Afterimage by Naomi Hughes
5 Stars (and some more…)
Figuring out the genre AFTER I started reading (yes this was a bad attempt at a bad pun)
As always this review is going to contain spoilers.
I follow Naomi on twitter and had been lusting after this book for a long time. Despite reading the blurb and following Naomi I honestly had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect a sci-fi adventure. I know I know, the blurb on Goodreads actually says “In a race where the fabric of time and space is at stake, they must figure out who caused the explosion before the culprit comes back to finish Camryn―and her city―off for good.” I should’ve known but whatever. I saw that there was a possible ghost and grief/death so I went for it.
I loved this book. I loved Camryn’s complicated relationship with Kyle. I loved the representation of panic disorders and issues of anxiety. I loved the little loving nods to all the various sci-fi shows and films that Hughes loves (I love a lot of them too, to be honest).
I liked that she was clear how debilitating anxiety can be but it is still possible to function and that even after dealing with huge events the anxiety and dark thoughts can still be there, it’s just finding a different way of dealing with that anxiety.
I used to find making phone calls unbelievably stressful. I know this is a common problem for people so you might not be surprised by this. I often found it so hard that if I couldn’t email or maybe text I would just not engage and lose out on certain opportunities or wouldn’t get support I needed but could only get access to on the phone. I have found ways around it. I still struggle with it at times but I have techniques and ways of dealing with it now. I can use the phone now; this helps my life immensely. The anxiety is still there, it still causes problems but I can deal with it. That particular part of my anxiety is manageable.
I love Kyle. Many of you will know I’m currently doing a re-read and first edit of my own novel that has a really important sibling relationship itself so it was really great to read this sibling relationship.
I loved that in a way, Cam was dealing with the loss of Kyle before she ever really lost him. For Cam, the fact that Kyle isn’t really there during her hospital stay and recovery; it feels like she’s lost him already. Of course, she doesn’t know the whole story at that point in terms of her Mom being a suspect but it doesn’t stop her feelings of loss and betrayal being real in the moment.
As you all know by now I tend to cry at any book I read – it’s actually rarer that I don’t cry as opposed to when I do. So of course it’s not surprising that I cried. I loved Kyle from the start; I loved how much he loved Camryn regardless of everything. I loved how similar he was regardless of any timeline. I was sobbing the second time he died. When Cam got to hold him and see him slip away. When he showed how much he loved her in that tiny little exchange when they’re both covered in blood. I especially love his last words of the book, not even looking at Cam – and it would seem without caring until:
“If you break her heart, I’ll kill you,” Kyle calls lazily
Kyle is by far my favourite character of this book.
The way Naomi managed to merge issues of anxiety with Cam dealing with the grief of her mum, then Kyle’s death is really wonderful. Where does the trauma of a mental illness end and the trauma of losing a parent or sibling begin?
Yes, as it turns out this is a sci-fi novel, written by someone who is clearly a sci-fi fan herself. But it’s so much more too. It’s falling in love; it’s losing everyone who makes you, you; it’s finding them again; it’s dealing with your own mind and what happens when your own body betrays you.
Put simply, I loved it. Go read this book.
See you in the future! ♥