I’m going to admit right at the start that I initially picked up Seth Patrick’s novel Reviver because of the cover, with its one-two punch combo of a photo with a gaze that unnervingly followed me as I perused nearby shelves and a tasty letter reversal treatment for the palindromic title. What can I say? I’m sometimes that much of a sucker for some tasty font pr0n.
Of course, then the story description had to reel me in even further by describing Patrick’s novel as “CSI meets The Sixth Sense.” Pretty lofty claim there, but one that I was more than eager to judge for myself. You know what I discovered? It’s a pretty on-point claim for a surprisingly satisfying story.
The premise is that main character Jonah Miller is a “reviver.” He and those like him have the ability to revive someone who has recently died to learn the truth behind their death, be it through natural causes, their own hand, or by someone else. I love this idea and feel as though it would have been a Philip K. Dick book at some point, had he lived longer. In Dick’s absence, however, Patrick provided an incredible (and gory) ride-along with Jonah as he begins to see and suspect that what he and his fellow revivers are doing could have drastic consequences. You see, it’s not just the dead they are awakening.
But I can’t say anything more than that. Because spoilers.
I can say that I found this book engaging from start to finish, with fully realized characters and a delicious sense of pacing that kept tempting me forward, night after night to see what awaited my discovery within the next chapter. I adore when I find a book like this.
I admittedly balked a bit at the ending, which in its own right was not bad at all. It’s a rather open-ended finale, leaving some things not quite so tidily tied up with our characters or their actions. This doesn’t bother me on its own. I’m not one who necessarily needs a perfect ending. However, I have learned that this sort of ending nowadays means one thing: sequel. True enough, the next “Reviver Novel,” Acolyte, seems slated for an April 2015 release. As I mentioned in my review of the first in Ransom Riggs’s peculiar series, I don’t really like being set up for sequels. I kind of like knowing from the start that I might have to wait for a satisfactory conclusion to what I’m currently reading…or even worse, I hate realizing too late that I’ve just invested in a lackluster story that couldn’t even have the decency to end well and now expects me to want to carry forth into more meh storytelling.
I’m a persnickety one sometimes.
That being said, even with Patrick’s somewhat unresolved ending, I still felt he concluded this novel in a satisfying way. If I choose to continue, I have a solid foundation on which to build future stories. If I don’t choose to continue, I have a great story that I can play around with in my own imagination if I ever wish to. Win-win, I say.
Final Verdict: Even if I am a bit wary of the fact that Patrick is working on a sequel to this novel, I still loved this book and definitely would love to have it as part of my library. I’m probably going to give the sequel a go, but even if it’s not as good as this first novel, Reviver will still be able to stand on its own…even with its sequel-ready open ending.