Book reviews of The Turning by Marissa Carter

Reviews of The Turning

Baryon Magazine issue #79

The Turning, Marissa Carter, $20.95, 431 pages,, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In this, the first novel from a PH.D.- holding biologist and chemist, we find that the world is about to turn on its axis and rearrange the Earth, as we know it. Only a small group of scientists, who are considered different by other geophysicists, are able to predict what is going to happen.

Out of the clear blue, an earthquake hits Houston and then northern Ohio. Dr Zoл Frazier and her band of hastily assembled colleagues are able to map out where the next earthquakes will occur and what this means to the world. Of course there are those who do not believe them and others who spread disinformation to keep the story from being believed. Zoл has other problems to worry about, as do other characters that have problems of their own to resolve by the end of the book. Ruth Ann Davies is a Unitarian Minister, whose church is destroyed in the Ohio quake, and has been plagued by recurring dreams of Armageddon.

Ms Carter does a wonderful job of tying all this together into a page turning novel of science and spirituality. It’s what you expect and more. Recommended.

Reading Review

The Turning by Marissa Carter. Writer's Club, July 2000, 431pp., ISBN: 0-595-00555-1. Genre: General Fiction, Subgenre: Eco-Thriller/Disaster. Reviewed 3/14/2001 by Conan Tigard.

Another House Disintegrated

Shingles and pieces of plywood scattered on the street, slicing at her. Ruth heard a long drawn-out scream suddenly quelled. More shouts in the distance. A crevice appeared in the road and lengthened, even and she ran. She tripped over it, a monstrous foot-wide rift, exposing rock and gravel that sprayed upward in a geyser, catching her in the face, temporarily blinding her.

An approaching car skidded, hit a concrete block and flipped over, spinning on its roof in a lazy circle. It slid, grinding into the blacktop before the roof collapsed, snapping the necks of the two occupants like dry twigs.

A vivid orange flash lit Ruth’s face briefly. Her eyes swerved to its source in time for her eardrums to catch the whump of the blast. Her skin caught the faint overpressure of the shock wave. Hungry flames began to lick at the demolished structure. Sooty black clouds coiled upward.

She twisted, raised herself onto all fours. Staccato volleys of sound punctuated the roar reverberating down the street as more walls caved in, more timber broke like matchsticks, as every structure above ground level was pulled downward to the earth. More screams. Running figures. She breathed in short bursts, the shaking blurring her vision, loosening the cohesion of her internal organs as if a giant terrier had her torso betweens its maws.

A stench of burnt wood, plastics and rubber infested the air. More glass panes ruptured in explosions. Fractures sliced through the two-story dwelling next to her. Tiles, guttering and bricks cascaded down the side like confetti. The porch folded inwards.

A wild sobbing noise emanated from her mouth as she beat on the hard surface with her fists. “No! No! Please!” Through her tears she watched the main body of the church twist and crumple. Her church, her beloved place of worship…reduced to rubble.

She cried until there was no more breath in her lungs, no more energy to make tears, no more will to move from the desecrated spot in the road.

God had deserted her.

Dr. Zoe Frazier and Christopher Zhang have recently published a paper on the effects of an axis shift of the Earth. Major earthquakes start occurring in areas where no tectonic activity has ever been recorder, or would have never been expected. Zoe gives a lecture to her fellow scientists at a conference and her theory is shot down by Professor Nigel Cross and Douglas Pike. She is rescued by Vernon Harris, NGDC. A slight ocean rise is noticed by Dr. Moira Perez, a biologist working for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. This rise is the first physical evidence that could support Zoe’s theory. Cross, having been unsuccessful in dissuading his fellow scientists to believe Zoe’s theory, makes a vow that he shall bring her down. As more 8+ earthquakes devastate the United States, the scientists begin to believe that Zoe’s theory may in fact be soon proven to be true. If this axis shift were to really happen, a 5000 foot wall of water will totally envelope most of the US leaving the Rocky Mountains as practically the only habitable land left. Pastor Ruth Ann Davies witnesses the destruction of her church and becomes the portal through which God contacts the humans that he feels worth saving. The only question is whether any of the scientists will believe her.

This is the first published novel by Marissa Carter. It is a story of the ultimate destruction of the earth, but only focuses on the United States. The theory is that during a major axis shift of the poles, the oceans will rise about 5000 feet, covering most of the US, killing most of the life on Earth. Most of the scientists in this story are geologists, so a lot of technical jargon is used to describe what is going on. Don’t let that dissuade you, it is good reading.

Having been a Physical Geography major in college, I found that I greatly enjoyed reading about plate tectonics shifting and the earthquakes in this story. The axis shift theory I found to be interesting, but I did get confused a little by where this immense wall of water would come from, since that is never really explained in the story. Did the North American plate actually sink 5000 feet? If not, how do you explain the rise in the level of the water? Was God doing this? I would have really liked this explained. Other than that, I found that I enjoyed the story and the characters. This is a great first effort by Marissa Carter and she weaves and excellent story with believable characters messed with graphic storytelling. I did find the end of the story to be a little confusing and not quite descriptive enough, kind of like it was rushed, or something. Still, overall, I would have to say that this is a good read. If you are a geography buff, or just plain like all that geology stuff, or like the end of the world scenarios, you will like this story. I often found myself thinking about the story while I was at work, mountain biking, or just driving in my car and placed myself into the storyline. This I found to be unnerving and found that I was not looking forward to what was coming. To me, if I think a lot about a story while I am not reading it, the author is doing something right.

I rated this book a 7 out of 10.

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