Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Darwin Elevator

The Darwin Elevator
by Jason M. Hough
published by Del Rey
July 2013
ISBN 978-0-345-53712-6
Why Read?: Net Galley, Book Club
Challenges: Aussie Authors, Chunkster, A to Z, 100 Books in a Year

Jason M. Hough takes an interesting spin on the sci-fi genre in The Darwin Elevator.  While firmly a dystopian novel, it also contains elements of space opera and zombie fiction, making it more accessible across genres and a truly entertaining read.

Skyler Luiken makes a decent living as a scavenger since he is immune to the animalistic disease that has affected everyone living outside of the aura of the space elevator that landed in Darwin, Australia.  No one really knows why the elevator is there or where the disease came from, but they know the Builders will be back…although only one man has an idea as to when.  Neil Platz is the richest man in Darwin, and his company leads all research into the Builders’ works.  Working for him is Tania Sharma, a brilliant researcher and daughter of his former partner.  When the elevator begins failing and the disease gets stronger, Platz hires Skyler’s crew to retriever some data cubes to aid in Tania’s research into the return of the Builders.  What they all discover is something that not even Platz could have predicted.

Hough presents some really great ideas in The Darwin Elevator.  The dystopian world he has created is raw and gritty, and the disease that turns humans into animalistic zombies is truly terrifying.  The characters are all very well-formed as we meet quite a few of the major players in Darwin – both on the ground and in space.  The one flaw was that a future date was actually given.  What made this harmful was that while research technology seemed to be realistically advanced for 250 years in the future, weaponry seems to have not aged a day, and this often would throw me out of the story.

Even though I am not the biggest fan of some of the subgenres that Jason M. Hough drew from, I really enjoyed The Darwin Elevator.  It is a fast-paced read that really pulls the reader in.  And the ending definitely left me eagerly anticipating the next installment.

Rating 4/5

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