- Source: Review Copy
- Pages: 424
- Format: Ebook
- Publication Date: November 30th 2020
- Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction, Fantasy
- My Rating: 4/5
Blurb (From Amazon)
“How much do you know about your death?”
On the morning of his 18th birthday Ali woke up to his family home unusually silent, and deserted. He soon learns that he never lived the childhood he remembers and all his memories up until that point are fake. He is now alone, and an occupant of the Drift, an entity where deceased children coexist as their adult selves, with the ability to view a parallel version of their being in a separate, fictional world, without any influence or control over this life path.
Almost three years on, Ali has settled into a routine, but events from the real world he was taken from as a child begin to impact on the limits of his existence as he develops a strange connection with a fellow occupant seeking an unprecedented truth that surfaces a disturbing past and will forever bind together multiple souls.
Follow Ali and three others over the course of a mind-bending week as each seeks comfort and answers from their existence.
Merging The Drift is one of those books that instantly intrigue you by offering a fresh premise in the world of young adult and adult fiction. Afterlife is a topic that has been explored in books and movies many times. In this book, we see it through a different lens which is through the eyes of four characters who died very young. The boundaries between the living world and the afterlife get blurred and what we see are people who had difficult lives and the mental wounds that were left on them.
All the characters – whether alive or dead – have their own trauma. The characters I found most fascinating were Kitty, a rebellious teenager with a disability and a strained relationship with her mom, and Kerri, Kitty’s guardian of sorts who was invisible to others.
The book delves into some existential themes which is not something I see often in such thrilling and gritty books. One particular point that stayed with me was that our mundane lives are necessary, and even special, to make us feel grounded and not alone. This was related to the mental state of the people who died and went to the Drift. The other side of death. It also showed a different kind of loneliness, that of the person who dies, and not of the grieving family which many movies and books based on the afterlife and death have shown. Certain parts and certain conversations in the book make you really introspect.
The novel has some graphic and scary action scenes that would come out and smack you out of nowhere. While they fit the overall darkness of the novel, I think they could’ve been written in a better way. I lost interest at some points in the novel and didn’t feel connected to the characters. Some situations felt forcedly sexual to me.
The writing style of this book is simple. The narration reflects the typical angsty tone of teenagers.
Merging The Drift by Tom Bray encompasses many genres and themes. It is a good combination of the elements of horror and fantasy as well as deeper psychological themes like childhood trauma. The book is a fascinating culmination of all the attractive aspects of contemporary fiction. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for an interesting and thrilling book that also has deeper themes.
Trigger warnings for the book: sexual abuse, violence