Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Exodus Towers by Jason M. Hough

Synopsis From Back Cover:

The sudden appearance of a second space elevator in Brazil only deepens the mystery about the aliens who provided it: the Builders.  Scavenger crew captain Skyler Luiken and brilliant scientist Dr. Tania Sharma have formed a colony around the new Elevator's base, utilizing mobile towers to protect humans from the Builder's plague.  But they are soon under attack from a roving band of plague-immune soldiers.  Cut off from the colony, Skyler must wage a one-man war against the new threat as well as murderous subhumans and thugs from Darwin - all while trying to solve the puzzle of the Builder's master plan... before it's too late for the last vestiges of humanity.

I can't believe it's been nine months since I reviewed the first book in this trilogy, The Darwin Elevator.  I guess it's true that the older you get, the quicker time seems to fly by.  Hell, for that matter, it seems like yesterday that I went through puberty and had my first kiss.  By the way, that was with a girl in McAllen, TX; her name was Rosa Rios, and she was adorable.  I must have been in 6th or 7th grade when it happened.  Other than that, I don't remember much, but if we want to talk about the first time I kissed a guy, I remember everything about that.  But I'm digressing, my whole point was about how quickly time passes, not first kisses.

Back to the story, which despite my hatred of scifi, I actually enjoyed it for the most part.  I didn't like it as much as I did the first book, but middle books tend to be inferior to the other two books it's sandwiched by.  We are introduced to a whole new group of characters in the jungles of Brazil.  The large portion of them are the bad guys for the book.  They are the immune scavengers who pillage and rape everywhere they go.  The force others immunes to breed with each other and with subhumans, in the hope of creating more immunes.  The second group are those who broke away from them and help Skyler rescue the colony.  This group is smaller and while not all of them survive, I really enjoyed spending time with them.  They added a depth to the story,that otherwise may have felt a little flat.

Where the story didn't work was in the distance that develops between Skyler and Tania.  It didn't feel like a natural separation, but more of one that was created to sow discord in the colony.  I don't really buy them as a couple, but this bickering and being at odds with each other seems even more ridiculous.  You add in the sacrifice that Tania makes at the end, and I'm just as confused by the whole thing as anyone.  Their relationship makes no sense to me, nor do I think it makes sense to them.

What I found to be the most fascinating aspect of the book was how humans still seem to be the main badguys.  We really don't see the Builders yet, though we know that they have done, and are getting ready to do even more, great evil to the planet, it's the humans who continue to make it more.  The subhumans are really nothing more than bipedal killing machines, and even with the new development they are making, are little more than the average mindless zombie.  It's the immune scavengers in Brazil, the religious mobster ruling with an iron fist, and the crackpot military bozo who are the true masters of evil this time around.  Humans are turning out to be their own worst enemy, and they need to find a way around that if they want to survive what the Builders have coming up next.

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