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Dina Santorelli
The Reformed Man
From the author of the bestselling thriller Baby Grand comes the heart-pounding story of a man who had no future. Little did he know, the future of humankind would be in his hands. Rising tides. Rising temperatures. Rising fear. Since the Great Shift killed millions worldwide twenty-five years ago, humankind has been bracing itself for a second cosmic catastrophe called the Great Purge, which is expected to extinguish most of what is left of civilization. One of the only viable means of escape—and hope—comes from a program created by "The Great One," Icelander Benedikt Rafnkelsson. His company, Future Comm, owns the rights to a time-travel portal, and Rafnkelsson is vowing to save a select number of young, healthy, high-achieving "Candidates" so that they can travel to the future and rebuild the human race. Grady Smith has spent most of the last sixteen years preparing his brother, Kenny, for the Candidate program. Brilliant and athletic, Kenny is a local superstar. However, when Kenny fears he may fail a final health exam, he convinces Grady to secretly take the exam for him. That decision sets off a chain of events that puts the brothers on the wrong side of the law, and sends them hurtling into a future that looks nothing like what Rafnkelsson has promised.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Starting with an intriguing prologue, Santorelli establishes a captivating set of circumstances: a catastrophic event devastates Earth and a portal serves as the only escape from future cataclysm. Santorelli integrates timely discussions of environmental threats, global pandemics, and social discord, while offering believable sci-fi worldbuilding. 

Prose: Santorelli's writing style is immediately engrossing. Despite the complexity of the events, the author blends thoughtfully presented exposition with character interactions. Readers will become quickly acclimated to the 'new normal' she explores.

Originality: While some aspects of the story pay homage to past works of sci-fi, The Reformed Man distinguishes itself through its unique setup and relatable conflicts.

Character/Execution: Santorelli introduces a broad cast of characters--from the morally dubious central figure hailed as a visionary hero, to the young men faced with an uncertain future, or none at all. Though the shifts between characters' viewpoints can be somewhat disorienting, the various perspectives effectively coalesce.


Date Submitted: May 26, 2023