Author : David Walton
Expected Publication : October, 2022
Science Fiction / Thriller / Adventure
To put it bluntly, I greatly enjoyed the story Walton so wonderfully lays out for us here and feel like it was a huge step forward after The Genius Plague. He’s done something here that, while I won’t spoil anything, feels so fresh and exciting in the realm of dinosaurs and archaeology, and I want to read more.
To preface everything here in this review, I was contacted by the author, David Walton, after I reviewed his previous book – The Genius Plague – and asked if I’d be interested in taking a look at his next book ahead of it’s release. The subject line alone had me interested as he wrote “Dinosaurs, not Fungus”.
I was sent an ARC(Advance Readers Copy) of this book and in return I was asked to give another honest review of the book, like I had done with The Genius Plague. He wanted the good and the bad, and I agreed. While I love being a voice of positivity and helping authors boost the hard work they’ve poured themselves into, my FIRST priority is to you and giving you my honest thoughts on a book so you know if it is something you feel you may want to check out. I’m not interested in writing nothing but promotional marketing pieces that make everything sound like the best books ever. So with that, let’s get to my thoughts on Living Memory by David Walton.
Right off the bat I could feel this story was flowing much better than the last. Sure, there was plenty of science involved, but it didn’t feel overwhelming like The Genius Plague could be at times. On the whole, this story seemed to fly by much faster, maybe it is just my own personal preference as who doesn’t love a good dinosaur story?
The story follows a few main characters, Samira and Beth who are American Archaeologists on a dig site in Thailand and Kit who is a Thai Archaeologist working with/for Samira and Beth. They become the main focus of this story, well aside from the dinosaur remains they are uncovering that is.
You see, this dig, this site they have discovered, is unlike anything seen before. It’s a brand new species of dinosaur and it seems like there is something truly special about this find. I’m not going to say more because it’s a wonderful layer to this story that I want you to experience for yourself.
All of this is happening as the existing government in Thailand is in turmoil, there is a hostile takeover in process, and Samira, Beth and the rest of their American team are suddenly in real danger as they are viewed as spies for the CIA and being forcibly detained.
In the interest of keeping things super spoiler free here, I want to just talk about a few aspects of the book that stood out to me.
First is the much quicker pace of the story. This adventure seems to fly by when compared to The Genius Plague, maybe it’s the subject matter that helps that some, but I suspect it’s more that Walton is becoming more and more comfortable with his style and voice. While it wasn’t quite a break-neck pace that you’d find in some of the murder-mystery thrillers for example, it’s a really quick read and the story had me hooked. I needed to know where it all was going!
Second, the premise of this story was a perfect balance of science mixed with fantasy. What I mean is that it’s all rooted in science which makes it feel believable, while the fantasy side brings you just far enough down the path to leave you wondering “what if?”. I won’t say much more about this side as, like I mentioned earlier, I want you to enjoy this reveal for yourself. But I really enjoyed the premise and the science happening behind it left it all feeling grounded in a place where it seems entirely plausible.
But that brings me to the third point, which is my only real knock on this book. We have 2 different stories happening within, one being the sci-fi dinosaur discovery side which feels like a great adventure, and one being the military/government clashing and espionage side which at times felt almost like I was reading a totally different story. By the end of this book, it all makes much more sense, but for large sections of this book the two feel pretty disconnected from each other and I found myself leaning more towards one side of the story than the other. Thankfully, the two stop feeling like individual stories and come together nicely by the end, but it IS something that you may find a bit jarring as you embark on this adventure.
I’d urge you to stick with it though, as Walton brings it all together beautifully. From what I understand, this is the first of a planned trilogy, and I can’t wait for the next two books!
If you grew up loving films like Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park, I think you’re going to really enjoy this book. It’s a terrific blend of sci-fi/fantasy adventure and tense political/espionage/action thriller and Walton has put together a rock solid twist on the archaeology/dinosaur side that is so incredibly fun. The leap that he has taken from The Genius Plague to Living Memory shows that Walton is a name every sci-fi fan should probably pay attention to.
I highly recommend you add this one to your watch list and make sure to grab a copy once it is released this October. If it wasn’t for the slightly disjointed feel of the two parts of the story through the early part of this book this would have edged up to a 5 star read for me. The story was still greatly enjoyable and well worth the adventure!
Living Memory by David Walton gets 4 out of 5 stars.
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