Review: The Event by Nathan Hystad

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002

The first time I picked up this book I got through a couple of pages, and put it down unsatisfied - I like to see specifics in a story to help it seem real, and it bugged me that some of these were missing, not least that the town where the story begins wasn't named.

However, a couple of weeks later I picked it up again and found myself immediately gripped. I even went back to re-read the opening pages to ensure I'd not missed anything. Funny how your enjoyment of a book can depend on your mood. :)

Pacing is definitely the strength in this story. For much of this book it's a strong sci-fi thriller, with mysteries, turns, and surprises that crack on chapter after chapter. Even better was that Halstad let the main character figure things out alongside the reader, allowing things to steam on nicely.

Much of the first two-thirds of the book is spent traveling across an America that is eerily empty. Hystad does what he does really well, and I can't really fault it - but I suspect a master writer would have found a way to indulge in it more and leave that as the sole focus of book one in a trilogy - and have a stronger novel for it.

This is especially as the last third of the story changed tack completely - becoming science fiction with a small "s". After such a strong build up I found it a little disjointed - sometimes too fast, sometimes unclear - and I struggled to maintain suspension of disbelief.

Even still, it ended well enough, and with an interesting premise to continue into the second book.

Overall, this was an enjoyable novel with some great plot elements and a blistering pace. The inclusion of Carey was a show-stealer that kept the story nicely grounded. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that toward the end it became a little too seasoned for my taste - but not enough to put me off wanting to find out what happens next with this series.

The Event by Nathan Hystad is available to buy on and
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