I picked The Pearl by Gary Townsend to read because the hook got me, as hooks are supposed to do. And then the closing line of the book blurb “One of the aliens thinks David is the right man for the job, and the other thinks he’s and idiot” really intrigued me because it is not often that authors include wording like that at all, essentially mocking their main character.
The plot of this book, is that our hero David proves that time travel is not possible, and thus aliens think he is the right person to save the world. Or at least, one of them does. And so, when David wakes up one morning, it is in his childhood bedroom, wearing an adult size version of his childhood pajamas, meeting two alien’s, whom David refers to as Beach and Suit. Why are they named Beach and Suit? Because one was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and one was wearing a suit.
I found that this book was filled with a lot of dry wit and tongue in cheek humor. Typically, this is not the type of book I would read, but as I said the hook drew me in, and I am glad I gave it a chance. When you normally read books like this, where someone is chosen to save the world, it is this amazing person that has all of these special abilities. Not David. He is just your average Joe, where his entire life, ideals, and thoughts are being challenged. He does not do everything, or anything, flawlessly and he is put in life threatening situations where he has to trust two aliens that are complete strangers to him.
On top of being a book about saving the world, I appreciated how the author slid in some character development as well. David ended up breaking things off with the love of his life for reasons that are explained in the book. And then we as the reader get to experience with David, that moment in his past be turned on its head and he is forced to come to the conclusion that he might not have made the right decision. David is not the only one we see get character development either, but Beach, Suit, and a few other side characters as well. This was greatly appreciated, especially since I as the reader did develop an emotional attachment to them. Well, most of them.
I think one thing Gary struggled with, is if the side characters did not serve a purpose, they did not have a developed personality. Instead, they felt like carbon copy characters, with different feature descriptions. When reading about them, my thought was “if they don’t a serve a purpose and you aren’t really going to differentiate them, why are they here?”
While I found this book to be highly interesting with its tongue in cheek humor and dry wit, there are some bad things about this book. As this is a published novel, I do have an expectation that when I am reading the book it is, for the most part, error free. Often while reading this book, I noticed quite a few missing quotation marks, and point of view shifts in numerous spots which really jarred me out of the book. In addition to that, there were a few spots where I felt that the author could have taken more time to develop the situation or plot point to ensure the reader had a clear idea of what was happening. For instance, during the book Suit has to change their external appearance, and while that is explained, how the personality shift they go through, really isn’t. There is a lot left hanging there that I would love to see explained, such as the aliens that David meets live in a place called “The Blue” which is also really never explained.
The ending of this book doesn’t really do the entire novel justice either. Realistically speaking it does wrap up the major plot points, but there are a few minor plot points and questions that I had that I am fairly confident book two is not going to address as it follows an entirely different character.
Overall – This was a fairly interesting book, and I am glad I picked it up. The dry wit and tongue in cheek humor really kept me interested in the book, but this is still a book that will take you some time to read. I wish the author had taken the time to really work with whomever their editor was to really flesh out and develop some of the plot points that are still lingered without a real resolution. It has the potential to go further and be better, and unfortunately it really does fall shy of what I feel the author was trying to accomplish.
Plot – 6/10
Characters – 6/10
Originality – 10/10
General Joy of Reading – 6/10
Overall Score – 28//40
The Pearl: To retrieve it, the aliens needed a secret agent – they got David – Gary Townsend
Cost* – Kindle edition $8.72 Hardcover edition $21.43
*Cost is based upon what the book cost when book review is published