Daimones by Massimo Marino
Think you’re having a bad day? Yesterday Dan lost his job after being made surplus to
requirements and being told he was no longer needed. Today he woke up to find he and his family could well be the only survivors left on the planet after an extinction-level event occurred whilst they were sleeping. Faced with a new reality in which they might just be alone, Dan and his family attempt to adapt and survive but two questions remain....why did they survive and what happens now?
I seem to be reading a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction of late this. All rather appropriate seeing as how the Mayans have quite nicely predicted our demise for sometime around December of this year! It is true, that with the end of the world supposedly just around the corner, there does seem to be an abundance of these kind of novels around. So how does this latest novel compare?
Well quite favorably actually. Daimones begins with an ordinary day for Dan, much like any other. Even when he is fired, he doesn’t take it badly as he was starting to get disillusioned with his work as a Software Programmer anyway. He returns home, we are introduced to his family, they go to bed...and then, the next morning, they awake to the unthinkable. And, to start with, that is it. There is little explanation, and none is needed because all we know is what Dan and his family know, but what this novel does do next and does well is ask, “so, what happens now?”
The answer is try and get back into as much of a routine as possible whilst searching for possible survivors. That is where this novel really succeeds because everything that happens for the next two-thirds of the novel is realistic, down to earth and very, very believable! I found myself asking what I would do, would I do anything differently and analyzing what my own reaction to such an event might be. Would I cope as well as Marino’s protagonists here? I would like to think so but, in all honesty, probably not!
I loved the early part of this book and thought it brilliantly conceived, well thought out and the plot wonderfully structured. What I didn’t like was the authors need to try and explain everything that comes in the final chapters of the book! This final segment kind of let everything down and left me feeling cold. I am not going to give anything away but as soon as Marino starts building the foundations for an explanation, the book begins to take a turn for the worse and it almost begins to feel like two separate stories that have been forced together. Until now, what the author has written has been good and, had he left everything up in the air, what the reader would have walked away with was a very post-modern and highly enjoyable new take on post apocalyptic survival. Unfortunately, Marino decides to go a different route and instead what we are left with is a kind of diatribe into new-age, meta-physical clap-trap that kind of spoils all the good work that has come before.
Like I say, compared to a lot of other similar themed fiction floating around right now, this DOES compare quite favorably. I honestly even thought that it would end up being as good if not better than some of the best post apocalyptic stories I have read of late. For me though, it was just the ending that brought this all crashing back down to earth! If I could rate the first two-thirds of the book only, I would give this 4 stars. As it is, I am afraid the disappointing
ending reduces it to three stars.