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When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an aste When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an asteroid impact generated more than a billiontimes the energy of an atomic bomb. What would happen to Earth’s seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur? Ben and his indomitable girlfriend Amy Kowalski fly to South America to assemble an international counteraction team, whose notable recruits include Love Mwangi, a UN interpreter and nomad scholar, and Zhen Liu, an extraordinary engineer from China’s national space agency. At the same time, on board a polar icebreaker life continues under the looming shadow of comet UD3. Jack Campbell, a photographer for National Geographic, works to capture the beauty of the Arctic before it is gone forever. Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil, struggles to accept the recent murder of his beloved twin brother. And Maya Gutiérrez, an impassioned marine biologist is — quite unexpectedly — falling in love for the first time. Together, these men and women must fight to survive in an unknown future with no rules and nothing to be taken for granted. They have two choices: neutralize the greatest threat the world has ever seen (preferably before mass hysteria hits or world leaders declare World War III) or come to terms with the annihilation of humanity itself. Their mission is codenamed The Effort.


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When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an aste When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an asteroid impact generated more than a billiontimes the energy of an atomic bomb. What would happen to Earth’s seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur? Ben and his indomitable girlfriend Amy Kowalski fly to South America to assemble an international counteraction team, whose notable recruits include Love Mwangi, a UN interpreter and nomad scholar, and Zhen Liu, an extraordinary engineer from China’s national space agency. At the same time, on board a polar icebreaker life continues under the looming shadow of comet UD3. Jack Campbell, a photographer for National Geographic, works to capture the beauty of the Arctic before it is gone forever. Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil, struggles to accept the recent murder of his beloved twin brother. And Maya Gutiérrez, an impassioned marine biologist is — quite unexpectedly — falling in love for the first time. Together, these men and women must fight to survive in an unknown future with no rules and nothing to be taken for granted. They have two choices: neutralize the greatest threat the world has ever seen (preferably before mass hysteria hits or world leaders declare World War III) or come to terms with the annihilation of humanity itself. Their mission is codenamed The Effort.

30 review for The Effort

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I really enjoyed this book! I decided to read this book simply because it sounded interesting. I liked the idea of people coming together to save the world and there is some of that in this book. This book is more than that though. I really felt like it was a realistic view of what would happen on our planet if we knew that annihilation was a real possibility. I really liked the way this story came together and found this book to be This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I really enjoyed this book! I decided to read this book simply because it sounded interesting. I liked the idea of people coming together to save the world and there is some of that in this book. This book is more than that though. I really felt like it was a realistic view of what would happen on our planet if we knew that annihilation was a real possibility. I really liked the way this story came together and found this book to be both entertaining and thought-provoking. This book is told from many points of view and I think this style of storytelling was very effective for this particular story. We get to see how people in different areas are dealing with the crisis. Each character's story helps to paint an overall picture of what was really happening in the world. We meet Ben who is a scientist who has been put in charge of the plan to try to destroy the comet heading towards earth. Love is an interpreter who helps to make it possible for scientists from all over the world to work together on this mission. Zhen is an engineer from China who shows real leadership just when it matters the most. Jack is on a Coast Guard ship as a photojournalist, while Maya is on the same ship as a scientist. Each character felt really authentic and I liked the fact that we often learn more about their past after getting to know them in their present. This is a rather bleak story at times. I thought that the author did a fantastic job of painting a picture of just how far people will go when they are desperate. In this story, we see some people at their absolute worst and others sacrificing everything in order to give the world a chance. The descriptions within this story were incredibly well done and vivid. I really felt for some of these characters as they faced impossible odds and terrible situations. I would recommend this book to others. There are some rather graphic scenes that may be too much for some readers but I thought that it was very well done and realistic. I found this to be a book that was rather hard to put down at times and I am glad that I decided to take this journey. I definitely plan to read more of Claire Holroyde's work in the future. I received a copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Heska Wanbli Weiden

