Still Life – Isobel hart

two star
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Fiction
Publisher: Livi Shaw Solutions Ltd

A woman must discover the meaning behind a new virus affecting men before there are too many infected for them to be stopped.

When Samantha Davis and her boyfriend are involved in an accident, on the same day a new virus is identified, his recovery appears to be a miracle. Until he turns on her.
Determined to understand the changes in him, Sam joins with others to uncover more about the virus. But soon the knowledge they gather poses a threat. The infected men want to stop them. And soon.
Resolving to meet the threat head-on, Sam prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself caught between two worlds; still caring for the man she once loved, as her affections grow for another, while fearing for her life and the lives of all women. As the net closes in on her, she must decide whose life is more important.

I requested Still Life on Netgalley after seeing it in the science fiction/fantasy section. Unfortunately, Still Life is barely a science fiction novel. Rather, it’s a romance novel with science fiction elements while also trying to tackle pro-life/pro-choice questions.

Still Life’s opening chapters set up an interesting premise with great character work and writing. The reader is introduced to Samantha, an energetic woman faced with a tragedy that changes her life. Her desperate search for answers while trying to solve the mystery as to the changes of her boyfriend’s personality is riveting and full of intrigue. Unfortunately, once the mystery is solved (and it’s solved rather quickly and from out of nowhere) the novel devolves into an attempt at creating something thought provoking. Instead, Still Life is a poorly written romance novel with science fiction elements that tries to be something thought provoking, but is, ultimately, a failure.

The most interesting aspect of his novel is glossed over with little to no time spent exploring the science. Still Life has the opportunity to be an interesting science fiction novel had Hart decided to focus less on the romance. The little science that is present within the novel is unbelievable in its presentation. Science in novels does not have to be 100% accurate, however the author has to be convincing in their writing. Hart is unable to accomplish this style of writing, so instead she relies on the romantic elements of the story to move the plot forward. Unfortunately, the direct the novel goes is incomplete and just plain weird.

The last portion of the novel devolves further into a drama filled romance while trying to tackle the pro-life versus pro-choice debate. Hart tries to accomplish this through introducing a plot similar to The Handmaid’s Tale where procreation is the ultimate goal and fulfilled by any means necessary. Samantha becomes a very passive character to the horrific events unfolding around her and even mercilessly judges the other women present. Samantha is an annoying and hypocritical character that I couldn’t stand reading.

Overall, Still Life was not what I expected it to be in the worst ways possible. The novel is so promising in the beginning that it’s even more of a let down once it concludes.

**I received an ARC via Netgalley for an honest review.

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