Monday, May 13, 2013

Jason M. Hough: The Darwin Elevator

Jason M. Hough is out with his debut novel that mixes sci-fi and post-apocalyptic genres, where humans are forced to either live in the city of Darwin or in the orbit above the city and there is more than one person that would like to control it all:

It is the mid 23 century and the city of Darwin is the last safe haven for human civilization on Earth. The wealthy and influential have migrated to the orbits around the Earth to escape the uncivilized ways and corruption that have taken over Darwin. The human race has been reduced to scavengers getting what they can from beyond the walls of Darwin. There are a few people who have been determined to be immune to the disease that ravages just past the walls of Darwin and they are willing to risk their life for much needed supplies. Beyond the wall there are people who have reverted back to a more primal stage and within Darwin and in the skies greed and corruption run at a high. Skylar and his crew attempt to navigate on the fringe of this new world, but a series of events and scavenger runs are going to pull Skylar into the middle of everything and the fate of the human race may just be left up to him.

Sci-Fi is not where I normally read but I was really interested in the premise that was presented for within this book, a post-apocalyptic technological world. I was completely engrossed with this book, yes even though it was sci-fi. I did not want to put this book down, the story, the characters, everything drew me in. This was an amazing debut novel. I will say that Hough is a very smart writer. What is the trend today? Post-apocalyptic stories with zombie or something similar, but it is clear that Hough favours the sci-fi genre, so why not blend the two together? This way you attract to a wider audience and those who would not normally read a sci-fi book (also known as me) are intrigued enough to pick up this book and give it a try because there is an aspect within the book that I know will interest me.

I was really happy that Hough did not take the sci-fi aspect too far as if he did I know I would have felt lost. I think that Hough did a great job of writing for the masses and not just those who love the sci-fi genre. I think that this book and series will appeal to a lot of people, especially those who like the sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal and urban fantasy genres. Even those who like to read political based books I think will find this book intriguing because of the complex system of reliance that is built between Darwin, the orbitals and the scavengers and the ever need of people to have all the control and power.

I liked the use of the city of Darwin, but also what the word or person that Darwin represents; Survival of the Fittest which is true in this world and any post-apocalyptic novel. It also, for me, meant the evolution of Man and how some of the individuals were immune to the Subs disease and could travel outside of Darwin, while the rest of the population could not without specialized suits.

The characters tend to take a secondary role within this book as it is mainly plot driven which also means that we get chapters from different characters, but do not worry this actually enhances the world and plot. The characters that Hough has decided to have chapters from their point of view all have different and unique points of views of what is happening in Darwin, on Earth and in Space. Our main character Skyler is an interesting character as he struggles to be the captain of his crew that he knows they need him to be, but he does not want to fulfill that role. I liked that to begin with Skyler might not be a character you would expect in this type of book, he is not portrayed as a fearless leader ready to do battle and win at all costs and not willing to be taken advantage of. Actually my favorite character is Russell Blackfield the antagonist in the book, who is bad to the core however, you understand some of the actions he takes and the reason behind them but that does not make them the right decisions. Niel Platz is also a different character, who one could take as either a good or bad side of the characters, as he is obsessed with his own survival and the possibility to make money from others needs and survival. 

The book is at times on the slower side, but this is due to the fact that Hough needs to set up his world and all the politics that surround it, as politics play a major role within this book. I personally did not find that there were too many slow parts, and they were always broken up with an adventure that Skyler and his crew would be on. Hough did a good job on timing and never had two slower chapters in a row. This showed great knowledge of the reader by Hough and I know I appreciated as a slow read is one that I would put down.

For someone who does not read and does not really like the sci-fi genre, I was completely enthralled with this book and did not want to put it down. Hough has down a great job of creating a plot, world and characters that will suck readers in. This was a great debut novel and I cannot wait to read the next in the series, as I want to find out about the elusive aliens that changed the world.


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