Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After reading many of the negative reviews on Goodreads, it looks like people picked this up expecting cerebral Hard Sci-Fi, a la "Contact" or "Blindsight," and what they got was Hollywood action, a la "Sphere." Expectations were blown to smithereens. The science is glossed over and half-baked, while the focus is on sex and action--and psychology, although the exploration of that psychology may be on the shallow Hollywood side of things.
Personally, I liked "Sphere," and I liked "Fluency" for the same reasons. A group of humans are the first people to enter an unknown spaceship and make contact with something that affects them in strange ways. It may give them powers. It may kill them. It affects each person differently, and they need to figure out why. The people swiftly get tested to their psychological limits.
Maybe this ought to be classified as Sociological Sci-Fi. Whatever the classification, I read it within a day, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
To me, the worst quality of this story was an abrupt ending that left too much unaddressed. I love a great series, but I'm unsure where these characters are going, or what their goals are, and that's not good. This series doesn't seem to have a clear path. I'd feel more confident about it if The Swarm was more believable and well-defined ... but (view spoiler on Goodreads)
Due to those grievances, I never got fully immersed in the story. However, this was a very fun, light, and easy read, with a style reminiscent of Michael Crichton. I had a good time! The plot had several surprise twists which kept me smiling and turning pages. I may pick up the sequel, depending on reviews.