    I was fortunate to get an early copy of this book, and I'm happy to share what I wrote about it--do yourselves a favor and pick this book up. Page-turner of the year! In the grand tradition of Stephen King’s THE STAND, Pat Frank’s ALAS, BABYLON, and J.T. McIntosh’s ONE IN THREE HUNDRED. Call it a techno-thriller, call it apocalyptic fiction—I call it great writing. This is an important and provocative novel, one that should be read by all who care about the future of the planet and humanity’s rol I was fortunate to get an early copy of this book, and I'm happy to share what I wrote about it--do yourselves a favor and pick this book up. Page-turner of the year! In the grand tradition of Stephen King’s THE STAND, Pat Frank’s ALAS, BABYLON, and J.T. McIntosh’s ONE IN THREE HUNDRED. Call it a techno-thriller, call it apocalyptic fiction—I call it great writing. This is an important and provocative novel, one that should be read by all who care about the future of the planet and humanity’s role in its preservation. Claire Holroyde is an exciting new voice in modern fiction, and we’re lucky to have this stirring and fully imagined book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: A thought-provoking tale of survival, The Effort raises interesting questions about life in the face of impending disaster. The Effort is an ambitious debut about a comet that is hurtling towards Earth and the team of scientists who are tasked with stopping it. There are all sorts of directions you can take with this type of scenario, and I have to say that The Effort surprised me and did not go where I thought it was going. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, and I enjoyed Hol The nitty-gritty: A thought-provoking tale of survival, The Effort raises interesting questions about life in the face of impending disaster. The Effort is an ambitious debut about a comet that is hurtling towards Earth and the team of scientists who are tasked with stopping it. There are all sorts of directions you can take with this type of scenario, and I have to say that The Effort surprised me and did not go where I thought it was going. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, and I enjoyed Holroyde’s take on it, although there were a few negatives for me, mostly due to the story’s structure and focus. For those readers who enjoy lots of "science" in your science fiction, there are plenty of details to keep you happy, but this is mostly a high stakes, human story about the emotional effects of a possible extinction event. The story follows several main characters in different parts of the world. One day, a “dark comet” is discovered, a rather large one, in fact, and soon scientists conclude that it will hit Earth in less than a year. The size and speed of the comet, called UD3, suggest that unless it is stopped, Earth and its billions of lifeforms will be destroyed when it hits. NASA sets up a base of operations in South America—nicknamed "the Effort"—where scientists from all over the world convene to work nonstop until a solution is found. Leading the team is Dr. Benjamin Schwartz from NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. Ben arrives in South America with his girlfriend Amy, and along with hundreds of other team members, they immediately get to work building a spacecraft that will intercept the comet and destroy it.  Halfway around the world, the Arctic icebreaker Healy is embarking on its final expedition. Jack Campbell is a photojournalist who is lucky enough to be on board, but his excitement is tempered by the news of the approaching comet. Once the ship is underway, Jack meets a woman named Maya, and they begin a romantic relationship, but what sort of future will they have if the end of the world is coming? Love Mwangi lives in New York with her girlfriend Rivka, but she must leave Rivka behind when she’s asked to work as an interpreter for the Effort. Rivka finds herself alone and facing a terrifying future: as the months go by and panic and terror over the impending fate of the planet set in, the streets fill with gangs and looters, and food becomes scarce. And Zhen Liu is a talented Chinese engineer with a big secret. As the days slip by and the Effort realizes they are running out of time, Zhen reveals that the answer to saving the planet could be stashed in a Chinese cargo plane, if only they can get to it. The clock is ticking, and the future of Earth hinges on a select few with the knowledge and ability to stop the comet. I found this to be a fascinating and thought-provoking look at a “what if” scenario: What if a massive comet were to strike the Earth? Rather than focus on the event itself, which is what I was expecting to read about, Holroyde takes a look at how people might react to the impending disaster. We get to see reactions from several different groups of people. First, the Effort team is closest to the danger, as they understand first hand just what’s happening. Most of them stop sleeping and try to work around the clock, only taking catnaps when they really need to. This starts to affect their mental health, of course, and the focused group dynamic they have starts to break down. From Rivka’s point of view, we witness what’s happening “on the ground” with civilians, as panic sets in and people’s survival instincts kick in. In a matter of months, food has virtually disappeared due to looting and food production shutdowns, and people begin dying of starvation. Even worse, gangs are roaming the streets and breaking into homes and killing people for their remaining food. It’s the type of apocalyptic scene you’d expect to see in a horror movie, but Holroyde makes it feel like a real possibility. Then you have the crew of the Healy, who appear to be cut off from everything, and yet they are feeling the panic as well. The captain of the ship must make some tough choices that will affect everyone on the ship. There’s also a brief section that deals with the International Space Station and the crew who end up being trapped there. I won’t tell you the reasons behind their fate, but I thought this was one of the most heartbreaking sections.  Holroyde creates an almost unbearable tension as the story progresses, a sort of slow burn that makes the reader uncomfortable for various reasons. You have the political tension of the Effort, where fraught relationships among Americans, Chinese and Russians must be carefully navigated, but because time is running out, they have to work out their differences quickly. And then there is the day-to-day survival scenario where people are starving to death and even turning to cannibalism in order to survive. These sections had more of a horror feel to them, especially when Rivka and a man from her apartment building are trying to get to Harlem from Manhattan. Finally, there are the quieter moments when people realize that they are separated from their loved ones and will probably never see them again. That horrible feeling of not knowing whether someone is alive or dead and not being able to do anything about it really struck a chord with me. But as much as I enjoyed the thoughtfulness the author put into her story, I felt at times it was overly ambitious and crumbled in places under the weight of too many ideas and characters. I have to admit I didn’t like Ben at all—he’s almost a caricature of an over-the-top mad scientist—and this worried me because his character seems so important in the beginning. Some of the characters’ stories simply dwindle away without any resolution, which was frustrating. I especially wanted to know what happened to Rivka (she ended up being one of my favorite characters), but after an exciting scene where she’s almost killed by militia, we never really find out what happened to her. Jack and Maya are also forced to run for their lives, but again, their fate is never really stated. And I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. Holroyde jumps ahead in the future to show the lasting effects of the comet on civilization, and although I loved this idea, I'm not sure how well it fit with the overall story.  Ultimately, The Effort focuses on human behavior and how people come together (or don’t) in the face of a global crisis, and I think the author did a great job tackling such a big story. I found Claire Holroyde’s ideas intriguing, and she certainly gave me a lot to think about. Don’t pick this up expecting a sci-fi thriller filled with non-stop action (although don’t get me wrong, it does have its moments!), but if you are a reader who appreciates the emotional implications of the end of the world, I think you’ll enjoy this too. Big thanks to the author for providing a review copy. 

