The Gone World is a narratively complex book mostly due to being heavily involved with time travel, or time loops or alternate timelines, but also with added intricacies in the shape of echoes and shadows (identical people from alternate timelines) cropping up and complicating things. Needless to say that I did at times struggle with following what was going on.
Tom Sweterlitsch’s style does take a little getting used to but as you read more you get overtaken by the events and forget about the slightly awkward writing style. That being said, the misplaced epilogue aside, the central character of Shannon Moss is a well fleshed out, competent and wholly interesting and intriguing character. Alongside her accompaniment of supporting characters who, due to the nature of the story are never the same character as the book progresses, we are introduced time and again provide vital advancement of the plot, whilst also being throw-away.
The mystery/investigative premise of the book is absolutely fantastic and plays out increasingly well as the book progresses. Some of the imagery elements described and the amazing sequences had me enthralled and I felt completely immersed in this world (I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t optioned for some kind of adaptation at some point. And a quick google finds that Neill Blomkamp is apparently adapting this and is “in development”). Even with the mind bogglingly complicated time juggling, it does work really well alongside some more down-to-earth, procedural happenings.
The Gone World, if you can get a grip on the time travel mind-bending, is an interesting and impressively imagined book. Expect to have to do a little work to get into it, but once you do it is worthwhile.