Book review: Atonium: A Thread of Existence by J G Maughan

Atonium: A Thread of Existence is a book I was sent to review by the author. In fact, it’s the very first book I’ve been sent to review by an author. It’s a science-fiction novel featuring some fantastic theoretical elements and some engaging discussions about God.

Atonium book review
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Please note that this book was sent to me for the purposes of a review. I do not receive any financial or another gain from posting this review and the review is of my own honest opinion. Also, note that the article contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase Atonium: A Thread of Existence via one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you to support the blog. These links do not affect my final opinion of the product.

Atonium: A Thread of Existence essentially just discusses what could happen if a human being fell through a black hole. I mean, the answer to that is essentially anything but J G Maughan gives us just one example of what could possibly happen.

Plot – 4.5/5

The plot of Atonium: A Thread of Existence is definitely its highlight. Essentially, Insefel, a scientist is working on the hadron collider when it goes wrong and he’s shot through a black hole to another universe in space. Along the way, he meets new creatures, new environments and beings we may well refer to as Gods.

My first note is that the plot does suffer a little from pacing issues. There are moments where reading this was a little difficult as not a lot was happening. There were also moments where so much “science” was thrown at you that it could be hard to visualise what’s actually happening. I found myself reading a few pages a couple of times in an attempt to gauge a real visual representation of the events taking place. However, don’t take this that this book isn’t well written – it is very well written. Things are described acutely, action moments are given just enough amount of detail to allow us to build up a picture of what’s happening without defining the moments too much.

My second note is that as a nerd, I found certain sections of this book utterly enthralling. It features a lot of theoretical science that’s backed up by some clear knowledge of the terminology being used. I didn’t take the time to Google whether many of the large grandiose ideas were possibly true but I think in describing them well and simply, I didn’t need to as the writing style allowed me to just believe they were. The beginning and ends of this book are encapsulating and had me gripped and wanting to pick it up whenever I could. However, throughout the middle, as mentioned above, there were possibly some moments where it felt a little like pages were being filled rather than the story being developed – however, this sort of content is essential to build worlds and characters so I can give it a chance!

Characters – 4/5 

The characters in Atonium were OK. I can’t say they were brilliant as I didn’t fall in love with them, but I also can’t say they were bad as they had clear personalities and were believable until the end.

Insefel himself is essentially offered up as the representation of humanity in this book. Therefore, there was a slight pressure on Maughan to have him show all the pros and cons of humanity. He’s naive but passionate, he’s kind and caring but clinical and cunning. I think my favourite thing about him is that he’s so very flawed – Maughan doesn’t try to write him as this perfect representation of this flawless human being – he loses his temper, he makes unwise decisions but he also approaches new things with care and consideration and is optimistic despite his circumstances.

Without giving away too many more spoilers, there’s another main character who features throughout the book who I think is either written brilliantly or who is written very poorly. I’m going to go with “brilliantly” as the rest of this book is so well tightly done. He is representative of a celestial being, much larger than humans can ever imagine and so writing a being like this whose intelligence, knowledge and understanding of concepts too large for human minds was never going to be easy, to praise to Maughan for doing so.

Atonium: A Thread of Existence summary – 4/5

I was hesitant when I received Atonium. With it being a new author, there’s no guarantee the book will be any good as you’re aren’t getting a book that has been celebrated or is a best seller – it’s new territory for me as I usually only read books that I’ve seen many others recommend. However, I’m so very glad I did. Reading Atonium, I can see Maughan clearly has a talent for writing and an incredibly imaginative mind – in fact, I think it’s worth noting that despite his imagination, he never lets it run away with him. Sometimes when discussing elements as large as are discussed in this book, you can essentially just make up what you want – however, Maughan sets his own rules and own fictional boundaries to allow believable fiction to be written.

It’s well written and wonderfully imaginative. There are some slight pacing issues and the characters could have been better slightly more enjoyable, but these don’t bring the overall novel down too much at all. If you’re a science-fiction fan, pick up Atonium, if you’re someone that loves reading about the potential of humanity, read Atonium, if you’re somebody who likes to read about God-theories, read Atonium.

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