Warning, warning! This review contains spoilers! It’s also going to make more sense if you’ve already read the book!
I picked up up Micro on a whim. I knew of Michael Crichton, but had never read anything up him. Besides, it was on sale. It seemed like a win-win.
Micro follows the story of seven graduate students. Peter, under the impression that powerful CEO has arranged his brother, Eric’s, death, goes after said CEO. Vin Drake doesn’t respond to this too kindly, and shrinks Peter, the other graduate students, and an employee, down to a size that is smaller than an insect’s. Desperate to get back to their normal size, they struggle through the Hawaii’n forest. But the students are essentially easy prey in this new world, and Vin Drake will not rest till they are all dead.
It follows the same formula as many other stories of its genre: each student gets picked off… one by one. So while I was scared that the sci-fi element would put me off this book, I was soon thoroughly enjoying it.
I liked reading about all the students as they battled giant bugs and whatnot. I thought it was fun and exciting. And, much to my surprise, I actually really enjoyed the characters. I liked that Peter became brave enough to take on a leadership role, that Danny was revealed to be a total butthole when he let Jenny die, that Karen and Rick had an undeniable chemistry the entire way through.
But can we just talk about the deaths for a moment? I mean, it’s not like I expected everyone to make it through alive, but some of deaths really upset me. …okay, only one death really upset me. So, the students are basically in the mess because Peter believes that Drake has killed his brother, Eric, right? When I realised that Eric was actually alive? And then when Peter died? Honestly, I almost lost my mind. It was also when Peter died that I realised that anyone was fair game. It became much more exciting to me. I’d always assumed that Peter, if anyone, was going to make it out alive, so his death made the rest of the book feel more unpredictable.
In regards to the plot itself, I’ll admit that I could take it or leave it. Like I said before, it’s very typical of its broad genre. A few people are in a scary situation, and some of them die. The ins and outs of it all don’t really matter, do they? But all the bug stuff was super interesting. I mean, I was cringing the entire time and desperately trying not to imagine it (ew!), but it felt new to me. I’ve done the shark-invested waters, the dinosaurs, the abandoned house… bugs? Not so much.
I’ve since looked up a few reviews, and was surprised to see that a lot of people really hated this book. Like, hated it with a passion. People hated Preston’s voice in the novel, they hated the plot, they hated the characters…
I didn’t have such problems. I really liked a lot of the characters. Karen and Rick? I thought they were a super cute couple. A bit predictable, maybe, but cute all the same. Sure, the characters weren’t super developed. But there were quite a few of them… and it’s a novel fewer than 400 pages that’s more guided by a sense of adventure than character. For a novel of its kind, the characters were distinct enough for me.
My major qualm with this book was that the major villain, Vin Drake, had no real motive other than greed. And I know! I know. That’s a legitimate motive. People kill for money. But it’s also the most boring motive, in my opinion. I mean, come on. Surely we can do better than that?
So overall, I ended up really enjoying this book. A bit formulaic and simplistic, I can see why some people didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, but I just thought it was a really fun read. I thought the characters were cool and had interesting relationships with each other and I totally loved the concept. All in all, I’m super glad that I picked this up and can’t wait to hunt down more of Crichton’s works.
Did you enjoy Micro? Or do you think it pales in comparison to Crichton’s other works?