Disclaimer: This book was kindly sent to me in exchange for an honest review.
Title: 5th Floor Below
Author: Menahem Misgav
Published on: August 2017
Goodreads synopsis: In a highly secured research facility atop Mount Carmel in Haifa, a group of military scientists are involved in space research. Captain Dr. Naama Kashti, a beautiful young Israeli physicist, is exposed to an unknown substance that made her body undergo very lengthy life cycles during a short period of time. Thus begins a futuristic drama about discovering the formula for both the fountain of youth and the well of desolation.
Review: What attracted me to this book was not the plot, but the fact that the characters are Israeli scientists – I got a bit bored of science-fiction novels only featuring American scientists saving the world so I am trying to make a conscious choice to look for diversity in my science fiction readings which is why I accepted this book for review with quite a bit of excitement.
5th Floor Below has the potential of being a great science fiction novel, mixing hard science while also playing with a bit of philosophy, but the pacing and the superficial nature of some descriptions and scenes make me think twice. I think this book has endless possibilities of being great and interesting, yet most of the time the writer seems to choose the worst one!
The novel features good characters – apart from sometimes only describing their physical characteristic which are most of the time way too beautiful and perfect, but from their actions you know these could be great characters, although a bit one-dimensional. What takes from the story is all the scenes that focus either on how good a female character looks or on seeing her naked – there are a lot of saucy scenes, and while I do read erotica in my spare time, it just didn’t mix in well with this story. The science parts and the erotica parts read like two different books. I am sure that there is a way to have sex scenes and science-fiction together, but this book just did not find that way.
If you can ignore those juice moments (or skip them altogether), then you are in for a suspenseful ride full of futuristic hard science and discoveries that make you ponder quite deeply on the meaning of life and on living forever. I do wish the writer would’ve replaced those scenes with more in-depth ideas about how discovering the secret to eternal life would impact us on many levels… or maybe make me care more about the characters so that I would be interested in their dating life as well.
In the end, although a nice science-fiction thriller, the book just wasn’t enjoyable enough to get more than 2.5 stars… I think the writer is unto something, has some great idea, and with more practice and reading their ideas could get the book they deserve.
What do you think it is more important: the idea or how you make it come to life?