A dramatic story of escape, survival and trust, Kyra Johnson
May 3, 2022
Black Spiral is the final book in Eileen Merriman’s science fiction trilogy. After escaping the Spiral Foundation’s evil clutches once again, Violet and Johnno are trying their best to stay hidden and safe, because it’s no longer just them they have to keep from the Foundation, but their unborn child. A baby which could potentially have abilities like Violet and Johnno, something the Foundation is very interested in. The two of them will do anything to keep each other and the baby safe – but who knew that would be so hard?
Due to the conditioning, Violet has panic attacks every time she thinks or goes near her parents. Sessions with her psychiatrist seem to be helping with it, though, until she decides to stop going because she realises the Foundation is watching her there. Soon after, she meets Alice Wang, a junior doctor willing to help Johnno and Violet. Can she be trusted?
The two of them stay at the house of Jerry Murphy, a doctor working for the Apollo Project. They are also reunited with Rawiri Sullivan, a virally-optimised friend they believed to be dead or captured again by the Foundation. While Rawiri is busy developing his new video game, Eternity II, Violet starts to travel in her dream-flow in more worrisome ways. In order to keep Johnno and Rawiri safe, Violet gives herself up to the Foundation. Johnno is devastated, and despite being told not to, decides to go after her anyway. As Violet proceeds in her pregnancy at the Foundation, Johnno forms a plan with some allies and makes his way to her. In a final showdown between good and evil, Violet and Johnno are finally free – but at a heartbreaking cost.
The most relatable part of the book for me was the friendship between the characters and the impact of a virus. In Violet and Johnno’s world, M-fever makes Covid-19 look like the common cold. For us at the moment, the world is learning to live with the pandemic and return to a sense of normalcy. Again, who knew it would be so hard and take so long? The social, political, economic and environmental impacts the virus has caused are significant. They demonstrate humanity’s tendency for destruction, but also display a global unity in the face of a common problem. This unity is needed to solve more issues beyond the pandemic. I think Merriman plays with this idea much more towards the end of the book, where Johnno and Violet start to use their virally-optimised abilities in medical research and other fields, once the Foundation has been exposed. I think the idea behind Black Spiral is much like the other two books in the trilogy: trust, perseverance and stopping to think about the impact of your ambitions.
Ever since the end of the second book, Black Wolf, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the trilogy to arrive – and it proved to be a satisfying read and finish to Johnno and Violet’s suspense-filled story of escape, survival and trust. Merriman did a great job with the characters – their personalities, the plot, suspense and symbolism throughout the book, and of course, the trilogy overall. I liked the pace, chapter length and also the sneaky inclusion of the problems we face today or are predicted to in the future, such as global warming. I actually had to reread a few pages here and there in the book because so much had happened! I give this book 4/5 stars and recommend it to readers aged 14+ who like to read about telepathic abilities and the near future, mixed in with a bit of drama!
- Kyra Johnson lives in Greymouth