Top critical review
Oh so disappointing!
Reviewed in the United States on April 1, 2022
I was hoping for a good novel about The Manhattan Project and WWII, which is what the cover seems to promise.
However, "The Half-Life of Ruby Fielding" is not a good novel.
First and foremost, the writing is substandard. Sentences are awkwardly, sometimes unintelligibly constructed. (e.g., Page 20: “Now, her body betrayed her by showing how easily its comfort was thwarted.”) Words are misused. (e.g., Page 28: “The hackles on his neck rose.” Dogs and birds have hackles, humans don’t.) Descriptive adjectives and adverbs are overused. (e.g., Page 30: “However, coming from those particular scarlet lips, the message felt more like a rusted blade meant to give you a terminal case of tetanus.”) Some sentences are melodramatic (e.g., Page 22: “If a person could roar quietly, Will did. ‘Wake. Up.’ The walls nearly shook from his command.” And Page 23: “Maggie knew what it felt like when death was a better option than living.”)
Plus, there are historical errors. The story begins in October, 1942. Twice, references are made to how main character Will, an American, should be fighting in France. However, there were no Americans fighting in France in 1942, the first year of US involvement when most American action was in the Pacific and Europe was still mostly an English and Russian affair.
Finally, I found the main characters decidedly odd and neither interesting nor likable (one attempted suicide and another seems almost phobic about commitment and/or involvement with other humans.) In any event, their actions and motivations seemed contradictory and confusing. I got as far as page 40 and gave up.