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. - Carl Sagan I loved this book. In many ways it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite apocalyptic novels THE HAB THEORY, published in 1976. In this book, an extinction-level comet measuring 8km in diameter appears from the dark side of Jupiter, heading directly for Earth. A veritable army of physicists, mathematicians, engineers, space experts, translators and more are sent to a space centre in French Guiana to try to develop a spacecraft that Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. - Carl Sagan I loved this book. In many ways it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite apocalyptic novels THE HAB THEORY, published in 1976. In this book, an extinction-level comet measuring 8km in diameter appears from the dark side of Jupiter, heading directly for Earth. A veritable army of physicists, mathematicians, engineers, space experts, translators and more are sent to a space centre in French Guiana to try to develop a spacecraft that will either destroy the comet or divert it from its path towards Earth. There are many side stories included in this novel, allowing us readers the chance to try to understand the terrible effects news of this calamity would have on the world way before it is scheduled to impact. I enjoyed the many characters in this story and their contributions to The Effort, the name given to the overall project. The story is frightening because it feels like it could actually happen. I received this book from Grand Central Publishing through Net Galley in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Jeng

    The gorgeous cover on this one snagged my attention right away. Basic summary: a comet is on a collision course with Earth, and a team of scientists, engineers, and other professionals assembles in order to redirect or destroy it. But this debut addresses much more than just The Effort, which is the code name given to the massive undertaking to save humanity. This is a big book, with a large number of characters providing insight into issues such as climate change, exploitation and genocide, and The gorgeous cover on this one snagged my attention right away. Basic summary: a comet is on a collision course with Earth, and a team of scientists, engineers, and other professionals assembles in order to redirect or destroy it. But this debut addresses much more than just The Effort, which is the code name given to the massive undertaking to save humanity. This is a big book, with a large number of characters providing insight into issues such as climate change, exploitation and genocide, and government corruption. Certain characters stand out more than others, but one of my favorite aspects of the novel is how people from a variety of cultures come to an understanding and respect of one another and become family. Real talk, THE EFFORT got a whole lot darker than I thought it would. From the synopsis and the classic “rocket demo using mundane objects” scene near the beginning, I was expecting something more like THE MARTIAN where everyone pulls together to accomplish a humanity-saving objective. However, Holroyde gets deep into the brutal, selfish, and very utilitarian behavior that might result when every civilization on earth breaks down simultaneously. She also shows us several examples of kindness and connection, but frankly, I’m not sure she’s wrong to be pessimistic about human nature, at least of the majority. No spoilers, but a major theme of this book is how humanity can destroy itself just fine without any help from the cosmos. The book ends on a somewhat optimistic (or at least not completely despairing) note, but I’ll be thinking about it for some time (and updating my personal apocalypse plan). THE EFFORT is not an easy read, but it continues a great tradition of science fiction interrogating our current issues.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Scott Hines

    The Effort is a beautiful and thought-provoking book that deserves a place alongside the very best world’s-end fiction; it seeks to understand who we are by considering how we might end. The story follows an interwoven set of stories as the world grapples with the discovery of an eight-kilometer-wide “dark comet” that, if not stopped, will likely annihilate all life on Earth in a matter of mere months. A fractured world scientific community desperately plans a last-ditch effort to divert the proj The Effort is a beautiful and thought-provoking book that deserves a place alongside the very best world’s-end fiction; it seeks to understand who we are by considering how we might end. The story follows an interwoven set of stories as the world grapples with the discovery of an eight-kilometer-wide “dark comet” that, if not stopped, will likely annihilate all life on Earth in a matter of mere months. A fractured world scientific community desperately plans a last-ditch effort to divert the projectile, while political and social order collapses around the world as a result of the seemingly-inevitable end. It’s hard science fiction that takes a wholly realistic and believable approach in considering an Extinction-Level Event; it’s the thinking person’s Armageddon, and I mean that in the best possible way. It reminded me in no small way of Carl Sagan’s Contact, a book I love dearly for its steadfast embrace of humanity balanced with cold scientific possibility. The story goes to fascinating places that I did not expect, weaving a complex story through the lenses of a disparate set of richly-drawn, well-considered characters, each with their own important viewpoints, motivations and fears.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    The Effort by Claire Holroyde is a science fiction fantasy novel set in a near future timeline when it’s discovered that a extinction level event is coming in the near future for the planet. An eight kilometer wide comet is heading straight for Earth which could result in an impact along the lines of that which wiped out the dinosaurs from Earth. The book follows the paths of many different participants as they prepare for the arrival of the comet. From scientists who are working frantically for The Effort by Claire Holroyde is a science fiction fantasy novel set in a near future timeline when it’s discovered that a extinction level event is coming in the near future for the planet. An eight kilometer wide comet is heading straight for Earth which could result in an impact along the lines of that which wiped out the dinosaurs from Earth. The book follows the paths of many different participants as they prepare for the arrival of the comet. From scientists who are working frantically for a solution to divert the comet to regular families finding the end is near the story jumps from story to story all around the world including as far as the space station and the astronauts. For me as a reader I usually find myself becoming completely immersed in doomsday scenarios on the pages of a book however with The Effort I felt that I never really got to that point. I think for me there was just too many points of view to follow to really become invested in their individual paths which led to a disconnect from the overall doom. It all just felt a little too familiar in concept from other novels and without truly caring for individual characters this became a so-so story to me. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  8. 5 out of 5

