ARC BOOK REVIEW: The Ferryman by Justin Cronin

Publication Date: May 2, 2023
Format: Kindle
Genre:  Dystopian Sci Fi 

Publisher: Ballantine Books 
 530 pages
Buy: Kindle | Audio


Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh. 

Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process—and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he’s been dreaming—which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.

Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group—known as “Arrivalists”—who may be fomenting revolution. 

Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized—and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through I am leaving this review voluntarily. 

This was a fascinating dystopian story. Prospera has two citizens the have's and the have nots.  The have "retire" at some point when their happiness levels drop and are then reborn as teenagers to live again and again.  The Have nots are the worker bees of Prospera, they keep the community running, they are for lack of a better term, the help. 

Proctor Bennett is a Ferryman, his job is to take people to the ferry to "retire" most of the time this goes smoothly but sometimes it doesn't. His life hasn't been going well and Proctor is dissatisfied with his marriage, his job and life in general.  He has been dreaming and his wellness meter keeps dropping. After an alarming and unfortunate incident at the Ferry Pier he starts wondering if there is something more happening around him.  Things just don't seem right.  His dreams are becoming more vivid and he has made the acquaintance of a young girl who he feels connected to. 

Things quickly speed up after this and I can't do much more than say hang on for the ride.  This book was not what I was expecting and what ultimately is going on is so much bigger than I expected. Fascinating story and great world building. 

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