I’ve read a number of reviews and comments that compare Warren Fahy‘s Fragment (2009) with Michael Crichton and Jurassic Park. Fragment and Jurassic Park have similar themes and bare bones basic concepts. Both stories involve humans battling supernatural, prehistoric monsters and self-centered murderous villains on the remotest of islands. Let’s be clear: stop there and consider the comparisons complete. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed Fahy’s debut novel. It’s the perfect summertime beach or pool-side read, and its 500 pages fly by faster than the Hender’s Island Spigers rip apart defenseless characters in Fahy’s book.
The concept of Fragment is pretty cool. A reality TV show follows scientists on a round-the-world science-based cruise and comes across this ridiculously remote 2-mile wide island in the middle of the Pacific. The scientists and crew soon discover the island is full of extremely aggressive and creatively evolved creatures. Madness and mayhem soon follow as most of the cast is eaten within minutes of landing on the island. Once you throw in a couple of strong-willed and morally incorruptible good guys and add your obligatory military tough guys, along with a nasty bad guy, you’ve got yourself a pretty good action adventure.
Fahy makes a number of attempts at incorporating scientific theory into his story, including analyses of evolution, animal reproductive patterns, and a very Jurassic Park-like chaos / humans-will-destroy-everything-they-touch theory. These shades of Crichton were enjoyable and worked relatively seamlessly with the story, but they weren’t strongly intertwined with the action and, in the end, felt forced and unnecessary. The story was interesting and exciting and some of the key characters were reasonably well developed. But character development was inconsistent and, at times, absent.
If you’re looking for Michael Crichton, then you won’t really find it in Fahy’s first novel. If you’re looking for a solid monster story … then Fragment isn’t a bad choice.