    M.J. Kuhn

    I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book and let me tell you guys, you do not want to miss this one. I read almost the entire thing in one day, I could not put it down. THE EFFORT is by far the most real-feeling disaster event book I have ever read. First of all, I cannot even imagine the amount of research Holroyde must have done for this story. Not just the science, but the politics and the cultural information present in the story. THE EFFORT takes a wholistic view of a disaster, not a " I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book and let me tell you guys, you do not want to miss this one. I read almost the entire thing in one day, I could not put it down. THE EFFORT is by far the most real-feeling disaster event book I have ever read. First of all, I cannot even imagine the amount of research Holroyde must have done for this story. Not just the science, but the politics and the cultural information present in the story. THE EFFORT takes a wholistic view of a disaster, not a "we're all in this together let's all save humanity in a 90 minute blockbuster film" kind of view. This story takes into account not just humanity's capacity for brilliance and bravery in the face of disaster, but also our tendencies toward selfishness, nationalism, and a whole host of other uglier beasts that would surely rear their heads in a situation like the one in this book. The story of THE EFFORT centers on an extinction-level threat to humanity - a comet. We get to hear the story from a number of different points of view, varying across a number of cultures and situations, giving the reader access to a wide range of reactions and predicaments, from the astronauts trapped on the ISS, to people on a secluded research ship in the Antarctic, to the poor souls stuck in a panic-stricken New York City, to the scientists and experts trying their damndest to save humanity and stop the comet. After I finished this book I had to sit and stare at the wall for a good five minutes, just processing. It is a poignant, unapologetic, and sometimes too-real exploration of the nature of humanity when threatened with extinction. If you read this story (and you should), I promise that every single character will grip your soul and not let go, and I promise that by the time you flip that last page, you will want to hug your loved ones just a little tighter.

  9. 4 out of 5

    J.S. Dewes

    A smart, authentic tale about humanity, friendship, and survival, THE EFFORT offers a unique and unexpected take on apocalyptic fiction that will stay with me for years to come. I fell in love with every one of the characters, each alluring and relatable in their own way. The diverse locations and circumstances of each perspective give the reader a sweeping yet intimate look at the collapse of society as seen first-hand from those living it. THE EFFORT takes a hard look at issues of internationa A smart, authentic tale about humanity, friendship, and survival, THE EFFORT offers a unique and unexpected take on apocalyptic fiction that will stay with me for years to come. I fell in love with every one of the characters, each alluring and relatable in their own way. The diverse locations and circumstances of each perspective give the reader a sweeping yet intimate look at the collapse of society as seen first-hand from those living it. THE EFFORT takes a hard look at issues of internationality, corruption, climate change, rural-urban interdependence, morality, interpersonal relationships, and so much more. The story takes routes I didn’t expect, and the surprises continue through to the very end, making this a page-turner you’ll want to clear your schedule for. In short, I absolutely loved this beautifully dark, realistic look at how society might cope with an imminent extinction-level event. Highly recommend! Thank you to the author and Grand Central Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Margaretta

    This is a thoughtful and thought provoking novel. It is far from simplistic, but easy to read with welcomed moments of levity, and much of it will stick with me for quite some time. The opening lines drew me in, and then Claire Holroyde's characters had me hooked, rooting for them and consequently all of "us." The race against the comet's impending impact is the acute tension throughout the novel, commanding the world's attention, but not far under the surface is Holroyde's commentary of the no- This is a thoughtful and thought provoking novel. It is far from simplistic, but easy to read with welcomed moments of levity, and much of it will stick with me for quite some time. The opening lines drew me in, and then Claire Holroyde's characters had me hooked, rooting for them and consequently all of "us." The race against the comet's impending impact is the acute tension throughout the novel, commanding the world's attention, but not far under the surface is Holroyde's commentary of the no-less-deadly race against our own impact on the planet. Each character could be a book in their own right (and I wish I had more time with them but this book would be too long), and bringing them together in this intense story added a breadth of diversity and dimension to an already deep (and deeply researched) story line. The interwoven themes and stories of the book make for a lot to keep track of -- dark comets, climate change, societal fractures, political tensions, international agencies, the military -- but through it all there are still many moments of intimacy with each character's personal thoughts and experiences. And that's one of the beautiful things about this book. In the broad spectrum of humanity's darkness, these characters each remind us of the light that can be found.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aristotle

    I was rooting for the asteroid. This was nothing Dull and uneventful. A bad exacta. The plot was all over the place. The scenes in Alaska were a total waste of time. The characters had no personality or sense of humor. Where was Michael Clarke Duncan's 'Bear'? Steve Buscemi's 'Rockhound'? Bruce Willis' "Yippee ki-yay". Ok different movie but still. "What kind of damage are we..." "Damage? Total, sir. It's what we call a global killer. The end of mankind. Doesn't matter where it hits. Nothing would s I was rooting for the asteroid. This was nothing Dull and uneventful. A bad exacta. The plot was all over the place. The scenes in Alaska were a total waste of time. The characters had no personality or sense of humor. Where was Michael Clarke Duncan's 'Bear'? Steve Buscemi's 'Rockhound'? Bruce Willis' "Yippee ki-yay". Ok different movie but still. "What kind of damage are we..." "Damage? Total, sir. It's what we call a global killer. The end of mankind. Doesn't matter where it hits. Nothing would survive, not even bacteria." "My God. What do we do?" 'The Effort' to finish this book was taxing

