Rating: 4.5 / 5
OBSCURA by Joe Hart was the October book for the Deep Dark Reads buddy read on Instagram. This is one with which I had no familiarity before it was announced as the next book and my library didn’t even have a copy. Luckily I had a few more weeks on my Kindle Unlimited plan and this title was available to download!
OBSCURA is set in the not too distant future in a world which has seen a new form of dementia rather suddenly emerge. This condition can strike people of any age and it isn’t clear whether it is a disease that is catching, a fault in the victims’ genes, or what may be going on, but the prognosis for those afflicted is grim. Dr. Gillian Ryan has lost her husband already and her daughter is fading before her eyes. She is determined to be the one who finds the reason and the cure, but after her funding is cut she is at a loss.
Gillian is presented with a unique opportunity to travel with NASA to a space station where the crew has begun to succumb to a very similar ailment, dealing with memory loss and sometimes violent outbursts. She is heartbroken to leave her daughter, but the promise of committed, unlimited funding to continue her research is too big a lure. Things of course do not go smoothly and her ability to survive and return to her daughter is in serious doubt.
I really enjoyed this book! Gillian was a very complex character to follow. She’s dealing with the grief of the loss of her husband and the ongoing loss of her daughter, plus a severe addiction that calls her own stability into question. Her passion for finding a cure is commendable and understandable, even given the extreme steps that she must take.
This book plays around a lot with the idea of memories and what makes someone uniquely themselves. Gillian is faced with situations where her own memories are called into question as well. This is a subject that I always find fascinating and I really liked how the author explored it in OBSCURA.
This book does get dark, it isn’t one where you can necessarily trust that the good guys will conquer and get their happy ending. There is definitely some gore and body horror going as well, so keep that in mind if you’re adverse to such things.
Overall, this is a book that kept me engaged throughout with some very creepy moments thrown into the mix. I will for sure be checking out some more of Joe Hart’s work!