Book Review: The Ferryman

The Ferryman
by Justin Cronin

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Sci-fi

Proctor Bennett is a ferryman on the somewhat utopian island of Prospera; his job is to guide people through retirement when their digital monitor says it’s time. But when his own number starts to dip, he knows he’s not ready. Worse yet, he’s started to have some strange dreams, though dreaming shouldn’t be possible. Then he’s tasked with retiring his own father, who says some cryptic things on the way to and at the ferry. Meanwhile, some of the less privileged citizens of Prospera begin to express their dislike for their forced place in society. When all of this comes to a head, the island will never be the same.

I quite enjoyed this book overall. I’ll admit it developed slowly, but there was enough intrigue to keep me curious and coming back to it often. I had my theories, but since I tended to switch from one theory to another, I can’t really claim to have been completely correct in my guesses by the end. The conclusion was tied up pretty well, with a full explanation given, but at times along the way, I found myself seriously lost. The overall feel and style of the book reminded me a lot of Fahrenheit 451. Proctor was mostly a sympathetic hero, but I don’t think there was a whole lot of substance to him through most of the book. 

The book starts out in present tense, then switches between present and past throughout the book. I never did figure out if there was a pattern to that, so I really don’t understand the decision to write it that way. And by the end, though I said it was tied up pretty well, there were a few things, somewhat large but not glaring, that were left unexplained. I wasn’t left with the feeling other books of the type, where the reader isn’t meant to even understand what is going on with the world until part way through the book, have left me with, the feeling that I can’t wait to read it again knowing the truth, to see how things fit together. Maybe that means my guesses were actually close enough that I didn’t feel completely thrown when the truth was revealed. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the ride. If you enjoy cryptic sci-fi stories of vaguely dystopian futures with something of a twist, you’ll probably like this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about The Ferryman

See what I’m reading next.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!