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    The Effort by Claire Holroyde is a highly recommended apocalyptic tale that starts with an end-of-the-world-by comet scenario and morphs to a novel about human nature. When the 8 km dark comet UD3 was spotted on a trajectory to hit the Earth one of the first people recruited by the U.N. to help with what will be called The Effort is Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. He and his girlfriend Amy Kowalski are flown to French Guiana in South American to help as The Effort by Claire Holroyde is a highly recommended apocalyptic tale that starts with an end-of-the-world-by comet scenario and morphs to a novel about human nature. When the 8 km dark comet UD3 was spotted on a trajectory to hit the Earth one of the first people recruited by the U.N. to help with what will be called The Effort is Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. He and his girlfriend Amy Kowalski are flown to French Guiana in South American to help assemble a team of experts to neutralize the extinction threat. One of the brilliant scientists assisting is China’s Dr. Zhen Liu. The gifted and intelligent UN interpreter Love Mwangi also joins The Effort. The large team is fighting against time and sleep deprivation in order to try and prevent an extinction level event. At the same time a Coast Guard polar ice breaker is traveling is traveling north right as the comet is discovered. On board is a group of marine biologists, including Maya Gutiérrez, who are collecting scientific data.. There are two additional passengers invited on the mission. Jack Campbell is a photographer for National Geographic who is tasked with capturing the beauty of the Arctic before it disappears and Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil who is expected to write about the experience. The quality of the writing in The Effort is excellent and the novel is well pace to create an increasing sense of tension and danger as the novel progresses. While the pull to read the novel is the end-of-the-world comet, the overwhelming themes become less disaster scenario and more focused on the panic and subsequent breakdown of civilization, as well as the failings of human nature and morality. The novel alternates between following the scientists of The Effort in French Guiana, the other notable main characters, and a myriad of other minor characters. Naturally, the character development was slightly lacking simply because of the sheer number of characters and the limited pages. The Effort almost needed another hundred plus pages to fully develop the characters and follow all their story arcs to the end. Thankfully we do get to follow several characters into the future, but, alas, not all of them which I would have preferred. Everyone loves a good disaster novel and The Effort fits the bill. There were a few little niggling details that detracted from an otherwise excellent novel. Holroyde didn't stop herself from including little details, personal opinions, and comments in the narrative that point to the novel being penned in 2018-19. It's always better to leave very current political controversies out of a novel in order to give it some longevity, especially in light of a subsequent pandemic hitting before publication. I have enjoyed many apocalyptic novels over the years and most of them I could easily reread and note that only technological advancements date them to being penned years or decades earlier. (My review copy was downloaded at the beginning of June.) There were also a few characters that we didn't get some closure on and the focus of the narrative sort of switched mid-novel and became more social commentary. But, these were little qualms that most people will easily overlook. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Grand Central Publishing http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2021/0...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    Probably 3.5 rounded up. I felt the writing was strong throughout, but the ending was a bit of a letdown. Definitely not something you should read if you're especially sensitive to realistic "end-of-the-world" scenarios given the current state of the pandemic. It was nice that it was set in present-day but it went out of its way to never mention the name of the curr- FORMER President (ooo, I can say that because it will only be inaccurate for 48 hours, what a lovely thing to say) Probably 3.5 rounded up. I felt the writing was strong throughout, but the ending was a bit of a letdown. Definitely not something you should read if you're especially sensitive to realistic "end-of-the-world" scenarios given the current state of the pandemic. It was nice that it was set in present-day but it went out of its way to never mention the name of the curr- FORMER President (ooo, I can say that because it will only be inaccurate for 48 hours, what a lovely thing to say)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Forrister

