A YA dystopian sci-fi/fantasy adventure, the second volume in Lingane’s Tesla series, which mashes up the cyberpunk and steampunk subgenres.
Humanity has been forced into one last city, swamped by refugees and besieged by an endless army of cyborgs and dragons. The city and its Steam Academy are being rebuilt from previous battles, but the influx of new people, new buildings and new ideas has created a rapidly changing landscape for these final battles of survival. Young Sebastian and Melanie are Teslas—humans with paranormal abilities attuned to electrical fields—who have fought to protect humanity while searching for Sebastian’s lost mother. Now they prepare to go on a mission to fight the deadly cyborgs on their home turf while old and new friends prove to be unreliable and things grow murky and complicated. Seb and Melanie also find new feelings in their friendship, even as the struggle intensifies and the enemy launches its new weapons, the sullivans: “They’re over fifteen feet tall, with arms to their knees, muscles upon muscles, and they’re covered in some special armor that makes them impervious to EM attack.” While assuming readers are familiar with the setting from the first book, this volume proceeds straight into action. That’s only a minor issue in this entertaining, fairly well-written story that will have readers eager to turn the page to find out what happens next. Dialogue is crisp, pacing is strong, and despite its generally grim tone and flashes of violence, the story is dotted with touches of humor. Seb and Melanie are fun, personable teens whom readers can identify with and enjoy. The cyborg enemy is somewhat reminiscent of TV’s Cybermen and Borg species—a hive of human beings merged with machines and controlled by a central computer—which embody fears of zombielike conformity and personal oblivion. However, there’s more going on here than a revamp of fan favorites, and the story closes on a cliffhanger, preparing readers for the next novel, Faraday.
Entertaining journeyman chapter in an ongoing epic.