, his efforts to uncover the truth and save the world in the process earns him the attention of an unseen enemy who will go to great lengths to stop him.
Finally, The Spark Anomaly features a lonely lunar robot named Soona. Her intelligence is squandered on the moon where her cruel human captors use her for menial tasks. Thankfully, Soona is soon enlisted by Spark to help him with saving the world, but to do so she will need to escape the moon and head for the comet Charybdis.
It takes a while to get used to the shifting narrative as the story is told via different viewpoints, but all of the characters are well written and the author even manages to make mundane things like babysitting exciting. The chapters featuring Spark has a lot of life or death situations and edge-of-your-seat moments, but even the slower-paced chapters starring Cathy isn't lacking in suspense or intrigue. However, the star of the book is Soona, as the overwhelming odds that the little robot has to face in this story makes it hard not to cheer for her determination.
Although The Spark Anomaly makes use of themes that are common in science fiction, Jeffrey Freedman has managed to keep everything fresh and interesting. For example, the threat to the planet and how it is dealt with is handled in a way that doesn't involve the usual cliches and tropes. The story is also very unpredictable and the final few chapters, in particular, are harrowing as you don't know what is going to happen next and whether the heroes will be able to handle all the curveballs heading their way.
The individual stories about Cathy, Sparks, and Soona would have made for great novels on their own, but Freedman has managed to deftly weave all of them together in one suspenseful and thought-provoking book. He also doesn't waste a lot of time on unnecessary explanations, which keeps the plot going at a brisk pace.
Overall, The Spark Anomaly is a suspense-filled science fiction thriller with a gripping story and characters that actually make you care about their perils. A lot of imagination went into the world-building. The book is filled with all kinds of near-future gadgets and technology, but none of it overshadows the very personal struggles of the characters, both human and robotic.