Helix Volume 1
Harper Voyager (2011)
Reviewed by Mitenae
Sam’s been investigating Cervantes but when she goes to retrieve her hidden notes she discovers her friend, Dizzy, murdered and her notes gone. She flees to Brisbane and finds Callum, a professional thief, recommended to her by a friend. Hijinks ensure but the whole thing goes belly up when the media has him listed as a suspected terrorist and she’s wanted for questioning into her friend’s murder. When they go back to retrieve the solid gold chalices Callum discovered, hidden in a neighbour’s garage, they’re gone and the bombs in their place explode leaving him hanging between life and death. It is then that he’s given a choice: to help them (Helix) stop Cervantes and prevent him from benefiting from the seventh wave, or die.
This is a debut book from an author still learning a lot about storytelling and it’s clear, in particular, in the characters and the plot.
I found the characters a little flat, boring, stereotypical at times and the women, in particular, a little unbelievable. Selena, for example, had the potential to be an interesting character. But she is hugely under utilised and undervalued. She could be cut entirely from this novel and it wouldn’t make a difference to the story. In one scene, she’s little more than a foil for Cervantes and serves to be mere decoration.
I found the plot far too generic. Callum discovers he was exiled as a young child for safekeeping and has a magical heritage he only just discovers. This is an overused plotline, stereotypical and flat out boring. It does nothing for the story, it doesn’t add to it in any way and it only serves to give Callum a backstory.
But that tends to sum up this entire novel. It is a great world with loads of potential, but the storytelling lacks the skills more writing experience and development could bring to this. In time, Paul Garrety may be a good writer, but this is not the book to judge his ability, skill or talent upon for he is still very much needing to grow and develop.