    "The Effort" is a fantastic example of apocalyptic sci-fi. The sweeping global perspectives, told through a diverse set of characters (both of origin and life experiences) creates a very real sense of how individuals might react to a world-ending situation. It's easy to fall into the pessimistic stance of how humanity as a whole could descend into chaos and self-destruction as a foregone conclusion, but Holroyde dissects the reason why that reaction would occur with a thoroughness that invokes d "The Effort" is a fantastic example of apocalyptic sci-fi. The sweeping global perspectives, told through a diverse set of characters (both of origin and life experiences) creates a very real sense of how individuals might react to a world-ending situation. It's easy to fall into the pessimistic stance of how humanity as a whole could descend into chaos and self-destruction as a foregone conclusion, but Holroyde dissects the reason why that reaction would occur with a thoroughness that invokes deeper thoughts, and she doesn't stop there. She also finds elements of hope, love, and courage to maintain faith in humanity's goodness. The timing of this novel couldn't be more relevant. From climate change to governmental struggles, "The Effort" attacks problems to their core and reveals much-needed solutions within the span of a single novel. Every detail feels deeply researched, science and governmental diplomacy included. The fast pacing, vivid settings, and diverse characters all make the story immersive and exciting. I am so grateful to have received a copy of "The Effort" in advance, and I can't wait for others to have a chance to read it soon!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight I find that these days, I enjoy being prepared for all the possible apocalyptic scenarios, as one does. But The Effort went ahead and reminded me that we needn't bother, because human nature is to devolve into chaos and anarchy and frankly, the author is right. This is the commentary that is less hopeful, but more rooted in reality, and I am here for it. The book opens with news of a come You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight I find that these days, I enjoy being prepared for all the possible apocalyptic scenarios, as one does. But The Effort went ahead and reminded me that we needn't bother, because human nature is to devolve into chaos and anarchy and frankly, the author is right. This is the commentary that is less hopeful, but more rooted in reality, and I am here for it. The book opens with news of a comet that appears to be heading toward Earth. A team is to be assembled to try to save mankind, but no one is sure what the chances of success are, even the experts. The Effort, as it is dubbed, brings the best and brightest from all over the world to a base in French Guiana where the great minds will have to work basically nonstop, leave behind everything and everyone they know, and devote what remaining time is left to saving humanity. Meanwhile, back in civilian territory, society is straight up devolving. It's interesting, how humanity would approach such an event. I am not sure if I agree that we'd shut down- I'm more inclined to think that as we have with the pandemic (especially in the United States), we'd remain woefully in denial. Either way, it would be a mess, so the author sure got that right. And in a third locale, scientists and a few artists find themselves on an Arctic sea voyage, trying to study the climate before its gone. I mean, finding out the world may end while you're stuck in the arctic? Not ideal. As you may have gathered, we have quite a few points of view in this story. Some, I flat out loved. Some... I maybe could have lived without? But mostly I found them great. My personal favorite was the female Chinese scientist who is the actual best and also has a cleft lip/palate (I think the author perhaps confused a lip and palate repair, as the latter doesn't leave a scar but the former does, but it's an advanced copy, so I shall digress). Finally, finally, seeing a hero with a cleft instead of a villain, for the win! The female characters are especially strong and well-developed, and I was invested in both what happened to the characters and what would become of humanity as a whole. Bottom Line:  In the end, does it even take a disaster to undo mankind? Or will we just do it ourselves? These are the incredibly thought provoking questions The Effort asks, with a great cast of characters trying to prevent the apocalypse.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elissa Dickey

    This breathtaking book takes you on an unforgettable journey of humanity's last stand against an impending comet. Fans of Station Eleven will devour this masterpiece, which takes readers to the heart of The Effort itself, where scientists from around the world are racing against the clock on the countermeasure, code-named "The Effort." But readers are also shown the heart-breaking, terrifying effects as normal life starts to crumble away for people on the Healy, a polar icebreaker in the Arctic, This breathtaking book takes you on an unforgettable journey of humanity's last stand against an impending comet. Fans of Station Eleven will devour this masterpiece, which takes readers to the heart of The Effort itself, where scientists from around the world are racing against the clock on the countermeasure, code-named "The Effort." But readers are also shown the heart-breaking, terrifying effects as normal life starts to crumble away for people on the Healy, a polar icebreaker in the Arctic, as well as people living in New York City and other parts of the world. Holroyde's masterful writing brings an array of varied characters to life, each with their own voice and own story to tell, so you are fully invested in their relationships - from unexpected love aboard the Healy to unlikely friendships and alliances at The Effort. The novel skillfully touches on themes from climate change to the meaning of home and humanity. And it's that humanity that truly shines through in this phenomenal book. Because time and again, despite the horrors surrounding them, despite the uncertain fate of civilization, you see characters seek out those shreds of humanity, those moments of kindness and companionship in the face of the impending apocalypse; you see each "I" seek out their "we." As one character states: "We... such a beautiful thing, as in, acting together, not alone." The Effort at its heart is a beautiful story of human connection in dark times, and it's a story that will stay with you long after you read the last page.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Maybe this book was a victim of being read at the wrong time for me or maybe I've just read too many similar books over the years but I found it to be derivative and trope-filled. The novel focuses on a scattered cast of characters experiencing the possibility of a comet hitting the earth. It almost feels like this should have been two different books: one focusing on The Effort (the group building the weapon that will deflect the comet from colliding with the earth) and another focusing on the Maybe this book was a victim of being read at the wrong time for me or maybe I've just read too many similar books over the years but I found it to be derivative and trope-filled. The novel focuses on a scattered cast of characters experiencing the possibility of a comet hitting the earth. It almost feels like this should have been two different books: one focusing on The Effort (the group building the weapon that will deflect the comet from colliding with the earth) and another focusing on the characters experiencing the possibility of the end of the world. A few of the characters existing in either group just disappear towards the end of the book and you end up with a quick follow up on the ones that Holroyde deemed worthy of catching back up with in the last chapters. Because there are so many characters in so many settings, we don't really get much character development except to set them up at the very beginning. This is popping up on a lot of 2021 lists and I think it's probably a good read for a lot of people but it just wasn't anything new or exciting to me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claire Holroyde

    Writing this book was the most difficult challenge I have ever met. Yes, I am giving it 5 stars because I just read it again—for pleasure this time—and I am still in love with it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Taylor

