SPSFC Book Review: “The Jagged Edge” by AJ Frazer

The Jagged Edge by AJ Frazer

I read the first 20% of The Jagged Edge as I sampled each of the books for my group. When I got to that cutoff, I felt a bit at a loss. I was intrigued by the concept: Dominic Elliston has moved from a war correspondent to a media mogul. He can travel wherever he wants, do whatever he wants, and be with almost whomever he wants. But when he comes into contact with Victor Sagen, an environmental terrorist bent upon vengeance, his life gets much more complicated. At 20%, I was just getting to the point where Sagen and Elliston met up. Honestly, I’m glad I continued. I wasn’t sold on the story at that stage, but it’s right at that part that it starts to get going.

Sagen is a complicated genius, and his backstory initially seems trope-filled but heartfelt. The scene in which you get his backstory and the reason why he is on a quest for revenge through ecological terrorism is a huge high point in the book. It gripped me and didn’t let me go. I was absolutely invested. And AJ Frazer, the author, rides that high for the rest of the book. I don’t say that in a negative way. What I mean is that it is very difficult to decide whose side you’re on throughout the novel. And then there’s another moment in the novel that makes it all come together in a different way. The main plot is quite well done, though it does take a bit to get going.

The plot involves quite a bit of hand-waving about how programs, hacking, and computer worms work (in one case, almost literally as Elliston powers through a discussion of the technical intricacies about worm vs. virus by basically saying “whatever, you know what I mean”). I honestly didn’t mind that, because I could see most people who are focused on getting the big story being much more interested in the big picture impact than in the details. On the flip side, it’s hard for a non-expert like myself to evaluate how believable these portions of the novel are. Is what is at stake truly possible? I don’t know, but I do know I was invested enough to care quite a bit throughout.

There are some negatives here, though. For one, while there are women characters, they largely fade into the background. The plot is almost entirely dominated by Elliston and Sagen. Another downside is how long it takes the main plot to get going. Elliston as a media mogul/crack reporter is difficult to believe at times because we don’t see him doing much actual reporting apart from interviewing. Some of the plot is suspiciously easy to resolve, but part of that seems the hopeful bend it takes towards the end.

Overall, The Jagged Edge is a good read with a thrilling story that kept me more engaged the farther in I got. I would recommend it to fans of thrillers and/or science fiction about climate change.

Score (a score out of 10 is required for the SPSFC Rules to help us determine which books are moving on): 7/10

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