Readers will enjoy the twists and unpredictability of the truly original plot of Jay D. Gregory’s The Webster Nexus. An improbable story that is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s classic American Gods, Gregory takes readers through a series of events surrounding the idiosyncrasies of one strange man living in anonymity in the middle of Kansas. As the story progresses it becomes apparent that sometimes even quiet events happen as part of a larger purpose.
Four characters emerge as central not only to the story, but also to each other, creating a bond that continues to develop through the last page of the book. The four are quirky and entirely relatable, and the reader cannot help but become empathetic to their various struggles, and invested in their fates. The alternating narrative of the duo protagonists highlights the unique similarities – and differences – the two share in a charming and natural way. The relationships are natural, and the dialog often takes on a banter-like quality that draws the reader further into the story.
The best aspect of this novel could also be seen as its weakest. Gregory blends many themes together in a complex pattern, addressing some in passing while lingering on an unexpected combination of others. This leaves readers guessing and engaged throughout the story, but some might find the resolutions lacking, and connections explained vaguely by human characters struggling with their own limited understanding of the situation. The characters themselves are very quick to accept their incomplete interpretations, which in itself is confusing, considering that two of them are professional scientists.
Regardless of whether the reader is left wanting for explanations or not, the undeniable philosophical tint of this novel will leave them pondering the story for some time. I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. Gregory keeps the pace flowing in a way that will appeal to YA enthusiasts. The multitude of ideas and themes makes this book appropriate for a large audience, and open to a multitude of interpretations. I would recommend this book for a book club, as it will undoubtedly lead to interesting discussions.
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