    Solid hard sci-fi near-future imagining of life in the eye of an extinction level comet event. The gritty reality of a failing social system and scientific effort of survival is buoyed by strong and complex characters and relationships. The book spools out like a film and grabs you with a fisted grasp. Joy, love, grief, pain, horror and hope all vie for attention as you plunge into a nightmare with these people. Holroyde weaves the narrative of people across the globe and across all levels of ex Solid hard sci-fi near-future imagining of life in the eye of an extinction level comet event. The gritty reality of a failing social system and scientific effort of survival is buoyed by strong and complex characters and relationships. The book spools out like a film and grabs you with a fisted grasp. Joy, love, grief, pain, horror and hope all vie for attention as you plunge into a nightmare with these people. Holroyde weaves the narrative of people across the globe and across all levels of experience and position with a deft hand. This is what sci-fi does at its best: expose humanity in all its grit and glory. Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for a free copy in exchange for this honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Casey Berger

    I got the chance to read an advance copy of this ambitious, compelling debut from Claire Holroyde, and I'm so glad I did. This debut is extremely ambitious -- from the stakes of a looming extinction event to the scope of a very large ensemble cast -- it showcases the hearts and souls of individuals against a backdrop of the very best and the very worst humanity has to offer. The prose is clean and crisp, and the wide, global setting provides some bittersweet context: humanity is scrambling to sav I got the chance to read an advance copy of this ambitious, compelling debut from Claire Holroyde, and I'm so glad I did. This debut is extremely ambitious -- from the stakes of a looming extinction event to the scope of a very large ensemble cast -- it showcases the hearts and souls of individuals against a backdrop of the very best and the very worst humanity has to offer. The prose is clean and crisp, and the wide, global setting provides some bittersweet context: humanity is scrambling to save a world we are already destroying. As Joni Mitchell said, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, and that is on full display in this novel. The large ensemble cast can initially be a bit disorienting, but the book really finds its stride about halfway through. My biggest complaint is that I wanted more time with all the POV characters. With a cast of characters this large, we tend to lose track of some of them as the story progresses, and the time we got with each of them felt like just scraping the surface. Still, it's these small, quiet moments with the characters that are the true gems of this book.  In THE EFFORT, we are forced to confront some hard truths, and some beautiful ones. The earth will be just fine. Life goes on, though it changes radically. It's humanity that is threatened. And yet, while we are sometimes our own worst enemies, there is still something in us worth saving. If you're looking for a darkly optimistic story about humanity facing a world-altering crisis and finding hope and connection in the darkest places, you should pick up THE EFFORT.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane Gilmartin

    I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Claire Holroyde’s THE EFFORT and it is not a story I will soon forget. A fast-paced, sweeping tale of impending planetary doom, the novel manages to be both global in its setting (from The Bronx to the Arctic Ocean to Mexico City to Guiana) and intimate in its characters. As an asteroid hurtles toward Earth, we see the crisis through the eyes of many - from the scientists attempting a solution, to a family already mourning its own losses, to the crew of a pol I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Claire Holroyde’s THE EFFORT and it is not a story I will soon forget. A fast-paced, sweeping tale of impending planetary doom, the novel manages to be both global in its setting (from The Bronx to the Arctic Ocean to Mexico City to Guiana) and intimate in its characters. As an asteroid hurtles toward Earth, we see the crisis through the eyes of many - from the scientists attempting a solution, to a family already mourning its own losses, to the crew of a polar icebreaker in the Arctic, and even from astronauts stranded and abandoned on the International Space Station. Each view of the coming disaster offers an aching glimpse into what stands to be lost: We mourn a final chance for love for an unlikely couple, the future of a little boy, the magnificence of the natural world, and the incredible hope of true global cooperation in the face of impossible odds. All of this is artfully mirrored with the issue of climate change — with the Doomsday Clock ticking relentlessly on every page. At moments the story has you racing to see what happens next. At other times it makes you want to slow down and savor the human connections. THE EFFORT is heart-pounding and heart wrenching all at once. A stunning debut.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    If you are up for an end of the world book this is the read for you. Well-written and engaging, the author takes on some of the current world issues with a sharp pen. Hopefully it isn’t forgotten by the end of the year, because it should definitely make “best of” lists.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Russell

    4.5 rounded up. It’s always a pleasure discovering a new author who has clearly invested so much research, passion and creativity into their debut novel, and The Effort is a wonderful example of this. Without getting into spoiler territory, The Effort examines how humanity might react to an impending global catastrophe. This is not light reading; ‘The Effort’ is a singular effort to preserve the human species, at any cost required. It is an examination of what it is to be human, and how far we wo 4.5 rounded up. It’s always a pleasure discovering a new author who has clearly invested so much research, passion and creativity into their debut novel, and The Effort is a wonderful example of this. Without getting into spoiler territory, The Effort examines how humanity might react to an impending global catastrophe. This is not light reading; ‘The Effort’ is a singular effort to preserve the human species, at any cost required. It is an examination of what it is to be human, and how far we would be willing to go to save both ourselves and humankind. There was only one plot element that felt a bit discordant, hence the 4.5 rating (that being the deus ex machina, which felt just a bit too convenient in the context of when it arrived in the timeline). Besides that, the pacing was good, and we weren’t burdened with exposition up front, with each character explored in depth as the novel progressed and it was time for their story to come to the foreground. Hopefully this is the start of more to come from Claire. Oh, and such a beautiful cover. Thank you very much for the matching bookmark!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Scott Portnoy

