Danger! Romance! Library ambushes!
On the heels of their last adventure (Black Hole Sun, 2010), Martian freedom fighters Durango and Vienne infiltrate an evil government compound in search of missing data they hope will render the planet safe from future harm. This companion novel is packed with Gill’s slick, snappy trademark dialogue; the two heroes and Durango’s artificial intelligence advisor who’s cloned in his brain speak mostly in well-wrought, Han Solo–like wisecracks. There’s also plenty of action, including death-defying escapes, ambushes and hair-raising shootouts. Amazingly enough, the body count, however, is much lower than in the first novel. Where humans dropped like flies (and were, on occasion, eaten) in the first installment, here romance replaces a considerable chunk of the action. Most notably, there is a long-winded, meandering visit to Vienne’s monastery home, where bees are tended and tea leaves are read (and Vienne and Durango realize their romantic destiny). Not soon enough, the enemy attacks and Durango and Vienne are off to fight, again. The plot goes haywire from here, and Gill apparently throws in just about every plot device and twist he can think of to get to the end.
A weirdly tepid, stop-and-start mess of a sci-fi thriller. (Science fiction. 13 & up)