Review: Halcyon by Catherine Fitzsimmons


Halcyon is the name of a virus that is infecting cybernetic implants that have for several generations been used not only to enhance how a person looks, but also to improve their quality of life by eliminating genetic diseases and disorders. That is the premise of the novel, and its setting is a generic multi-level metropolis in America that has been placed under quarantine to prevent possible outbreaks of Halcyon beyond the city.
Whilst the setting and premise of the novel is generic cyberpunk, it is still original enough to merit attention. The story is told from multiple character point of views, but is centred around Elya, a girl that holds the key to destroying Halcyon but is suffering from amnesia, and Zander, a former soldier who has brought together a disparate band of people to tackle Halcyon.
However, the story is marred by clumsy sentence structures, missing words and lazy plotting. The entire story could have easily been told from Elya’s and Zander’s POV, but Fitzsimmons has instead brought in other viewpoints, presumably to flesh out the characters back stories. The problem is that none of the characters, besides Elya, have a story arc of their own to develop them into anything beyond being literal NPCs (non-playable characters) that actually serve as little beyond providing a backdrop for Elya’s story. Each chapter is inter-cut with a flashback to something that happened in the past, which gives the reader a bit more background to who Elya is and how the other characters have become involved in the fight against Halcyon. Instead, these flashbacks slow down the plot and fail to add a substantial reason beyond vague notions of each having lost someone to Halcyon at some point.
Overall, I was disappointed with this book. The hope that it would improve or somehow makeup for the major flaws in the plot was never realised. Therefore, I have no choice but to rate this with a generous 2/5. **

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