Rating:

Reviewed by Shannon Hopkins

In 2050, Jordan Lacklin is researching the cure for Alzheimer’s at Medicorp, a leading pharmaceutical company, when he figures out how to stop the genetic processes responsible for aging. Five hundred years later, The Change has created a society in which people stop aging in their mid-twenties and live for centuries. This has led to massive overpopulation and deep divisions between the comfortable elite, the dwindling “middle class”, and millions of impoverished whose choices are slum living in the city or a life of slavery.

Private investigator Grace is trying to stay under the radar when she is hired by Medicorp’s new CEO to track down Jordan Lacklin – placing her in the crosshairs of the mysterious Establishment and in the orbit of the man she once loved. As she searches for clues to find the missing scientist, she finds herself trapped in a web of hidden motives and secrets that threatens the assignment…and Grace’s life. Can she find Lacklin and learn the truth before it’s too late?

The premise of The Immortality Virus is a promising one: a dystopian society, postmodern technology, and the dark downside to everlasting life create a template for a riveting story. Unfortunately, neither the main plot line nor its several subplots are fully explored or resolved; the narrative asks more questions than it answers, and the answers it does provide are shallow and perfunctory. Several supporting characters play a role in Grace’s attempts to find Lacklin, including his grandson Alex. Without deeper explanation of their motives for helping or hindering Grace, however, even sympathetic characters like farm slave Meg never take full form.

I devoured this book, tearing through page after page in the hopes that the next chapter would untangle the web of questions, provide a more complete character portrait, or at the very least avoid awkward words and phrases that merely cluttered up the story instead of evoking a particular ambience (i.e. “sub-vocalized” instead of “whispered” – the talking computer wristlet is cool enough without the confusing future-speak). Before I knew it, I had reached the last page – the story ended, but a satisfactory conclusion was nowhere to be found.

The most disappointing thing about The Immortality Virus is that it has the potential to be an exceptional sci-fi thriller – with more attention to substance than to pace, this review would have been far different. As it is, however, I would advise even the hardcore science fiction reader to take a pass.

Rating: 1/5

Shannon lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her fianc é and a room full of books that she peruses when she isn’t trolling Apartment Therapy for new decorating ideas. In her free time she enjoys maintaining her blog, The Writer’s Closet, planning her wedding, and baking tasty gluten-free treats.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Phoebe Francis. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.