    The threat of a world ending comet causes a complete devolution of civilization as we know it... sending the world into a second dark ages. Through it all , there are survivors . The book is about the Effort to divert the comet and the relationships of the people who are left. A captivating book but dark.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Abi-Khattar

    Wow, this book is amazing. The characters are so interesting, you really get invested in their stories. I couldn’t put it down. The details and the way the science is interjected in without being overwhelming is masterful. Definitely recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Brukman

    This is a fast-paced apocalyptic/speculative fiction tale -- I would not call it science fiction -- stuffed with compelling characters who each provide valuable insights on human psychology and the fragility or strength of society at differing time scales. The threat of a comet strike gives a window on the immediate term: Will society tear itself asunder in the span of six months as humanity loses hope? The backdrop of ecological disaster offers a meditation on the long-term: How can society des This is a fast-paced apocalyptic/speculative fiction tale -- I would not call it science fiction -- stuffed with compelling characters who each provide valuable insights on human psychology and the fragility or strength of society at differing time scales. The threat of a comet strike gives a window on the immediate term: Will society tear itself asunder in the span of six months as humanity loses hope? The backdrop of ecological disaster offers a meditation on the long-term: How can society destroy itself even without an external threat? The titular effort to prevent the comet strike focuses on the intermediate term: is the web of international postwar alliances strong enough to hold everything together (and conversely, can national rivalries scupper the whole affair)? It's a well-crafted story that will keep you turning the pages to learn what happens next and give you plenty to think about long after you put it down. Highly recommended. 

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charlie - A Reading Machine

    The Effort is a terrifying book about the realities of life on earth when it is on a collision course with a comet that could destroy all life on the planet. There are a number of pov characters as the event is explored through the eyes of scientists, engineers and astronomers, a wildlife photographer and more, each one approaching the impending disaster in their own way. Some seek to save the world, some seek to profit off it’s inevitable destruction in the little time they have left and some s The Effort is a terrifying book about the realities of life on earth when it is on a collision course with a comet that could destroy all life on the planet. There are a number of pov characters as the event is explored through the eyes of scientists, engineers and astronomers, a wildlife photographer and more, each one approaching the impending disaster in their own way. Some seek to save the world, some seek to profit off it’s inevitable destruction in the little time they have left and some seek to hasten it to that end. We follow the story from the discovery of the meteor to the somewhat predictable solution and then very briefly glimpse the world after the ‘solution’. The characters are interesting and set in the here and now, though most characters seem to be a somewhat extreme representation of the politics in America. If a scientist speaks to someone that is not a scientist you can almost guarantee that person will be an anti vaxxer, someone who doesn’t ‘watch the news’ or someone who foresaw the end coming and has an underground bunker already to go. It’s a little extreme but it also reminded me a little bit of the end of Ender’s Game where the second the Aliens are defeated at the end the humans faction up and start fighting each other. The Effort absolutely holds a mirror up to the division in American society at the moment, though I would have liked to see some more moderate examples of humanity. That being said this feels like an important read and one more people should experience as it really does cover some very relevant issues from enough povs to ensure there is something for everyone. The Effort is a real page turner, sets a good pace and fans of apocalyptic fiction will love it. Personally I would have loved to read a little more about the after as we are only really given a quick taste but I’d much rather be left wanting more than the alternative, maybe we can hope for a sequel! Thanks to Orbit books for sending me a review copy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Muriel

    I want to know more of what happens after!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tonya S.

    I don't know exactly why this book was so riveting, but I found myself not wanting to put it down. The Effort is an apocalyptic novel, a story about a dark comet that's coming to eradicate humanity, and the humans trying to stop it. There are many characters, each complex and so completely real. There are lots of instances in this book that are hard to digest. The ugliest parts of a civilization breaking down. When social norms and morality fly out the window, and the animal inside us all is loo I don't know exactly why this book was so riveting, but I found myself not wanting to put it down. The Effort is an apocalyptic novel, a story about a dark comet that's coming to eradicate humanity, and the humans trying to stop it. There are many characters, each complex and so completely real. There are lots of instances in this book that are hard to digest. The ugliest parts of a civilization breaking down. When social norms and morality fly out the window, and the animal inside us all is loosed. There were parts that I wanted to skip or gloss over, but I didn't. I absorbed the horror, and saw the truth in it. I can reflect on the behavior of my fellow Americans during this terrible pandemic: the hoarding of products, the animosity, the us vs. them mentality. I have seen some of the devolution that a crisis creates, and I believe we shouldn't be blind to what our fellow man is capable of. What we ourselves may be capable of. But this book doesn't just steep you in the nightmare of a world on the brink. It also has pockets of hope and wonder. You feel as if you are there with these people, the ones you're rooting for with all your might. This book gets down to the nitty-gritty. The incredible capacity for kindness and cruelty that lives in the hearts of each of us. It not only entertains, but teaches. For a novel titled The Effort, I found it effortless to enjoy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daren

    I never write reviews, but reading this was trying. I won’t give this a star rating because I didn’t get far enough to make a totally fair judgement, but that being said...this book desperately needed a competent editor. All the characters are one dimensional stereotypes and the language used throughout is trite and cliched. I stopped on page 30 when the Professor “wrapped his cane on the floor.” You mean rapped?? Like, COME ON.

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