Reviewed by Marleen Kennedy

The mysterious aliens known as the Builders have planted a new elevator in Belem, Brazil. They have also left behind strange Black Towers which seem to nullify the SUBS virus. Skyler Luiken and the rebel Orbitals have started a new colony but they soon fall foul of a new menace. Skyler also discovers a crashed Builder ship and soon uncovers that the ship is altering the subhumans, making them faster, stronger and meaner.

“Exodus Towers” is the second book from Hough and continues on the story begun in The Darwin Elevator. Skyler and the rebel Orbitals have created a new colony in Belem but soon run into trouble with a sinister cult of immunes, When the mysterious Black Towers suddenly up sticks and move off in different directions of their own volition, Tania Sharma, leader of the rebel Orbitals, knows instinctively that this is somehow linked with the next imminent Builder event.

Meanwhile in Darwin, Russell Blackfield has secured control of the remaining orbital habitats on the Darwin elevator and enlists the services of crime lord Grillo to restore law and order to the streets of Darwin. A decision he soon comes to regret …

I really liked this follow-up by Hough. The pace is fast and the characters well developed and above all, likeable (even the bad guys!). Even though this is a dystopian novel, the narrative never gets bogged down in the misery inherent in such scenarios. In Skyler Luiken, we have an anti-hero who reminds one of Mal Reynolds from Joss Whedon’s Firefly or Jaine Fenn’s Jarek Reen. Luiken is part ships captain, part scavenger and part likeable rogue. His no nonsense approach is nicely balanced by the analytical almost dithery approach of the Tania Sharma character.

However, for me Russell Blackfield steals the show as the quintessential bad guy. Blackfield just oozes nastiness, never has a good word for anyone and as a result has no confidants. This last fact also shows up his shortcomings and when he contracts Grillo to clean up Darwin he realises how out of his depth he really is. Grillo on the other hand, is as methodical as he is ruthless and quickly shows Blackfield how to really rule with an iron fist, and it doesn’t take long for Grillo to show his true ambitions.

The suspense is maintained throughout by the unfathomable agenda of the Builders, a race of aliens so technologically advanced that they seem almost magical, even if we haven’t actually met these mysterious beings yet. The fact that so much remains unknown about the Builders only adds to the drama and leads one to ask whether all the machinations of the human survivors will ultimately be in vain.

Jason M. Hough has created a rip roaring story that never lets up on pace or wonder and has delivered one of the best debut science fiction novels this reader has read in a long time. I look forward with relish to the next instalment of this excellent story.

Your comments

comments powered by Disqus

Featured contributors

Marleen Kennedy

Marleen Kennedy has been a ferocious reader for as long as she can remember. Brought up in The Netherlands by parents who believed that no celebration was complete without a gift of books, you could say that reading is in her blood. Fifteen years ago Marleen moved to Ireland with her family where, for the last five years, she has been lucky enough to work in a library in County Cavan where she is able to combine her love for books and reading with the compulsive need to have the shelves organised in a neat and organised way (an official diagnosis of OCD has not been made yet, though).

Writing reviews for the wider public was never a goal for Marleen. She started her blog as an easy way to keep a record of the books she had finished. The short reminders slowly grew into longer thoughts on what she had read to turn into full blown reviews only in the recent past. Marleen will read almost anything with words in it but does have a preference for mysteries and thrillers. Because she loves discovering new (to her) authors, Marleen will read anything that appears to offer an interesting story-line.

More from Marleen Kennedy

Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/better-related/inc/scorer.php on line 329 and defined in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1147 Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/better-related/inc/scorer.php on line 329 and defined in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1147 Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/better-related/inc/scorer.php on line 329 and defined in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1147 Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/better-related/inc/scorer.php on line 329 and defined in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1147 Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/better-related/inc/scorer.php on line 329 and defined in /var/www/vhosts/booknudge.com/httpdocs/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1147

If you liked this, try these...