Title: The Darwin Elevator
Author: Jason M. Hough
Genre: Science Fiction
Blurb: In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator—created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders—emits a plague-suppressing aura. Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped—along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma—to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity.
My Thoughts: As I live in Darwin, Australia, how could I not read THE DARWIN ELEVATOR, and for someone who freely admits he has never been to Darwin author Jason M Hough hasn’t done a bad job with the place names and how they all connect. The first book in the Dire Earth Cycle series, THE DARWIN ELEVATOR introduces the reader to earth in 3,000 years’ time; not a nice place to be living. Action packed from page one there is more going on than just the struggle to survive. The hero is named Skyler Luiken, an immune, who is able to walk in the plague ridden areas without a Hazmat suit – anyone else who leaves the protection of the Darwin Elevator catches the plague in minutes and becomes a raving mindless subhuman within hours. Skyler is the captain of the Melville, a ship capable of traveling great distances to locate resources for his crew to scavenge for money. Skyler’s name though – come on – Luke Skywalker anyone? So Star Wars-ish!! Unfortunately, once I learned the name and made a mental connection I found myself getting quite picky to the rest of the story – which was probably unfair to Hough. There are three main habitats – those who live clustered together in the plague free bubble that surrounds the elevator, the scientific hierarchy who live in space habitats that are attached to the top of the elevator and the rest of the world. The two main groups need each other to survive, the space habitat provides food and the Darwin settlement provides oxygen and water. This is a good start, and the reader knows that it is all going to go belly up. Then the story starts to splinter up into quite a few different threads and found myself frantically trying to keep up with the connections, and who was who and what was what. I don’t cope well with multiple storylines and it left me unable to concentrate on getting to know individual characters and what made them tick. There is action, humour and skulduggery but I just felt that it was missing something, the world Hough has created is very good, the imagery is wonderful, I just needed more depth to the characters. The entire Dire Earth Cycle trilogy is being released back-to-back, THE DARWIN ELEVATOR was out first in July, and is followed by The Exodus Towers in August and The Plague Forge in September. I am hoping that the rest of the series will ease up just a little on the action front and start some character building.
Rating: D – Average. Was better to read than to do the housework.
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With thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Del Rey Spectra and the author via Netgalley.