Suren Hakobyan’s latest novel, “Void Fate,” is a delightfully dark exploration of the human psyche and the myriad of ways people respond to life or death situations. Suspense is driven more by character development and good use of language than by head-spinning action or non-stop plot twists, making this a decidedly psychological read.
When a group of friends awakens to discover the world they know has vanished overnight, the limits of friendship and sanity are sorely tested as they struggle to survive.
“Void Fate” is well-written, in that Hakobyan creates and maintains suspense using linguistic expression and dynamic characters rather than relying a plethora of hairpin plot twists. His style is relatively simple, yet vibrant language engages the reader and brings the story to life. Extreme and diverse responses to the new world the characters find themselves in manage to remain realistic and drive a stimulating narrative. Rather than becoming a garish focal point, as they might in a less subtle, monster-centric horror novel, Hakobyan uses the ‘demons’ mysterious nature as a catalyst for his characters, effectively building tension and conflict. The best and largest twist was saved for the end of the book, both satisfying the reader’s need to understand the world, and providing a stunning ending.
It is worth noting that some hard-core feminists may take offense to how women are portrayed in this novel – generally as weak and helpless victims of male aggression. The slow nature of certain parts of the book, particularly in the beginning while the characters try to determine what’s going on, may be a bit difficult for some to get through. However, the ability to remain engaging through scenes that favor introspection over action is, in my mind, one of the things that demonstrates the author’s writing skill. Ultimately, the typographical errors (slightly above what I would consider average in an e-book) were the least satisfactory element in “Void Fate,” frequently interrupting the reading flow.
Using a style of suspense reminiscent of some of Stephen King’s better short stories, Hakobyan creates interest and mystery throughout, “Void Fate,” and though not without its weaknesses, it is well worth the read. I definitely recommend this book to any who want to enjoy a highly psychological, lightly supernatural suspense novel.
Amanda King – Nov. 2020