Occurrence by Robert Desiderio is a modern day political/sci-fi thriller. Browsing for my next read, I saw this popped up as one of the top recommendations of the year so far. I’m always down for a political thriller from time to time and given that it didn’t seem like too big a book, I decided to try it. The first third of the book started off very well and got me hooked. I didn’t consider it extremely cliche but it added enough fantasy elements into the mix to make me continue. Towards the second half of the novel I started to see the problem. It felt like the author kept writing words on the pages as a filler and just kept regurgitating the same things multiple times. This felt weird because the story moves at a pretty fast pace yet I didn’t feel like much happened. Towards the end, I just wanted to know how the author was going to end it because there weren’t many chapters left. Not surprisingly, I came away disappointed.
Julian and Dominque were you run of the mill characters with the latter being more of the focal point as a journalist trying to find her purpose in life in a war torn country. I’m always a big fan of stories and movies that start off with multiple characters point of view that seemingly have no initial bond or connections with each other and leading separate lives only to be woven together as time goes on. Occurrence is a fast paced book with literally a hundred mini chapters that last only a few pages or so.
After having finished the book, I have a feeling the author is gearing up for a sequel. However, it also felt like the author himself had no idea on which direction the story should be heading towards and was relieved as well that it also came to an end just so he can properly decide on what to do next! Occurrence had some nice things going for it but more so against it. Development between the characters and their relationship needs work as well as needing to make the story just a bit more exciting. I personally have no problem with a story that mixes in science fiction, fantasy and religion together. In fact, I can’t remember reading a story with a similar setting before. Unfortunately, I’ll probably skip the sequel to this one.