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The Silent Count

Book review: The Silent Count by E.A. Smiroldo

The Silent Count is the debut novel of E.A. Smiroldo, and takes the reader on a thrilling story about climate change and technology. The book is set in a very near future where the United States face extreme natural disasters on an almost daily basis. Faced with a herculean task, we follow the protagonist as she navigates relationships, financial struggles and her fight for the truth. Be careful if you choose to read this review, there will be some spoilers.

 

The Story

The Silent CountFloods, fires, tornadoes: the consequences of climate change are threatening American lives and economy. A young former geo-engineering student working at a government agency, Dara Bouldin is asked to work on a national level project using nuclear technology to counter the effects of climate change. Her new supervisor Alexander Fallsworth, a CIA agent firmly believes in Dara’s project. But she soon gets entangled in a web of political intrigues and manipulation, all the while trying to better the lives of millions of people. Her relationships with ex-boyfriend Jericho Wells and new Russian coworker Dmitri Andreevich Ivanov don’t make it easier for her.

 

The Characters

There are not a lot of main characters, but they all have varied and interesting personalities. The main character, Dara, is lovable, but more importantly she’s relatable. She may seem a bit too young for everything that happens to her, but I guess it’s part of the tragedy of her character.

She has flaws and makes mistakes but, I feel like in comparison, the other characters around her are much more flawed and unreliable than her. Dara does seem a bit too much of a fiercely “I’m not a damsel in distress” woman, even in times where she could definitely use the help, but we can understand how her family situation shaped this facet of her personality.

Relationships between the characters are complex and compelling, the most puzzling ones being between Dara and Avery, her father, and Dara and Jane, her former Ph.D. supervisor.

In all the relationships, we can see a variety of feelings and behaviors, of give and take, of positive emotions and bad blood. It’s never all good or all bad, but very nicely nuanced. It’s very realistic to see how the characters navigate these relationships and how the dynamics evolve over time. It’s also very exciting to see how character’s jobs and roles impact their relationships, such as the complicated relationship between Dara and Dmitri, as Dmitri’s mission as a spy takes its toll on his mental.

 

The Plot

The plot-twist is surprising enough, with a complete change of face for one of the main characters. The topics mentioned are truly reflective of current challenges, so the plot and events really hit home and can serve as reminders that we can all do something to help in relation to climate change, pollution, sustainability. It can also question us as to whether or not some technologies should be used, and if so, how and by whom, and hints at profound questions of responsibility and moral obligations.

 

The Writing Style

The writer managed to get across the feeling of near-doom, urgency and overall gloom of this future world. What makes it so palpable is the fact that it seems all too plausible: it’s a future not so dissimilar from our present, in which we already live the consequences of climate change. On top of it, we can see portrayed the complex and often frustration-inducing behaviors of political leaders: the climate change deniers, the ones only initiating sustainable projects for public appraisal, the ones only taking pointless, small steps in the face of such a serious threat.

The pacing is good: there’s a floating plateau when everything seems to go smoothly for Dara, followed by a short time when things start to crumble down very slowly and then the plot-twist happens. And from that moment, the pace quickens and the reader is dying to read what happens next.

Overall, the author’s style is easy to read and manages to mix seamlessly technical narration about nuclear technology, humoristic lines, and feeling-packed moments.

 

Conclusion

The Silent Count is a very nicely written novel, a debut one at that. The author juggles several themes, most of them quite serious and grave, and succeeds in making the reader care for the characters and empathize with them. Maybe it was because I was feeling afraid that this could well be our real future, but I was captivated by the events and curious as to what would happen. To conclude, you don’t need to be interested in nuclear technology and geo-engineering to enjoy this book: the almost apocalyptic yet still hopeful atmosphere and the characters are what make this story thrilling.

 

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Bree

Bree has a love of books and a passion for sharing stories. As a book blogger, writer and admin of this site, Bree’s goal is to spread the joy of reading with others.

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