Editorial Review: Titan's Tears by Chad Lester
In this gripping, near-future thriller, the lives of a reclusive scientist, nanny, and displaced slaughterhouse worker intersect on an isolated Alaskan island.
The opening chapters of Titan's Tears introduce readers to the three primary characters around whom the story revolves. First is Belle, a thirty-year-old unemployed woman living alone in a secluded Alaskan village. Belle is an orphan with a troubled childhood whose memory of the past is very hazy. However, deep down, she knows that she has to get out of the town where her life revolves around hiking, reading, and counseling sessions with her psychiatrist.
Next up is the brilliant yet enigmatic Sophia Eccleston, whose scientific inventions have changed the world and made her very wealthy in the process. Unfortunately, Sophia is on the verge of losing control of her company, Eccleston Evolution, to a hostile takeover due to the amount of money she spends on her secretive projects. Last, there is Seth, a man who has devoted his life to being a good employee and taking care of his wife but constantly finds himself being made obsolete due to technological advances. Despite their different lives, the fates of Belle, Sophia, and Seth are all connected to the isolated Alaskan island where Eccleston Evoluton's most secretive research and projects are hidden away. It is a place where both murder machines and transgenic creatures can be found, along with something far more terrifying.
Titan's Tears shifts between the viewpoints of Belle, Sophia, and Seth as each deals with their own personal problems. Belle is very surprised when she receives a job offer out of the blue to become the nanny to Sophia's eight-year-old daughter, Juno. It is a lifetime opportunity for Belle, but after accepting it, she quickly discovers a sinister side to the island. Meanwhile, Seth turns into a recluse after being beaten down by life through the loss of his wife, his job, and his health. However, when he receives an offer he can't refuse, Seth also makes his way to the island with a mission that will have far-reaching consequences.
Titan's Tears is a riveting novel, although, in the first half, it can be confusing to try to piece together how all the events that happen are related. The pace picks up considerably in the second half, though, and towards the end, all hell breaks loose. Chad Lester is good at writing characters readers can empathize with even if they disagree with their actions and plotting great action scenes. The near future setting of the book allows him to make good use of technology and inventions that are incredible yet plausible. Titan's Tears also features a few astonishing plot twists, with some that astute readers will spot quickly and others that are jaw-dropping. Thankfully, the book doesn't end on a cliffhanger, and every thread of the compelling narrative is deftly woven together towards the end for a very satisfying conclusion.
Overall, Titan's Tears offers a fresh take on familiar science fiction and dystopian thriller elements but mixes in plenty of originality along with human emotion, which is often lacking in the genre. The result is an engaging novel that is hard to put down once you start reading.