Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing The Ferryman by Justin Cronin, which was recently published on May 2, 2023. I’d heard great things about this author. So, I was very excited to get the ARC when the publisher granted my wish on NetGalley. What did I think of it? Read on below to find out!
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia–where the truth isn’t what it seems.
Founded by a mysterious genius, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.
Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process–and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he’s been dreaming–which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.
Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group–known as “Arrivalists”–who may be fomenting revolution.
Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized–and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.
***Thank you to Ballantine Books for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
This was my first book by this author, and it won’t be my last. I’m still not 100% sure what I just read. lol. This was a mind-bending blend of science fiction, mystery, and dystopia that constantly kept my brain spiraling. At its heart, though, it was a novel about the human experiences of parenthood, loss, grief, aging, and perseverance against impossible odds. It also highlighted the importance of taking care of our planet and explored how class dynamics can play into some of the worst aspects of human nature. There were segments of this book that had me so deep in my feelings and others that were technical enough to really make me stop to think through what was happening. The story was slow at times, but I never lost interest in it. Truthfully, I’m not sure what else to say without giving away important details. Definitely avoid spoilers for this one because the experience of everything unraveling bit by bit was what made this reading experience so unique. If you enjoy tense sci fi and dystopia where you have no idea what is going on for most of the book, this one will definitely be for you.