08 August 2013

The Darwin Elevator

Author: Jason Hough
Series: Dire Earth Cycle #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

This book is a fascinating sci-fi story.  Set in the 2200s, aliens have landed (although, hovered is a more correct term) at Darwin, Australia and created a space elevator to their home ship.  The rest of the planet has been practically wiped out, save the millions that were able to pilgrimage to the safety of Darwin, where people can live in safety in the net of the Aura.  Anyone, save for the few Immunes, who ventures outside of the protected space is turned into a zombie (or SUBS as they are termed).

So, you would think the aliens are the bad guys in this novel.  And yet, throughout the entire book, we never actually make any direct contact with the aliens.  Indeed, the struggle in this novel is almost purely political, a power struggle between different humans.  A fascinating achievement.  I prefer this theme over one of aliens, simply since - while I am a sci-fi fan - I have a hard time with aliens and why they would ever be interested in us.  I read somewhere while making my slow crawl through my galley copy from the publisher a comparison to Whedon's Firefly.  And while I can hardly see many similarities, this human versus human interaction set in the future is certainly a familiar characteristic from Firefly, something that made the show so great as a sci-fi series.

Anywho, enough about Nathan Fillion's space cowboy.  The characters in The Darwin Elevator never even leave Earth's gravitational pull, much less gallivant through space.  The Immunes are a group of scavengers, however.

The plot can be a little dense in places and I never really connected with any of the characters the way I felt I should have.  The length of time it took for me to read this novel, along with the length of the novel itself, probably played heavily into these factors.  Still, the book is interesting and unique pitted against anything else I have read so far.

The book, the first in a series, does leave quite a few loose ends.  But while I am kind of interested in seeing where Hough goes, I don't know if I have the stamina and patience to make it through this series.  Now, if the characters had been more engaging and the plot just a little less political and jumbled in nature, I would almost certainly give it a go.  As for when The Exodus Towers comes out, I will have to see if I continue following Skyler or not. 

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