|Title: Perfectible Animals
Author: Thomas Norwood
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Format & Pages: E-book, 324
Publication: Self-Published, 2013
Michael Khan, a geneticist struggling to save his wife from a deadly virus, is recruited by a secret organization to engineer the next stage in the evolution of Homo sapiens: highly immune to disease and extremely cooperative.
When the military learns of his research, they force him to help create a bio-weapon to be used against invading forces.
Desperate to save humanity before they wipe themselves out, Michael genetically modifies over one hundred children. Ironically, they start to breed diseases that are deadly to Homo sapiens, and he is arrested for bio-terrorism.
Now, Michael isn't only fighting for the life of his wife, but for himself, his modified children, and millions of civilians about to be wiped out by diseases he is responsible for creating.
The problem is -- he can't save them all.”
Perfectible Animals is Thomas Norwood’s debut novel. The focus is on Dr. Michael Khan as he is arrested and interrogated for terrorism against Australia. The story starts in the present where Khan is getting ready to leave the country in order to protect some children. What is so special about these children we do not know. Suddenly, Khan is taken and transported to a secret location. Here he is questioned concerning a project he has been working on.
The majority of the story is told via flashbacks. Khan being taken and then charged comprises a very small part of the plot. I find the way the story is told, through flashbacks and occasionally during prison interviews, to be very creative. It kept me reading because I knew that something had happened and I wanted to know what it was that led up to him being arrested. This helped me get through some of the duller parts of the novel. At first, some of the flashbacks seemed completely disjointed from the story, but as I kept reading everything came together.
Khan as a character is likeable. His drive and determination are something I quite admire. In his situation I think I would have caved under the pressure and stress of his life. He was someone I was rooting for and while the ending was not all I wanted it to be, it was the best ending for the novel.
The pacing of the book was good. It was quick enough to keep me reading, but there were some parts that I found boring or unnecessary. I think this may have been taken care of if the flashbacks were made shorter and more of his time in prison was included. I also found that the amount of medical terms, while necessary to the story, threw the pacing off for me. I had to slow down and really try to understand what was going on. If the medical terms were somehow dulled down I think I would have really enjoyed the story a lot more.
Overall, the story was enjoyable, even though it was not as action packed as I like my stories to be. The world was well created and realistic. The characters were enduring and varied, with differing personalities and reactions to the situations in which they are placed. If the pacing was a bit faster with the flashbacks more broken up, I would have really enjoyed it.