The retro review series on Jason M. Hough’s Dire Earth trilogy continues.
The review is from September 17, 2013.
The review copy, like The Darwin Elevator, came from the publisher.
Review: The Exodus Towers, Jason M. Hough, 2013.
The second novel in Hough’s Dire Earth trilogy suffers a bit from the middle book syndrome – escalating conflict and mystery with the resolution to presumably take place in The Plague Forge. Hough steps down the violent action in this book, and, like the preceding The Darwin Elevator, some of it is somewhat confusingly described. However, there are also a couple of well done combat scenes.
Mostly, this novel concentrates on character and the mystery of the Builders.
Russell Blackfield, thuggish and vulgar leader of Darwin, has the “help” of slumlord Grillo forced on him. Samantha, ex-member of Skyler’s crew, is caught up in the machinations of that immaculately dressed man who, it rather disappointingly turns out, is leader of one of those fanatical Christian sects that are something of a post-apocalypse cliché.
Humans have found a new hope in Belem, Brazil, site of several more Builder towers which provide protection to normal humans from the subhuman plague. But it is threatened by the mysterious Gabriel, leader of a cult of immunes with its own ideas as to how humans should confront the post plague future. That conflict will rupture Tania and Skyler’s relationship and give Skyler a new crew of immune scavengers.
It also sets up, in the later part of the book, a treasure hunt for other Builder artifacts. It is the mystery of the Builders and Skyler’s relationship with Tania and Ana, survivor of Gabriel’s cult, which are the main pleasures of the book. And I say that as someone who usually has little patience with “love triangles”.
Character, mystery, and Hough’s skillful plotting make this an enjoyable build up and certainly prime me for the conclusion of Hough’s story.
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