For those who like their science fiction dense, monumental, and a bit overwrought.

READ REVIEW

IRON GOLD

Brown is back with Book 4 of his Red Rising series (Morning Star, 2016, etc.) and explores familiar themes of rebellion, revenge, and political instability.

This novel examines the ramifications and pitfalls of trying to build a new world out of the ashes of the old. The events here take place 10 years after the conclusion of Morning Star, which ended on a seemingly positive note. Darrow, aka Reaper, and his lover, Virginia au Augustus, aka Mustang, had vanquished the Golds, the elite ruling class, so hope was held out that a new order would arise. But in the new book it becomes clear that the concept of political order is tenuous at best, for Darrow’s first thoughts are on the forces of violence and chaos he has unleashed: “famines and genocide...piracy...terrorism, radiation sickness and disease...and the one hundred million lives lost in my [nuclear] war.” Readers familiar with the previous trilogy—and you'll have to be if you want to understand the current novel—will welcome a familiar cast of characters, including Mustang, Sevro (Darrow’s friend and fellow warrior), and Lysander (grandson of the Sovereign). Readers will also find familiarity in Brown’s idiosyncratic naming system (Cassius au Bellona, Octavia au Lune) and even in his vocabulary for cursing (“Goryhell,” “Bloodydamn,” “Slag that”). Brown introduces a number of new characters, including 18-year-old Lyria, a survivor of the initial Rising who gives a fresh perspective on the violence of the new war—and violence is indeed never far away from the world Brown creates. (He includes one particularly gruesome gladiatorial combat between Cassius and a host of enemies.) Brown imparts an epic quality to the events in part by his use of names. It’s impossible to ignore the weighty connotations of characters when they sport names like Bellerephon, Diomedes, Dido, and Apollonius.

For those who like their science fiction dense, monumental, and a bit overwrought.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28591-6

Page Count: 624

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.

THE ANDROMEDA EVOLUTION

Over 50 years after an extraterrestrial microbe wiped out a small Arizona town, something very strange has appeared in the Amazon jungle in Wilson’s follow-up to Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain.

The microparticle's introduction to Earth in 1967 was the disastrous result of an American weapons research program. Before it could be contained, Andromeda killed all but two people in tiny Piedmont, Arizona; during testing after the disaster, AS-1 evolved and escaped into the atmosphere. Project Eternal Vigilance was quickly set up to scan for any possible new outbreaks of Andromeda. Now, an anomaly with “signature peaks” closely resembling the original Andromeda Strain has been spotted in the heart of the Amazon, and a Wildfire Alert is issued. A diverse team is assembled: Nidhi Vedala, an MIT nanotechnology expert born in a Mumbai slum; Harold Odhiambo, a Kenyan xenogeologist; Peng Wu, a Chinese doctor and taikonaut; Sophie Kline, a paraplegic astronaut and nanorobotics expert based on the International Space Station; and, a last-minute addition, roboticist James Stone, son of Dr. Jeremy Stone from The Andromeda Strain. They must journey into the deepest part of the jungle to study and hopefully contain the dire threat that the anomaly seemingly poses to humanity. But the jungle has its own dangers, and it’s not long before distrust and suspicion grip the team. They’ll need to come together to take on what waits for them inside a mysterious structure that may not be of this world. Setting the story over the course of five days, Wilson (Robopocalypse, 2011, etc.) combines the best elements of hard SF novels and techno-thrillers, using recovered video, audio, and interview transcripts to shape the narrative, with his own robotics expertise adding flavor and heft. Despite a bit of acronym overload, this is an atmospheric and often terrifying roller-coaster ride with (literally) sky-high stakes that pays plenty of homage to The Andromeda Strain while also echoing the spirit and mood of Crichton’s other works, such as Jurassic Park and Congo. Add more than a few twists and exciting set pieces (especially in the finale) to the mix, and you’ve got a winner.

A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247327-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With every new work, Jemisin’s ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

THE FIFTH SEASON

From the The Broken Earth series , Vol. 1

In the first volume of a trilogy, a fresh cataclysm besets a physically unstable world whose ruling society oppresses its most magically powerful inhabitants.

The continent ironically known as the Stillness is riddled with fault lines and volcanoes and periodically suffers from Seasons, civilization-destroying tectonic catastrophes. It’s also occupied by a small population of orogenes, people with the ability to sense and manipulate thermal and kinetic energy. They can quiet earthquakes and quench volcanoes…but also touch them off. While they’re necessary, they’re also feared and frequently lynched. The “lucky” ones are recruited by the Fulcrum, where the brutal training hones their powers in the service of the Empire. The tragic trap of the orogene's life is told through three linked narratives (the link is obvious fairly quickly): Damaya, a fierce, ambitious girl new to the Fulcrum; Syenite, an angry young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor and who stumbles across secrets her masters never intended her to know; and Essun, searching for the husband who murdered her young son and ran away with her daughter mere hours before a Season tore a fiery rift across the Stillness. Jemisin (The Shadowed Sun, 2012, etc.) is utterly unflinching; she tackles racial and social politics which have obvious echoes in our own world while chronicling the painfully intimate struggle between the desire to survive at all costs and the need to maintain one’s personal integrity. Beneath the story’s fantastic trappings are incredibly real people who undergo intense, sadly believable pain.

With every new work, Jemisin’s ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-22929-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Orbit/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more