I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Crossed is a sort of interesting story about a world where the internet generation decides that everything sucks and humanity has to die, including themselves. I wouldn’t say it’s realistic at all, but it uses a lot of real world problems in the story. It’s not a typical story in the sense that it has a narrative that follows characters and their stories day in and day out. Instead, it’s almost entirely composed of articles, forum posts, letters, and even advertisements. I can’t really say it even has anything that I would call a ‘chapter’.
It works fine. It does mention a lot of real things, like the fact that there’s an island in the ocean composed entirely of human trash. On the other hand, sometimes it ignores things. Like when the Crosses decide to replant the forests and they’re talking about oxygen. Trees are great and nice and all, but about 90% of the oxygen comes from ocean plant-life. If ocean plant-life has been decimated or something, planting a few trees on land isn’t going to fix it.
The first site that consistently posts articles is also a vegan site, and there seem to be oversights (like, look up where soy comes from, as well as how many animals die to make those products. I don’t recall that problem ever being mentioned). I’m not sure if it was a lack of research or if that’s meant to be part of the story, that the younger generation is blinded by their own extremism to the point that they only point the finger at everyone else.
The growth of the extremist group and such aren’t necessarily realistic, either, as well as the workings of the world (billions of people have been killed, for example, and the mail is still being delivered. It doesn’t seem to say that the mail system has been taken over by the extremists, just that it’s still going and they can apparently still get supplies that way). That’s not really a criticism, it is a fictional ‘end of the world’ type of story, just expect to occasionally say, “Really?”
There’s also things like “Crosses” who’ll wear long-sleeved shirts or something to hide their marks. I would imagine marking themselves with crosses would backfire extremely quickly. If over a billion have been murdered by people who mark themselves with crosses, the world would be in a bit more of a panic mode. I doubt people would be as worried about other people’s privacy and would be a little more demanding about finding anyone with a cross on their body. Some things are addressed (like someone wearing a body suit to hide from radars and stuff), but other things that would happen aren’t (for example, if I was a rich person being targeted by these guys, the first thing I would invest in is a whole lot of guard dogs. These people raiding mansions never seem to get mobbed by 50 rottweilers).
It is interesting to watch the story unfold, how everything started and where it goes. Most of the time it kept me in the story. I was curious to see how it would turn out. Using stories about our current world was a clever way to give it a more truthful ring. I think it was meant to be more shocking than realistic. Some of the forum posts definitely sounded like what you would hear idiots on the internet say.
I do think the method of telling the story works for this book, but only because I don’t often see stories written this way. If people started copying it, it would get old fast. I was generally invested, wondering what would happen next, save for a few times. The weak part of this style of writing is that I couldn’t connect to any character, because it’s so disconnected and disjointed. I might read a couple of letters from one side of a conversation, and then many pages later read something else about them. I can’t say it’s really “following” the story of any single character. When I read the summary for the book I was actually only able to recall for sure who one of the characters was, and even then I couldn’t say that much about her because scraps of information are tossed around all over the place about all types of things. I “kind of sort of” have an idea who the others are. Barely.
I didn’t feel for a single character at any point because I hardly knew anything about them.
The summary for this book doesn’t describe how it’s written, so if you’re getting into it be aware that there’s only a few pages of traditional story at the beginning and end. I think the overall story is memorable, but I’d have a hard time describing any one part or any individual’s story. If you’re into realism you might find yourself questioning why people fighting the Crosses seem to be doing almost nothing in response, but if you just want to read about a world going up in a whirlwind of chaos you’d probably have a lot of fun with it.
I give it a 7/10