Mine, by Brett Battles
In the deep woods adjoining a summer camp for kids there’s a fenced off area with signs prohibiting entrance. It lures seven campers for a midnight investigation. They cross the wires, enter an abandoned office building, and find a blocked door that they manage to jimmy. Something happens but only three of the seven return, with no memory of what happened and substantial time loss.
What happens to the three who survived and how, in later life, they are drawn together to investigate the strange happenings fills the rest of this very interesting book. Two of the survivors, Joel and Leah, find that they’ve developed exceptional skills. Leah has developed tremendous strength and speed. Joel wakes with bruises everywhere on his body that quickly disappear. He has learned that these are the marks he will leave on people who are abusive to others. Leah and Joel both have a tough emotional time dealing with their new powers, but the third survivor has been placed in an institution for the insane.
Brett Battles set an excellent pace in the book as the mystery of who or what altered their lives is gradually revealed. It’s contemporary sci-fi that reads like a good horror story. In fact the line between the genres is blurry at best. The entity underground has plans for the earth and the three, once united, have to confront the cause of the destruction of their lives, both as retribution and to halt the progress of that entity.
The characters are well formed and likeable, even the highly damaged Mike, the third survivor. The narration focuses on one character in each chapter switching between Joel, Leah, and even “The Reclaimer” which allows for a building of tension and pulling the reader along without revealing too much too early. As it stands, what the Reclaimer is and its purpose never becomes clear until the very last chapter. And while Battles brings the story to a full conclusion there’s ample room for a sequel which is, apparently, the subject of Mine: The Arrival which I’ll be looking for and adding to my reading list.
A fun book for any sci-fi fan or fan of writers like Stephen King. Well written and exciting with excellent action and a well-formed relationship among the three main characters.