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Book Review

Book Cover

The Exodus Towers


Author: Jason M. Hough
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $12.95
ISBN: 978 1 78116 765 6
Publication Date: 30 August 2013

The Earth is in ruins. When the space elevators fell mankind looked to them as a gift from an alien race, but every gift has its price. In the years that followed the plague, which swept across the globe, killed the majority of the population. When the second elevator fell to Earth the divisions amongst the remaining humans caused a rift. Some stayed in Darwin while others left for the site of landfall, Brazil...

The Exodus Towers, part two of the Dire Earth Cycle by Jason M. Hough picks up the story immediately after the close of the first book, The Darwin Elevator.

With the tale now effectively split into two, Hough’s story follows the fortunes of the two sites. In Brazil, our hero Skyler remains restless, missing the action of being a scavenger, so when a rescue mission raises its head he sets straight off into the jungle. What he finds there will have dire consequences for all the survivors. The new colony comes under attack from a group of immunes intent on fulfilling their mad leaders vision for the future.

There are a number of things where the book shows its strengths. The first is the ability to keep up a fast paced story without either feeling forced or getting boring. Each site is in turmoil, for differing but connected reasons. The power struggles in Darwin were not resolved when the farms were flown to Brazil. Blackwood remains in power and is as odious as he was in the first novel, but a new power, backed by religious zeal, threatens everything he has built. In Brazil, Tania is rocked by the attack on her colony and the apparent loss of the mobile towers which allowed her people to move about without contracting the plague.

Although the book contains a lot of action, there is also a large amount of dialogue pushing the narrative forward. When I was trying to work out what I liked most about the book it has to come down to Hough’s ability to write convincingly believable speech, which gives each character their own distinctive voice.

Lastly, the main draw of the book is the delightful frustration of having an alien incursion where you neither meet the aliens nor do you have the faintest idea what is going on. Is it the prelude to an invasion? Is it the end of the world, or just an alien advertising plan gone horribly wrong? This air of mystery hangs over the whole story. This is both a strength and a weakness, as the lack of knowledge becomes a driving creating an unseen threat, as the humans have worked out that the incursions will occur with more frequency. On the down side the final reveal will have been so built up that if it’s not a doozy, then it’s going to ruin the whole series.

With only one more book to go this second act succeeds in revealing more, whilst at the same time creating more mysteries for the forthcoming third and last in the series. I’m not sure what the PR blurb on the books cover is doing comparing it to Firefly. If you pick up the book expecting that you’re going to be disappointed, but what you will find is a well-constructed, tightly plotted science fiction novel.


Charles Packer

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